UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The nationally-ranked No. 13 Utica College men's hockey team jumped out to a 7-1 lead over the course of the first two periods and never looked back as the Pioneers defeated visiting Cortland State 10-1 in front of 3,054 fans at the Utica Memorial Auditorium Saturday night. The Pioneers have now won six of their last seven games and improved to 11-4 overall for the first time since 2004-05 when they won the ECAC Men's West Regular season championship and hosted the conference tournament.
Freshman forward Jon Gaffney tallied a career-high five points on three goals and two assists to pace the Pioneers. Classmate Trever Hertz added two goals of his own and also registered an assist, while freshman Chris Santiago totaled four points on one goal and a game-high three assists. All but two skaters tallied at least one point, and eight players scored two or more points, as the Pioneers matched their most lopsided victory of the season.
UC set the tone early with two goals in the first 1:36 of play from the sticks of freshman classmates Nick Geraci and Chris Santiago. Freshman Adam Graff and sophomore Evan Chlanda assisted on Geraci's fourth goal of the year. Santiago's power-play tally was assisted by defenders Robert Etts and Mike Slowikowski.
UC's Jon Gaffney rattled off one more goal before the first period buzzer sounded to help the Pioneers take a 3-0 lead into the first intermission.
The second period proved to be much of the same as the Pioneers found the back of the net four times in the first 13:19 of the period.
Trever Hertz tallied two goals, including one short handed, while classmate Steve Charest and sophomore Eric Peterson each tallied one goal.
Cortland got on the board with 5:14 to go in the second when Chris Kaleta tallied his third goal of the season off assists from Jarrett Gold and Jake Saville.
Utica went on to add three third period goals, two from the stick of Gaffney and one from assistant captain Max White, to seal the nine goal victory.
Charest, Chlanda, Etts and junior captain Tim Coffman each totaled two point efforts on the evening.
Freshman goalie Nick Therrien made 23 saves in his fifth win of the season and Pat Dunn came on with 11:14 to go in the contest, making two saves, to preserve the victory for Utica. Dan Jewell, Mike Reilly and Brittan Kuhlman combined for 42 saves as the Pioneers doubled up the Red Dragons, 52-26, in the shots category.
The Pioneers will now hit the road for two non conference contests in Massachusetts against Suffolk next Saturday and Wentworth on Sunday. After the weekend trip to New England the Pioneers will open up a set of eight straight ECAC Men's West Conference games to close out their regular season schedule, beginning with host Elmira on Jan. 21st at 7 p.m.