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#4 Utica Pioneers vs Wilkes Colonels Game Recap 11-18-2023

The #4 Utica Pioneers continue to dominate the Wilkes Colonels with a 5-0 win in Pennsylvania on Saturday night.

Period 1: 

In the first matchup of the weekend, Utica is looking to keep up their dominance against Wilkes. After an early tip by Colonels’ Jimmy O’Kane that barely missed the net, it felt like Wilkes was ready to compete. Early in the first, Michael Paterson-Jones was looking to defend the crease tonight instead of Wilkes’ usual goaltender this season Jack Perna, due to injury reasons. Ethan Roberts also took the crease for Utica. Utica early on seemed to be playing a step behind for the first 5 minutes.

The Pioneers got into the flow after the 5-minute mark and used their size advantage to keep Wilkes to the outside and get the puck out of their zone.  Paterson, who was pulled in the first game after a lackluster performance, made some cross-crease saves to keep the score even at 0 and gobbled up key rebounds to eliminate the Pioneer’s second chances. 

Utica got their first powerplay advantage at 7:36 after Patrick Roginski was called for tripping.  After some crisp puck movement around the horn, the Pioneers were able to capitalize with a wrist shot from Brian Scoville, his 3rd of the season and first powerplay goal to make it 1-0 with 5:53 remaining in the first.  In the last 2 minutes of the opening period, Wilkes was the team with the pressure but there was no goal to show for it.  Utica headed into the locker room up 1-0.  

Central New York in the USCHO polls November 13, 2023

Period 2:

The Pioneers got off to a quick start in the second, only 40 seconds after they won the face-off cleanly and Vladislav Pshenichnikov floated over Patersons’ right shoulder with a good screen for his 2nd of the season. Michael Herrera then took a slashing penalty to give Wilkes their first powerplay of the game.  Other than a quick moment where Roberts lost the puck in his pads, there was nothing to come about the Wilkes powerplay. 

Halfway through the second period, it was still a back-and-forth game.  Both sides have had quality chances that are disappearing through bad passes or good defensive zone coverage.  No teams were able to create any momentum, but it was clear that Utica was in control due to their multi-goal lead.  Utica had a quality chance at the 9:45 mark but was stopped after a stellar glove save from Paterson to keep it 2-0.  After that play, it caused Wilkes to call a timeout to regroup. 

Despite the timeout from Tyler Hynes, Wilkes’s head coach, Utica still controlled the pace of the game, keeping the puck in the Colonel’s zones for a minute and a half straight. Wilkes had started to gain some momentum in the last 5 minutes.  But Utica then scored again to up the lead to 3-0 after a tipped pass from Herrera to Pshenichnikov for his second of the game found its way past Paterson with 2:02 left in the second.  Wilkes then took a penalty with 45.9 seconds left when Terski went to the box for hooking.  Utica holds a 3-0 lead and 1:14 remaining on the powerplay heading into the second intermission.  

#4 Utica Pioneers at Wilkes Colonels weekend preview

Period 3:

Utica instantly got back to it, not letting Wilkes back into it.  They scored again, 40 seconds into the period.  After a cross-crease shot from Breault to continue his stellar season for his 5th goal of the year.  After an interference call from Kimball Johnson gives Wilkes their second powerplay of the game with 17:10 left in the 3rd.  Roberts faced two quality shots in the first 45 seconds of the powerplay but steered them away and denied a second opportunity. 

Then at 15:48, there were dual penalties for both Wilkes and Utica that offset,  Utica for tripping and Wilkes for roughing.  Utica was able to steer away Wilkes’s powerplay chance to keep it 4-0 with 15 minutes left in the 3rd.  Again, Wilkes was given another powerplay chance as Scoville got called for cross-checking.   Once again, the Pioneers deterred the strong Wilkes powerplay unit. 

After facing a shot from the slot, Roberts looked to be in some form of distress, leaning heavily on his right leg.  With  7:25 left, Utica was granted a 5v3 chance as O’Kane and Swain went for high sticking and boarding respectively.  Utica scored on a cross-crease 3 seconds after the penalty expired to make it 5-0 at 5:20.  Herrera gets the credit, making that his 4th on the season. 

As time winded down, Utica continued to keep the pressure and keep the puck in the Wilkes zone, playing the game they had all night.  With a final score of 5-0, Ethan Roberts comes away with the win and his first collegiate shutout.  

I spoke with Ethan Roberts after the game and asked him how it felt to get his first collegiate shutout and he said: “It feels good, going game by game, I just stuck in there 5 minutes at a time and made the hard saves look easy, I feel good”. 

With the victory, Utica improved its overall record to 5-0-2 and 4-0-1 in the UCHC. The Pioneers and Colonels square off again Sunday afternoon with a start time of 3:30 p.m. To watch the game or follow along via live stats, visit https://uticapioneers.com.

In this episode of the Central New York Hockey Report Podcast, the Executive Director of the Connecticut Hockey Foundation Eric Opin joins the show. A graduate of Colgate University, Opin oversees the Connecticut Hockey Foundation – a non-profit organization that was formed to honor legendary hockey coach Jason Pagni, who tragically passed away at the age of forty-three. We’ll talk about Pagni’s impact on the game in Connecticut, what the foundation does for youth hockey players, a very special fundraiser game to be held on December 1st, and much more!
In Segment Two, Scott and Jordan discuss the Hamilton College Continentals, Colgate Raiders, Utica Pioneers, and Morrisville Mustangs Men’s and Women’s teams! Then, they take a look at the upcoming weekend for the Syracuse Crunch and Utica Comets.
Eric Opin, Executive Director of the Connecticut Hockey Foundation: 00:00 – 33:15
Segment Two: 34:25 – 58:32
Follow the Connecticut Hockey Foundation on X @CTHOCKEYFDN. The Central New York Hockey Report Podcast is available on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Amazon!

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