The Utica College men’s hockey team is looking to finish the first half of the season on a strong note.
The Pioneers (4-2 UCHC, 8-2 overall) have won five consecutive games and have outscored the opposition 33-4 since a pair of losses in mid-November.
“We have a little mojo going right now, there’s no question about it,” said Gary Heenan, who is in 16th season as Utica College coach. “I think it took a little while for us to find our identity. We found a formula that we think is going to work for us the rest of the way.”
Utica College is ranked No. 10 in the most recent USHCO.com poll and is ranked No. 14 in the latest D3hockey.com tabulations.
The Pioneers play a pair of UCHC games this weekend at the Adirondack Bank Center at Utica Memorial Auditorium. The Pioneers take on Stevenson at 7 p.m. Friday before Neumann visits at 7 p.m. Saturday. That game is the popular Teddy Bear Toss event.
“The guys are excited about the weekend,” Heenan said. “I think it is a tremendous success every year. But, at the same time there’s a hockey game to win. … So we have to remain focused.”
The Pioneers have been helped by a strong senior class, Heenan said. That includes Dalton Carter (six goals and team-best 15 points) and Roman Ammirato (team-best eight goals and 14 points). Utica College also has strong goaltending as Gianluca Baggetta, Patrik Virtanen and Henry Dill have combined for a 1.80 goals-against average.
Gold ribbon game on tap for UC women
The Utica College women’s hockey team has some rhythm as they near an extended break.
The Pioneers (7-3) have won three consecutive games and five of their last six games. That stretch included UC topping then-No. 10 Hamilton on Nov. 26 in Utica.
“The team is starting to play together a little bit better,” said UC coach Dave Clausen, who noted his team had a lot of turnover from last season when they finished 17-9-1. “It has been a nice little run where we’ve played pretty well. Certainly we can better and we’re working to do that.”
The Pioneers take on Morrisville State in a nonconference matchup at 2 p.m. Saturday at Clinton Arena. It’s Utica College’s sixth annual gold ribbon game, which raises awareness for childhood cancer.
“For us, it is a big game for us every year. It’s big because it’s more than just a hockey game,” Clausen said.
Clausen said the team has been balanced on offense with the Pioneers averaging three goals per game. Olivia Hirschy has a team-best five goals and Rebecca Brown leads with 10 points. The team has gotten strong goaltending from Gabrielle Igo, Amanda Lupo and Bria Reilly, who had the shutout against Hamilton in her first start. Clausen also said his defensive group has been strong.
Hamilton men at home
Hamilton College continues its conference schedule with games Friday and Saturday at Russell Sage Rink in Hamilton. The Continentals play Middlebury (1-3 NESCAC, 1-5) at 7 p.m. Friday and No. 13/14 Williams (4-0, 5-0) at 5 p.m. Saturday.
The Continentals (0-2-1, 3-2-1), who are ranked No. 10 by D3hockey.com and No. 13 by USCHO.comhad NESCAC setbacks to No. 3/4 Trinity and unranked Wesleyan last weekend.
Sophomore forward Nick Ursitti, who is coming off a three-point effort, leads the team with seven points. Evan Buitenhuis, who has made three consecutive starts, has 1.97 goals-against average in four games.
Hamilton women go for three straight
The Hamilton College women’s hockey team has won back-to-back games.
The Continentals will try to extend their winning streak when they play SUNY Oswego in a nonconference game at 7 p.m. Friday.
Andrea Rockey was named the NESCAC women’s hockey Player of the Week after helping with three of the Continentals’ five goals in back-to-back shutout wins over NESCAC foe Colby last weekend.
She had the game-winner 40 seconds into overtime in Friday’s 1-0 win. Rockey had a goal and assist in a 4-0 triumph on Saturday.
The forward has two goals and three assists this season for Hamilton (4-2 overall).
Colgate men on the road
Colgate plays UConn at 7 p.m. Friday in Hartford, Connecticut.
The Raiders (8-5-4 overall), which is ranked No. 16 in the USCHO.com poll, is dropped a 3-1 decision to Army last weekend.
On Wednesday, sophomore Colton Point was one of four goaltenders invited to the Hockey Canada National Junior Team Selection Camp for the 2018 World Junior Championship, set for Dec. 26 through Jan. 5 in Buffalo.
Point, who is sixth in Division I with a 1.76 goals against average, is the first Colgate player to be invited to Canada’s National Junior Team Camp.
No. 4 Colgate women get ranked opponent
The Colgate women’s hockey team will try to improve to 10-0 at home this season when they take on No. 10-ranked Robert Morris at 3 p.m. Saturday at Class of 1965 Arena in Hamilton.
The Raiders (15-3 overall), ranked No. 4 in the USCHO and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls, are coming off a split against then-No.7 ranked Cornell.
Junior goaltender Julia Vandyk was named the ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Month for November. Vandyk led the conference with a .945 save percentage while being tied in wins with sixth. She has 1.73 GAA and a 9-2-0 record in 11 games this season.