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#10 Utica Pioneers Women defeat Worcester St

The Pioneers and Lancers met at the Utica University Nexus Center for a special Tuesday night non-conference game.

The tenth-ranked Utica Pioneers Women’s Hockey Team returned to the friendly confines of the Utica University Nexus Center on Tuesday night. This was not a normal mid-week game as this contest was the Pioneer’s annual Gold Ribbon Game for childhood cancer. Utica left their normal blue, orange, and gray jerseys in the locker room and played the game in their special white, yellow, and blue childhood cancer awareness sweaters.

The Pioneer’s opponents on Tuesday night were the Worcester St. Lancers. The Lancers have some familiarity with the Pioneers, as their head coach Eliza Kelley spent several years with the Utica program. Kelley donned the blue and orange uniform from 2007-2010 and served as an assistant for Pioneer’s Head Coach Dave Clausen from 2010-2014.

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Utica jumped out to a 1-0 lead a little under seven minutes into the opening frame. Building off a power play opportunity in which they did not score but got several chances, the Pioneer offense then broke through. A turnover led to Erica Sheaffer sending a pass to Kaci Ryder, who snapped a shot past Lancer goaltender Kelsey Czerniawski from the right circle to open the scoring. The goal was Ryder’s first of the season.

Worcester St. answered right back less than three minutes later. Forward Caroline Gates sent a pass to the slot from the right corner of the Utica zone. From there, Sydney Vautour beat Pioneers goaltender Angela Hawthorne from in close to tie the game at one.

The Pioneers outshot the Lancers nineteen to five in the first period, but the score remained tied at one after the first twenty minutes.

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The second period was wide-open, as the teams combined for twenty-nine shots (sixteen for Utica, thirteen for Worcester St.). Despite the shot barrage, only one goal was scored in the period. Utica’s Erica Sheaffer registered her second point of the night when she skated out from behind the Lancers net and tucked the puck past Czerniawski.

The visitors were held off the scoresheet in the second due in large part to the efforts of Hawthorne. The standout goaltender made a huge save off a tip from Jennarae Bateman that should have been a goal. In the closing minutes of the second, she also stopped Worcester St. leading goal scorer Cassidhe Wozniak on a breakaway.

Utica Pioneers Men’s Hockey Head Coach is the featured guest for Episode #10 of the Central New York Hockey Report Podcast! The episode drops on Wednesday afternoon on the Central New York Hockey Report Podcast YouTube, Apple, Spotify, and Amazon channels.

With Hawthorne making the timely saves when needed in the second period, her Pioneers teammates took over the third. The home team outshot the visitors 17-4 in the final frame and scored two goals in the process. Early in the third, new Pioneer Rachel DeLong sprung Molly Pedone on a scoring chance. Pedone did the rest, as while holding off a Lancer defender she slipped the puck between Czerniawski’s legs to make the score 3-1.

Pedone took a minor penalty with 4:39 remaining, but it was her team that did the damage. After a ferocious effort by Hailey Modlin to keep the puck in the Worcester St. zone, Carolyn Whitney took over. She skated out of the right corner and roofed a backhander into the Lancer net. The goal sealed the Pioneer’s 4-1 victory.

Utica outshot Worcester St. 52-22 for the game. With the win, the Pioneer’s record improved to 7-0-2 overall (4-0-2 UCHC). The Lancers are now 4-4-1, with a 3-1-1 ECHA mark.

The Pioneers return to action on December 1st when they host UCHC rival Neumann. For more information about Utica Pioneers hockey, visit https://uticapioneers.com.

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