Photo credit: Scott Kinville/315 Hockey.
By Scott Kinville/315 Hockey.
The fifteenth-ranked Utica Pioneers Women’s Hockey Team (10-1-1 overall, 7-0-1 UCHC) hosted regional rival the Oswego St. Lakers (9-6-1 overall, 7-2-1 NEWHL) on Tuesday night at the Nexus Center in Utica, NY. The teams entered the game very close to each other in the latest USCHO poll, with Utica tied for the fifteenth spot with Wesleyan, while Oswego was just outside of the top fifteen.
After winning eight straight games, the Lakers have struggled in recent games. Entering Tuesday night’s game against Utica, Oswego had one win in their past four games, and in two of these four games, the Lakers did not score a single goal. Although goal scoring had become an issue, the Oswego defense was not – as going into Tuesday night they were only giving up an average of 1.93 goals per game.
The 315 Hockey preview of a big Tuesday night in Central New York Women’s hockey: Central New York Women’s College Hockey Takes Center Stage On Tuesday.
For the Utica Pioneers, scoring goals has not been a problem. They entered Tuesday night’s game scoring an average of 5.09 goals per game, which ranks third in Division III. Utica has also kept the puck out of the net, as they are surrendering only 0.82 goals per game, which is the fourth-best in Division III.
The Pioneers used their team speed to put pressure on the Lakers right from the opening faceoff, and through the first ten minutes, Utica held an eight-to-one shots on goal advantage. Despite the ice being “tilted to one end” Oswego goaltender Lexi Levy was able to hold the Pioneers at bay until just under four minutes remaining in the period. Madison Novotny sent a pass to Carly Stefanini, who broke into the Oswego zone all alone and beat Levy with a wrist shot to open the scoring. It would be the only goal of the frame, as the teams went into the first intermission with Utica leading 1-0.
Oswego opened the second period by taking the offensive pressure to the Pioneers, but Utica goaltender Angela Hawthorne stymied their attack by stopping all ten shots she faced – including a breakaway by Kensie Malone right after a Utica power play ended. Instead, it was the Pioneers who added to their lead despite being outshot ten to seven for the period. The second Utica goal of the game was a highlight reel type of goal as Carolyn Whitney stickhandled the puck through the legs of Oswego’s Rylee Preston and snapped a shot over Levy’s shoulder and in from the right circle. Just over five minutes later the Pioneers struck again as Georgiana Santullo scooped a loose puck in front of the Oswego net and wrapped it around Levy and into the back of the net to give the home team a 3-0 lead after forty minutes of play.
The Lakers were presented with a golden opportunity to get on the scoreboard early in the third period when Utica’s Hannah Keating took a five-minute major penalty for boarding. They could not capitalize, however, as they took a minor penalty of their own during the power play and the Pioneers killed the rest. The rest of the game would remain chippy although only one more minor penalty would be called. Despite registering another ten shots on goal, Oswego could not solve the Angela Hawthorne riddle.
Instead, the Pioneers scored their fourth goal with just under five minutes remaining when Hailey Modlin tapped a rebound off the end boards into an empty Oswego net (they had pulled Levy for an extra skater). Erica Sloan capped the scoring with just under two minutes left when she put her own rebound past Levy to secure a 5-0 win for the Pioneers. Since losing to Elmira in their first game of the season, Utica is now undefeated in their last eleven consecutive games.
Game notes: Utica outshot Oswego 26-24…Utica was 0/2 on the power play, while Oswego was 0/5…Hailey Modlin led Utica in shots with 5, while Morgan Shines led Oswego with 5 as well…Erica Sloan led all players in points with 3 (1 goal and 2 assists)…Utica plays again on Friday night at Chatham…Oswego plays again on Friday afternoon at Plattsburgh State.
Three Observations From the Game
Congratulations Erica Sloan!
Utica’s Erica Sloan entered Tuesday night’s game with 97 career points. She left Tuesday night’s game as a member of the 100 career points club after registering one goal and two assists. She joins teammate Georgiana Santullo as the only active Pioneers with at least 100 points.
The Game Was Closer Than the Score Indicates
The Pioneers defeated the Lakers by a score of 5-0 on Tuesday night, but it was a closer game than that. After a slow first period, the Lakers put twenty combined shots on goal in the second and third periods, while the Pioneers only had thirteen combined shots in the same time frame. The difference was the Pioneers were able to take advantage of their opportunities while the Lakers simply could not capitalize on theirs.
Hawthorne Does It Again
Angela Hawthorne turned in another great performance in goal for the Pioneers. She made twenty-four saves to earn her ninth win and third shutout of the season. In eleven games, she has allowed only nine goals and has a sparkling 0.87 GAA and 0.961 save percentage. She is in the top ten in Division III in wins, GAA, save percentage, and shutouts.