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#3 Utica Men’s Hockey and Stevenson skate to a draw

The Utica Pioneers and Stevenson Mustangs battled to a 2-2 tie at the Adirondack Bank Center on Friday night.

Two long-standing rivals met on Friday night, as the third-ranked Utica Pioneers Men’s Hockey Team met the Stevenson Mustangs to open a two-game set between the teams. The game also marked the opening of both teams’ UCHC schedules.

Stevenson has traditionally played the Pioneers very tough regardless of national rankings and Friday night was no different.

The Pioneers opened the scoring goal at the 3:47 mark of the first period. Freshmen Eric Vitale and Drake Morse broke into the Stevenson zone on a two-on-one. Vitale sent a pass across to Morse but the puck ended up being tipped into the air. Nonetheless, Morse channeled his inner baseball player and batted the puck into the Mustang’s net for his first collegiate goal.

The home crowd was still buzzing when Stevenson struck back just thirteen seconds later. A heavy Mustangs forecheck in the Utica zone led to a turnaround shot by Zach Egber surprising goaltender Ethan Roberts. He got some of the shot but not all of it, and the puck trickled over the goal line tying the game at one.

The CNY Hockey Report preview of this series: #3 Utica Pioneers Men’s Hockey hosts Stevenson this weekend.

Overall, the first period was very evenly played between the teams, but the Pioneers snatched the lead back with twenty-one seconds left in the frame. Defenseman Kimball Johnson flung a shot from the blue line that eluded a lot of traffic in front of Stevenson goaltender Ty Outen and wound up in the net.

Utica’s Aiden Hughes (#13) and Preston Brighton (#19) enter the Stevenson zone during Friday night’s game. Photo credit: Scott Kinville.

The even play between the teams continued into the second period, but it was the visitors who would get the only goal. Liam McCanney broke into the Utica zone on a two-on-two down the left side with Blake Benson. McCanney made a pass near the goal that deflected off Roberts and into the net to tie the game at two. Stevenson outshot Utica 12-10 in the second period.

The Pioneers turned on the pressure in the third period, firing fifteen shots on Outen. The Mustangs countered with more pressure of their own, with Roberts turning aside all nine of their shots. Both goaltenders made big saves and Utica forward Jakob Breault got in on the act as well. He saved a sure Mustangs goal with a last-second poke check with the Pioneers net wide open. Despite the pressure from both teams, neither could score and the game went to overtime.

Utica’s Austin D’Orazio (#10) with defense partner Kimball Johnson in the background. Photo credit: Scott Kinville.

The first three minutes of the overtime period had a cautious feel to it as both teams played conservatively. Both teams had chances in the waning minute, but the goaltenders were up to the task. As the clock read 0:00 the game ended officially as a 2-2 tie. The teams then went to a shootout to determine who would get a point in the UCHC standings. Stevenson won it in the fourth round on a goal by Frank Vitucci to give his team the always valuable point.

Game Notes

Utica outshot Stevenson 38-36. Stevenson was 0/2 on the power play, while Utica was 0/0. The teams meet again on Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Adirondack Bank Center. For more information about Utica Pioneers hockey, visit https://uticapioneers.com.

In this episode, Scott and Jordan look back at the weekend that was for the Utica Pioneers, Colgate Raiders, and Morrisville Mustangs. They will also look ahead to the weekend schedule for each and what to watch for. In segment two, the boys look at the Syracuse Crunch and Utica Comets and the slate of games ahead for both teams!

Utica Pioneers Men’s Hockey: 2:18 – 10:08 Utica Pioneers Women’s Hockey: 10:08 – 15:17 Colgate Women’s Women’s Hockey: 15:20 – 19:51 Colgate Raiders Men’s Hockey: 19:53 – 22:05 Morrisville Mustangs Men’s + Women’s Hockey: 22:06 – 26:37 Utica Comets: 28:44 – 33:59 Is Rochester for real/Syracuse Crunch: 34:00 – 42:58

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