Three Observations From Tuesday Night’s #7 Hamilton College at #13 Utica

Photo credit: Scott Kinville/315 Hockey.

By Scott Kinville/315 Hockey.

Central New York rivals the #7 Hamilton College Continentals and #13 Utica Pioneers Women’s Hockey Teams squared off on Tuesday night in a game with huge implications in the national poll and of course, local bragging rights. When it was all over, neither team could claim the bragging rights, but they gave the fans a thrilling 2-2 tie.

The 315 Hockey preview of the Hamilton College vs Utica game: #7 Hamilton College Continentals at #13 Utica Pioneers Game Preview 01-24-2023.

The Continentals played about as complete a game as a team could possibly play – especially on the road against a ranked team. They registered a total of fifty-four shots on goal, while their stifling forecheck and defense held the Pioneers to only eleven for the entire game. After a scoreless first period (despite eighteen shots by the Continentals) the visitors built a 2-0 lead in the second on goals by Abby Kuhns and Katie Allen. Kuhns scored on the power play with a perfectly placed shot from the point through heavy traffic and in, and then Allen scored forty-four seconds later. Hamilton dominated the second period as well, outshooting the home team 19-3, and after forty minutes of play, the Continentals had outshot the Pioneers 37-6.

Despite being outplayed through the first two periods, the Pioneers found life in the third. They only had three shots but they did have more offensive zone time and made it count. At just three and a half minutes in while on the power play, Maggie Rylot snapped a shot from the left circle that found its way past Hamilton goaltender Cate Gallagher. It was the first power-play goal given up by the Continentals since the first period of their first game of the season. Thirty-four seconds later, they tied the game at two when a falling Hailey Modlin threw a shot on goal that snuck through Gallagher’s pads and in.

The Continentals controlled play for the most part in the latter half of the period, but neither team could get a goal sending the game to overtime. The Pioneers began the extra frame on the power play after a late third-period penalty by Hamilton, but could not capitalize. Both teams had chances but the red lights behind the nets stayed off and the game ended in a draw.

Notes: Hamilton outshot Utica 54-11…Hamilton was 1 for 5 on the power play while Utica was 1 for 3…Abby Kuhns led Hamilton in points (one goal and one assist) in points, and Cortney Staniszewski (two assists) led Utica in points…Each team won 32 faceoffs…Maddie Hong was 15 for 22 in the faceoff dot for Hamilton, and Georgiana Santullo was 15 for 21 for Utica…Hamilton plays again on Friday and Saturday at home against NESCAC rival Wesleyan while Utica hits the road for Friday and Saturday games at UCHC rival Neumann.

Three Observations From the Game

Hamilton’s Stellar Play Against Ranked Teams Continued.

Utica was the tenth ranked (or were ranked when they played) team the Continentals have played this season, and their record in those games is 7-2-1. The name of the game the Continentals is structure and relentless forecheck and both were on full display Tuesday night. Normally it’s the Pioneer’s team speed that keeps their opponents on the heels but the Continentals were able to hold them in check for most of the game with their structure and forecheck.

Give the Pioneers credit for hanging in and eventually tying the game in the third period, but the Continentals certainly showed why they have ascended into the top ten of the USCHO rankings.

Angela Hawthorne and Abby Kuhns Were Absolutely Outstanding.

Facing her toughest test of the season, Angela Hawthorne came up huge for the Pioneers. The Continentals unleashed a barrage of shots on the Utica goaltender in all three periods and four more in overtime, but time after time, she was able to frustrate their attack. Were it not for the play of Hawthorne, the game could have easily gotten out of reach for the Pioneers denying them a chance to tie the game.

On a night when the Continentals were on their game, defender Abby Kuhns was the most visible skater on the ice. Kuhns drove the Hamilton attack all night long, using her speed and stickhandling to make several rushes into the Utica zone. Not only did she register a goal and an assist, but she also led all players by a large margin in shots with eleven. The senior co-captain now has six goals and seven assists for a team-leading thirteen points.

Both Hawthorne and Kuhns are among the absolute best at their positions in all of Division III Women’s hockey.

Wouldn’t a Central New York Division III Women’s Hockey Tournament Be Fun?

Central New York is home to several fine hockey teams, including in Women’s Division III. Part of what made this game special was the close geographic proximity of the teams. Included in our coverage area are not only the Continentals and Pioneers, but also the Morrisville Mustangs and Oswego St Lakers. Obviously, it’s too late for this season, but wouldn’t a tournament between those four teams at some point in the future be fun?

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