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Utica Pioneers Women take the Kickoff Tournament championship

Angela Hawthorne’s forty-four save effort leads the Pioneers to the championship of the Kickoff Tournament.

There’s an old axiom in hockey that says a goaltender can steal a game for their team. Such a robbery took place on Saturday afternoon and the perpetrator was Utica Pioneers goaltender Angela Hawthorne.

After some back-and-forth action to open the game, the Pioneers got the game’s first power play with eleven minutes remaining in the opening frame. Although it was Utica who had the extra skater, it was the Bulldogs who initially got the better scoring chances. Hawthorne had to be sharp, beginning a trend that would last throughout the game.

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With Hawthorne holding the fort down, the Pioneers would have this power play extended by another Bulldogs penalty. This time the home team would convert, as Hailey Modlin put a rebound off a shot by Erica Sloan past Adrian goaltender Michaela O’Brien. Despite being outshot thirteen to four in the first period, it was the Pioneers who took the 1-0 lead into the intermission.

The Utica Pioneers celebrate Hailey Modlin’s first period. Photo credit: Scott Kinville.

Assisted by three power play opportunities in the second period, the Bulldogs continued their barrage on Hawthorne. The Pioneers were able to kill all three penalties due to the efforts of their star goaltender. Adrian outshot Utica in the second period by a thirteen to five margin.

Utica goaltender Angela Hawthorne makes one of her forty-four saves during the game. Photo credit: Scott Kinville.

Utica gave Adrian their fifth power play of the game just six seconds into the start of the third period. Although the Pioneers were able to kill it, it would lead to more relentless pressure from the Bulldogs. That pressure would pay off at the 7:05 mark when they finally got one past Hawthorne on their thirty-first shot of the game. Jocelin Hudanish put a loose puck in the net off a scramble off a loose puck at the Utica crease to tie the game at one.

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Adrian’s Tia Lascelle would then provide the Pioneers a perfect opportunity to take the lead by taking a five-minute kicking major. The Bulldogs continued applying pressure throughout the Pioneers power play but neither team scored.

Utica nearly won the game with fifteen seconds remaining in regulation when Erica Sloan fed a pass to Nicole Flak for a point-blank chance in the slot. Bulldogs goaltender Michaela O’Brien made a huge save to send the game to overtime.

The overtime period ended soon after the opening faceoff. Carolyn Whitney broke down the right side of the Adrian zone on a two-on-one with Tess Barrett. Whitney fired a laser from the right circle into the top right corner of the Adrian net to give the Pioneers a 2-1 overtime victory and the tournament championship.


  • Angela Hawthorne was the undisputed number-one star of the game. She made forty-four saves in total to keep the Pioneers in the game which led to the victory.
  • Utica was 1/5 on the power play, while Adrian was 0/6.
  • Adrian outshot Utica 45 – 15.

For more information about Utica Pioneers hockey, visit

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