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Utica Pioneers Women’s Hockey brings in nine new players

Photo credit: Scott Kinville

By Scott Kinville/CNY Hockey Report

The Utica Pioneers Women’s Hockey Team set the program record for wins in a season in 2022-23 with twenty-two. Despite losing Georgiana Santullo to graduation, most of the team’s core returns for the 2023-24 season. Nine new players will join them in donning the Pioneers uniform as Utica Head Coach Dave Clausen and his staff have brought five first-year skaters and four transfers. The transfers come from Division III powerhouse programs like Plattsburgh St. and Adrian, Division I Sacred Heart, and UCHC rival Manhattanville.

“We’ve got a good group that will be a part of our core for years to come”, Clausen said about his new players. “We had Georgie Santullo graduate, but we think these kids will help. We’re really excited about the group we have coming in.”

The Utica Pioneers Women’s Hockey 2023-24 schedule. Graphic courtesy of Utica University.

The Utica bench boss made it clear nothing will be handed to the incoming class, however, as he pointed out “They will have to compete with players that had those spots last year. These kids are already good players, it’s our goal to make them even better.”

Utica’s Erica Sloan (#6) pursues the puck during a preseason game against Norwich at the Adirondack Bank Center last season. Photo credit: Scott Kinville.

What qualities were Coach Clausen and his staff looking for?

Each hockey program has certain qualities they look for in new players, and the Utica Pioneers are no different. Clausen and his coaching staff were looking for three things in particular, and he also provided insight into that.

“Character. We wanted players that want to be a part of something special and something that is more than themselves. We also wanted good skaters and players with high hockey IQ.”

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This season’s recruit class comes from all over the North American continent, as they hail from as far away as the west coast of Canada and Florida. In contrast, there are also two recruits that grew up within two hours of their new home at the Utica University Nexus Center. This recruiting class is also an example of persistence for Clausen and his staff, as he pointed out “We’ve got kids that we tried to recruit three years ago and are now coming to us.”

Lastly, Dave Clausen believes his Utica Pioneers program has a couple of fantastic recruiting attractions that will help his program well into the future. “The University (Utica U.) is great, and the academics are great, it makes it (recruiting) an easy sell. The Utica University Nexus Center certainly made the recruiting process easier for us.”

Let’s take a look at the nine new players joining the Pioneers this season.

The Transfers

Jordan Kowalski

  • Position: Forward.
  • Height: 5′ 10″ / Weight: Unavailable.
  • Age 21 / Hometown: Westfield, Massachusetts.
  • 2022-23 Team/League: Plattsburgh St (SUNYAC).
  • 2002-23 Statistics: 5 GP / 0 G / 0 A / 0 Pts / 0 PIM.
  • Notes: Kowalski played the last three seasons at Plattsburgh (her first season was canceled due to Covid). She also played lacrosse at Plattsburgh and will do so for Utica as well.

Faithe Harris

  • Position: Defense.
  • Height: 5′ 8″ / Weight: Unavailable.
  • Age: 22 / Hometown: Castlegar, British Columbia.
  • 2022-23 Team: Manhattanville (UCHC).
  • 2022-23 Statistics: None. 2021-22 Statistics: 20 GP / 1 G / 3 A / 4 Pts / 28 PIM.
  • Notes: Did not play in 2022-23, but played the two previous seasons before that for the Manhattanville Valiants. She played junior hockey for the Richmond Pacific Steelers of the Junior Women’s Hockey League.

Rachel DeLong

  • Position: Forward.
  • Height: Unavailable / Weight: Unavailable.
  • Age: 22 / Hometown: Ballston Spa, NY.
  • 2022-23 Team/League: Sacred Heart U. (NEWHA).
  • 2022-23 Statistics: 37 GP / 4 G / 7 A / 13 Pts / 18 PIM.
  • Notes: DeLong played four seasons at Sacred Heart prior to transferring to Utica for this season. Prior to attending Sacred Heart, she was a three-sport (hockey, soccer, and softball) star at the Canterbury School, which is located in New Milford, Connecticut.

Emma Corbett

  • Position: Defense.
  • Height: 5′ 5″ / Weight: Unavailable.
  • Age: 21 / Hometown: Rochester, NY.
  • 2022-23 Team: Adrian College (NCHA),
  • 2022-23 Statistics: 27 GP / 2 G / 7 A / 9 Pts / 6 PIM.
  • Notes: Corbett played three seasons at Adrian prior to transferring to Utica for this season. Her twin sister Rachel plays hockey for Oswego St.

The First-Year Players

Sydney Mintz

  • Position: Forward.
  • Height: 5′ 5″ / Weight: Unavailable.
  • Age: 18 / Hometown: Kelowna, British Columbia.
  • 2022-23 Team/League: Okanagan HA U18 Prep (CSSHL).
  • 2022-23 Statistics: Regular Season: 29 GP / 5 G / 6 A / 11 Pts / 20 PIM. Playoffs: 3 GP / 1 G / 1 A / 2 Pts / 0 PIM.
  • Notes: Mintz has played the last four seasons in the CSSHL (Canadian Sport School Hockey League), which is a highly regarded prep league in Canada.

Sarah Muller

  • Position: Forward.
  • Height: 5′ 6″ / Weight: Unavailable.
  • Age: 20 / Hometown: Wildwood, Missouri.
  • 2022-23 Team//League: Culver Military Academy (USHS).
  • Notes: Muller has played the last two seasons for the Culver Military Academy (located in Indiana) for a total of 102 games. Two former and one current Major League Baseball players (David Freese, Ryan Howard, and Luke Voit) grew up in Muller’s hometown of Wildwood, Missouri.

Angelina Garganese

  • Position: Forward.
  • Height: 5′ 4″ / Weight: Unavailable.
  • Age: 17 / Hometown: Winter Springs, Florida.
  • 2022-23 Team/League: Florida Alliance 19U AAA (NGHL 19U – National Girls Hockey League).
  • 2022-23 Statistics: Unavailable.
  • Notes: Garganese participated in the USA Hockey Nationals in 2019, 2021, and 2022. She is a dual citizen, as she has both American and Italian citizenship.

Cameran Evans

  • Position: Forward.
  • Height: 5′ 5″ / Weight: Unavailable.
  • Age: 19 / Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
  • 2022-23: Florida Alliance 19U AAA (NGHL).
  • 2022-23 Statistics: Unavailable.
  • Notes: Evans was a teammate of Angelina Garganese on the Florida Alliance team. In 2021-22 she played for the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 19U Team (see video below).

Madi Richman

  • Position: Defense.
  • Height: Unavailable / Weight: Unavailable.
  • Age: 18 / Hometown: Scituate, Massachusetts.
  • 2022-23 Team/League: Thayer Academy (USHS)
  • 2022-23 Statistics: Unavailable.
  • Notes: Richman played one season at the Thayer Academy, where she also played field hockey.

The Pioneers open their regular season at home on October 27th with the inaugural Utica University Kickoff Tournament. For more information about Utica Pioneers hockey, including schedules and rosters, visit https://uticapioneers.com.

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