By Scott Kinville/315 Hockey.
The fifth-ranked Utica Pioneers Men’s Hockey Team (2-2-0 overall, 2-0-0 UCHC) will play their first regular season home games this weekend as they take on the Chatham Cougars (2-1-1 overall, 2-0-0 UCHC) in a pair of UCHC games. The opening game of the set will be on Saturday starting at 7 pm EST at the Adirondack Bank Center. The teams will meet again on Sunday at the same venue with the opening faceoff at 3 pm.
Head coach Gary Heenan’s Pioneers have not gotten off to the start they are used to. Last season, they had the nation’s top-ranked offense and were near the top in overall defense as well. This season through a small four games sample they are middle-of-the-road in both. In all fairness, as stated the Pioneers have yet to play a home game and their first two opponents have been the number one-ranked Adrian Bulldogs and UCHC rival the Stevenson Mustangs. The first game against Adrian was an overtime loss in which the Pioneers actually had held the lead going into the third period. Despite all of this, Utica is indeed a top-five team in the country and there is too much talent on the roster for the offensive slump (by Utica’s standards) to continue much longer.
A recap of the Utica Pioneers weekend against Stevenson Utica Pioneers Men’s Hockey Weekend Recap, Remains Fifth in National Poll.
The Chatham Cougars are off to a good start this season after posting a losing overall record last season. They aren’t scoring many goals but they have been a solid defensive team, particularly goaltender Ricardo Gonzalez. The senior netminder is at or near the top in the nation in wins, GAA, and save percentage.
Let’s take a look at how the Utica Pioneers and Chatham Cougars stack up against each other.
Utica Pioneers Team Offense
Goals For: 14
Goals For Per Game (average): 3.5
Shots Per Game (average): 34.3
Power Play: 7.1% (1 for 14)
Chatham Cougars Team Offense
Goals For: 9
Goals For Per Game (average): 2.3
Shots Per Game (average): 31.5
Utica Pioneers Top Five Scorers
1.) Regen Cavanagh: 3 goals + 1 assist = 4 points.
2.) Brandon Osmundson: 3 goals + 1 assist = 4 points.
3.) Dante Zapata: 1 goal + 3 assists = 4 points.
4.) Jakob Breault: 1 goal + 2 assists = 3 points.
5.) Connor Fedorek: 0 goals + 3 assists + 3 points.
Regen Cavanagh, Remy Parker, and Buster Larsson lead the Pioneers in shots with twelve each.
Chatham Cougars Top Five Scorers
1.) Evan Mitchell: 3 goals + 0 assists = 3 points.
2.) Nick Cyprian: 1 goal + 1 assist = 2 points.
3.) Caden Smith: 1 goal + 1 assist = 2 points.
4.) Andrew Warhoftig: 1 goal + 1 assist = 2 points.
5.) Aiden Girduckis: 0 goals + 2 assists = 2 points.
Carson Grainer leads the Cougars in shots with ten.
Utica Pioneers Team Defense
Goals Against: 18
Goals Against Per Game (average): 4.5
Shots Against Per Game (average): 31.5
Penalty Kill: 76.9% (10 for 13)
Chatham Cougars Team Defense
Goals Against: 5
Goals Against Per Game (average): 1.3
Shots Against Per Game (average): 27.3
Penalty Kill: 71.4% (5 for 7)
Utica Pioneers Goaltending
Bryan Landsberger has a record of 2-2-0 with a GAA of 3.99, and a save percentage of 0.876.
Avery Sturtz has made one appearance for a no-decision with a GAA of 9.70 and a 0.636 save percentage.
Chatham Cougars Goaltending
Ricardo Gonzalez has a record of 3-0-0, with a GAA of 0.66, a 0.971 save percentage, and one shutout. He is number one in the country in GAA, second in save percentage, and tied for second in wins (per USCHO.com).
Nick Bernstein has a record of 0-1-0 with a GAA of 2.06, and a save percentage of 0.949.
For more information about Utica Pioneers hockey, visit https://uticapioneers.com.