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#4 Utica Pioneers at Wilkes Colonels weekend preview

The #4 Utica Pioneers Men’s Hockey Team hits the road looking to stop a red-hot Wilkes team in their tracks.

This Weekend, the Utica Pioneers are traveling three hours south to face the Wilkes Colonels in a weekend UCHC road trip. These two teams are not strangers to one another, as in six years there have been thirteen matchups between the two programs. Utica currently dominates the matchup with an impressive record of 11-1-1, including meeting twice in the UCHC Championship. Their only loss came during the shortened Covid year. Utica currently has a three-game-winning streak.  

Wilkes University Colonels

Wilkes, who received votes nationally in the USCHO poll and ranks sixth in the D3 Pairwise, has been hot since dropping their opening night matchup to SUNY Cortland 5-2. They swept #15 Albertus Magnus in a home-in-home series by multi-goal margins. They followed that with a sweep of fellow UCHC rival Manhattanville by scores of 3-2 and 9-1. It’s safe to say that Wilkes is on a roll and ready to face off against a team they rarely have success against. 

The key to their success this year is Jack Perna. In his four starts this year he’s 4-0 with a .960 SV% and 1.19 GAA. Perna also won back-to-back UCHC goaltender of the week honors the past two weeks.

The Connecticut Hockey Foundation featured on the Central New York Hockey Report Podcast

Along with the goaltending, Wilkes has a strong penalty-killing unit. In the past twenty-six attempts so far this season, Wilkes has only given up two power-play goals. The Colonels are also generating offense on the penalty kill, scoring two short-handed goals. Wilkes’ scoring depth has also been apparent so far. In the five games they’ve played, there have been eight different goal scorers – Billy Berry and Matt Carlson are leading the way with four each. Wilkes will look to get ahead early as Utica has the ability to score in bunches.

Utica University Pioneers

Utica enters this weekend in the number four spot in the USCHO poll the D3 Pairwise rankings. With a record of 4-0-2, they’re hoping to keep their current streak of three wins in a row alive. In the six games that Utica has played, they’ve scored twenty-three goals. On the offensive end, there’s no go-to guy to score and put points up since they play a team-based style. The Pioneer’s leading point scorer is Jakob Breualt, who has four goals and four assists in six games played.

Utica also played stronger competition with games against #2 Adrian as well as Stevenson – another team that received votes. In those matchups, they won one and tied the other. One standout player for Utica is their goaltender Ethan Roberts who transferred from the D1 program, St. Thomas. DIII Hockey News said he looks like one of the best goaltenders in Division III so far this season. In his six starts, he’s put up a .934 save percentage and a 1.82 GAA, to go with a record of 4-0-2.

Central New York in the USCHO polls November 13, 2023

While the offensive and defensive stats are near the same for both Wilkes and Utica, one thing to take into consideration is the strength of the schedule so far. Wilkes has only played one ranked team – Albertus Magnus. Utica has played two, including arguably the best team in the country Adrian. If Utica wants to win this weekend, they should aim to get off to a physical start and score early, making Wilkes play from behind. Utica also cannot take Wilkes lightly since right now, they’re playing an offensive style that is similar to Stevenson’s who nearly beat the Pioneers two weeks ago. There’s a strong chance both of these teams could face off against each other in the UCHC tournament, this should serve as a preview for potential meetings down the road this season.

Saturday night’s game starts at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday afternoon’s game begins at 3:30 p.m. To watch the game or follow via live stats, visit https://uticapioneers.com.

Here are some more in-depth stats for this weekend’s matchup between Utica University and Wilkes University:

Team Records

Utica

  • Overall Record: 4-0-2
  • UCHC Record: 3-0-1
  • Away Record: 2-0-0
  • Place in Standings: 2nd in UCHC
  • Goal Differential: +12
  • Head Coach: Gary Heenan

Wilkes

  • Overall Record: 4-1-0
  • Home Record: 1-0-0
  • Place in Standings: 6th in the UCHC
  • Goal Differential: +11
  • Head Coach: Tyler Hynes

Team Offense

Utica

  • Goals For: 23
  • Goals Per Game: 3.8
  • Shots: 227
  • Shots Per Game: 37.8
  • Powerplay: 18.2% (4-22)

Wilkes

  • Goals For: 21
  • Goals Per Game: 4.2
  • Shots: 171
  • Shots Per Game: 34.2
  • Powerplay: 41.2% (7-17)

Top Five Scorers and Individual Leaders

Utica

  • 1)Jakob Breault: 4G + 4A = 8Pts.
  • 2) Micheal Herrera: 3G + 3A = 6Pts.
  • 3) Khristian Acosta: 2G + 4A = 6Pts.
  • 4) Aiden Hughes: 2G + 3A = 5Pts.
  • 5) Kimball Johnson: 2G + 3A = 5Pts.
  • Shots Leader: Brian Scoville with 21.
  • Powerplay Goals: 4 Skaters tied with 1 each.
  • Shorthanded Goals: Micheal Herrera and Vladislav Pshenichnikov tied with 1 each.
  • Game-winning Goals: 4 Skaters tied with 1 each.
  • +/- Leader: Brian Scoville at + 7.
  • PIM leader: Drake Morse with 9.

Wilkes

  • 1) Billy Berry: 4G + 2A = 6Pts.
  • 2) Joe Johnson: 0G + 6A = 6Pts.
  • 3) Matt Carlson: 4G + 1A = 5Pts.
  • 4) Cam Lowe: 2G + 3A = 5Pts.
  • 5) Jimmy O’Kane 1G + 4A = 5Pts.
  • Shots Leader: Patrick Roginski with 19.
  • Powerplay Goals: Patrick Roginski and Miles Harrington with 2 each.
  • Shorthanded Goals: Billy Berry with 2.
  • Game-winning Goals: 4 Skaters tied with 1 each.
  • +/- Leader: 4 Skaters tied with 1.
  • PIM leader: Jimmy O’Kane.

Team Defense

Utica

  • Goals Against: 11
  • Goals Against Per Game: 1.8
  • Shots Allowed: 170
  • Shows Allowed Per Game: 28.3
  • Penalty Kill: 89.7% (26/29)
  • Short-Handed Goals Scored (Team): 2

Wilkes

  • Goals Against: 10
  • Goals Against Per Game: 2
  • Shots Allowed: 152
  • Shows Allowed Per Game: 30.4
  • Penalty Kill: 92.3% (24/26)
  • Short-Handed Goals Scored (Team): 2

Goaltending

Utica

Ethan Roberts

  • Record: 4-0-0
  • GAA: 1.82
  • Saves: 156
  • Save Percentage: .935
  • Shutouts: 0

Bryan Landsberger

  • Record: 0-0-0
  • GAA: 0.0
  • Saves: 3
  • Save Percentage: 1.000
  • Shutouts: 0

Wilkes

Jack Perna

  • Record: 4-0-0
  • GAA: 1.19
  • Saves: 120
  • Save Percentage: .960
  • Shutouts: 0

Micheal Paterson-Jones

  • Record: 0-1-0
  • GAA: 5.20
  • Saves: 22
  • Save Percentage: .846
  • Shutouts: 0

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