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#9 Utica Pioneers Women edged by Nazareth 3-2

Credit: Scott Kinville

The ninth-ranked Utica Pioneers Women’s Hockey Team (14-2-2 overall, 10-1-2 UCHC) was defeated at home by UCHC rival the Nazareth Golden Flyers (12-5-1 overall, 12-0-1 UCHC) on Friday night. The loss was Utica’s first conference loss in regulation this season.

The Golden Flyers opened the game with a steady stream of pressure on the Pioneer’s defense and goaltender Maddie Esposito. The visitors nearly opened the scoring less than a minute after the opening faceoff, but Esposito thwarted Ella Cedrone on a breakaway attempt.

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It was the home team who scored the first goal, however, when Erica Sloan fired a shot past Nazareth goaltender McKinley Hoff with 11:20 remaining in the first. Nazareth answered with 4:27 remaining in the opening frame. Makenna Wiljanen slid a backhander past Esposito to even the score at one.

Utica Pioneers goaltender Maddie Esposito. Photo credit: Scott Kinville.

With the score still tied at one late into the second period, the Golden Flyers broke the stalemate with 1:38 left. Sophia Nortz scored to give her team a 2-1 lead heading into the second intermission.

Nazareth added to their lead with an Ingrid Holstad power-play goal at the 7:28 mark of the third period. With Esposito pulled for an extra skater, Carolyn Whitney scored with 1:22 remaining to make it a one-goal game. That would be all they would get, and the Golden Flyers skated away with the 3-2 victory.

The teams meet again at the Utica University Nexus Center on Saturday afternoon with a start time of 2:00 pm. For more information about Utica Pioneers hockey, visit https://uticapioneers.com.

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