UTICA, NY – The No. 12 Utica University women’s hockey team is set to travel to Rochester, NY this weekend for a high-stakes series against No. 14 Nazareth College. The Pioneers and Golden Flyers will meet at 7 p.m. on Friday before rounding out the two-game set at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Follow Along: Fans unable to make the trip to Rochester this weekend can keep up with live video and/or stats through https://portal.stretchinternet.com/nazareth/.
Last Time Out: The No. 12 Utica University women’s hockey team secured its second-straight, as well as second all-time, 20-win season after defeating the Wilkes University Colonels 6-1 on Sunday. Hailey Modlin (Phoenix, AZ/Boston Shamrocks) and Georgiana Santullo (Woburn, MA/Boston Shamrocks/Woburn High School) each led the team with two goals on the afternoon while Abby Lillis (West Seneca, NY/Buffalo Bisons) and Erica Sheaffer (New Hartford, NY/Wilkes University) each had one. Cortney Staniszewski (Buffalo, NY/Niagara Jr. Purple Eagles) finished as the team leader with three points on three assists followed by Erica Sloan (Potsdam, NY/St. Lawrence Steel), Carly Stefanini (Framingham, MA/Brooks School), Modlin and Santullo with two each. In goal, Maddie Esposito (Ashburn, VA/Boston Shamrocks) made 19 saves in the winning effort. In all, the Pioneers outshot Wilkes on goal 62-20 and 94-26 overall. Utica also took 43 of 62 face offs in the game. It took nearly 20 shots on goal and over 18 minutes of play, but Utica was able to strike first in the game. At 18:04, Carolyn Whitney (Raleigh, NC/Milbrook School) connected with Abby Lillis (West Seneca, NY/Buffalo Bisons), who scored for a 1-0 lead after one period of play. Maggie Rylott (Cobourg, Ontario/West Northumberland) also received an assist on the goal. The Pioneers limited Wilkes to eight shots on goal during the first and forced the Colonels to come up empty on their lone power play. Hailey Modlin (Phoenix, AZ/Boston Shamrocks) wasted little time extending Utica’s lead in the second period. Off a Cortney Staniszewski (Buffalo, NY/Niagara Jr. Purple Eagles) pass, Modlin scored at 4:05 to put the Pioneers up 2-0. It took a while before Utica struck again in the second until Erica Sheaffer (New Hartford, NY/Wilkes University) and Georgiana Santullo (Woburn, MA/Boston Shamrocks/Woburn High School) scored 21 seconds apart near the end of the period. Sheaffer scored at 17:43 with Tess Barrett (Tewksbury, MA/St. Mark’s) on the assist while at 18:04, Santullo gave the team a 4-0 lead entering the third. Just under five minutes into the third, Modlin netted her second goal of the game for a decisive 5-0 lead. Santullo followed up at 9:52 to make it a 6-0 game before Wilkes got on the board at 16:34 to avoid being shut out again.
In the Polls: The Utica University women’s hockey team remains at the No. 12 spot in the latest US College Hockey Women’s Top 15. The poll was released on Monday by the national college hockey website. Utica received 92 points this week to remain at the No.12 spot. The Pioneers were on the road in Wilkes-Barre, PA to face Wilkes University this past weekend. No. 12 Utica swept the Colonels in the two-game series this past weekend to stay undefeated in UCHC play with a 17-0-1 record. The full Division III women’s hockey rankings can be found at
Buckle Up: A successful season from the women’s hockey team could be even more of a success story with these games against Nazareth coming up. Utica, who have a record of 17-0-1 in league play, have 53 points in the UCHC standings which is one more than Nazareth, who have 52 points. There are a plethora of outcomes that can be amassed from this two-game series with Nazareth. Both teams are looking for the No.1 seed, Utica striving for its first-ever regular season title, which will include home ice through the entire UCHC Tournament. Utica needs just three points in any which way over the two games to secure the regular season title.
One for the Books: To continue the success story for the women’s hockey team comes another historical season. With just two games left the Pioneers have a lot on the line. They are one win away from their best conference record in program history and two wins away from their best overall record in program history. It doesn’t stop there though. Utica also leads the UCHC in win percentage with a .913 and it is also the highest win percentage in program history. The team is also one goal away from having a plus-100 goal differential.
Georgie on the Doorstep: With the end of the season nearing comes the end of a historically filled career for Utica’s very own Georgiana Santullo (Woburn, MA/Boston Shamrocks/Woburn High School). Santullo has been a key piece for Utica for years now and has been a X-factor for the success the team has had in recent years. Santullo, to start off, has a career plus/minus of 100 which leads the Pioneers all-time and could increase even further with these last two games and UCHC tournament in the mix. She currently has 67 goals which is third all-time and is in the hunt to take over the number one spot which is shared by two former players, Megan Myers and Deana Weigand, at 74. As for points, Santullo is at 141 for her career and with three more will move into second all-time in program history.
Heat Check: A few different Pioneers have turned up their performances an extra notch at the right time. Starting with Erica Sloan (Potsdam, NY/St. Lawrence Steel), the senior is currently on a six-game point streak while also having notched a point in eight of her last nine outings. Over her last six games she has 14 points on nine goals and five assists while over her last nine she has recorded 17 points. Carly Stefanini (Framingham, MA/Brooks School) is also on a six-game point streak but maybe more impressively has recorded at least one point in 11 of her last 12 games. Cortney Staniszewski (Buffalo, NY/Niagara Jr. Purple Eagles) is another that has burst onto the scene with at least one point in five of her last six.
About Nazareth: The No. 14 Golden Flyers own an 18-5-0 overall record and at 17-1-0 in the UCHC are one point behind Utica in the standings. The defending UCHC champions have won five games in a row and enter the final regular season weekend undefeated (8-0-0) at home. The team ranks second in the league behind Utica with 100 goals on the season and 24 goals allowed. A fast and disciplined team, Nazareth has committed the third-fewest penalties in the UCHC with 79 over its 23 outings. Roughly 35 percent of the team’s scoring has come from three players: Makenna Wiljanen, Abby Flanagan and Ally Watrous. In goal, McKinley Hoff has started a team-high 15 games and is 12-3-0 overall with seven shutouts. In 909 minutes, Hoff has recorded 222 saves while having allowed 14 goals.
Up Next: The Pioneers will host the UCHC Quarterfinals on Wednesday, February 22. Time and opponent are TBD.
#41 Maddie Esposito G 5′ 7″ Junior Cybersecurity
#3 Abby Lillis F 5′ 5″ Senior Criminal Justice/Psychology
#5 Hailey Modlin F 5′ 6″ Junior Health Studies-Physical Therapy
#91 Maggie Rylott F 5′ 4″ Senior Teacher Education and Psychology
#87 Georgiana Santullo F 5′ 5″ Graduate Student Psychology-Child Life
#22 Erica Sheaffer D/F 6′ 0″ Senior Construction Management
#6 Erica Sloan F 5′ 5″ Senior Public Relations and Marketing
#12 Cortney Staniszewski F 5′ 9″ Junior Psychology-Child Life
#81 Carly Stefanini F 5′ 8″ Junior Criminal Justice
#16 Carolyn Whitney F 5′ 7″ Senior Animal Behavior Players Mentioned
#41 Maddie Esposito 5′ 7″ Junior Cybersecurity G
#3 Abby Lillis 5′ 5″ Senior Criminal Justice/Psychology F
#5 Hailey Modlin 5′ 6″ Junior Health Studies-Physical Therapy F
#91 Maggie Rylott 5′ 4″ Senior Teacher Education and Psychology F
#87 Georgiana Santullo 5′ 5″ Graduate Student Psychology-Child Life F
#22 Erica Sheaffer 6′ 0″ Senior Construction Management D/F
#6 Erica Sloan 5′ 5″ Senior Public Relations and Marketing F
#12 Cortney Staniszewski 5′ 9″ Junior Psychology-Child Life F
#81 Carly Stefanini 5′ 8″ Junior Criminal Justice F
#16 Carolyn Whitney 5′ 7″ Senior Animal Behavior F