UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The nationally-ranked No. 8 Utica College men's hockey team completed the season-sweep of No. 2 Oswego State on Saturday night after a convincing 6-0 win over the Lakers in front of a sold-out crowd at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The Pioneers' (11-2) leading scorer Louie Educate (Chicago, IL/Aberdeen (NAHL)) proved once again that he can find the back of the net on the big stage as he netted two goals and added one assist. Freshman defender Donny Oliveiri registered a career-high four assists and junior goalie Nick Therrien (Rochester, NH/NY Apple Core (EJHL)) helped UC win its sixth straight game by posting 25 saves in his first shutout of the season.
“We really put it all together tonight and I'm proud of the way our guys played here at the Aud against one of the best teams in the country,” said Head Coach Gary Heenan. “I don't think you can ever expect to beat a team like Oswego in this fashion. We played hard and we capitalized on the opportunities that were presented to us. We knew this was going to be a big weekend for us, coming off a long holiday break, and our guys proved they were hungry and ready to go.”
Oswego (12-3 overall) allowed four power-play goals in the loss. Utica's Ridge Garbutt (Toronto, Ontario/Brewster Academy (NH)) tallied two assists, while Adam Graff (Bear, DE/Syracuse Stars (EJHL)), Chris Santiago (Langley, British Columbia/Surrey Eagles (BCHL)), Rob Morton (New Hartford, NY/Merrimack (Hockey East)) and freshman Joel Wetmore (Horseheads, NY/Lindsay (OJHL)) each netted one goal in the victory. UC is now 9-1 overall at home this season, including an impressive 7-0 record against non-conference opponents on its home ice.
The Pioneers shot out of the gates in the first period and got the sold-out crowd on its feet with three goals in the first 17:24 of play. Santiago opened the scoring just 5:38 into the contest, his second tally of the season, off assists from senior captain Evan Chalanda and Steve Zappia (Buffalo, NY/Buffalo Jr. Sabres (OJAHL)). Educate then got in on the act at the 13:34 ledger, as the Pioneers were on the power-play, when he drove home his team-best 12th goal of the year after assists from Mike Baird (Oakville, Ontario/Huntsville (OJHL)) and Olivieri. Graff capped the first period scoring with under three minutes left to skate when he netted his eighth of the year on a pwer-play off assists from Olivieri and junior defender Mike Slowikowski (Ewing, NJ/N.J. Hitmen (EJHL)).
The Pioneers poured in three more second period goals from the sticks of Morton, Wetmore and Educate. Two of UC's second period tallies were power-play goals. Morton and Wetmore's scores came in the first 5:27 of the second to essentially secure the Pioneer victory. Educate, who is now tied for third in the nation with 1.92 points per game, added an insurance goal for Utica with less than four minutes to play in the second.
UC was able to hold the nation's leading scorer, Paul Rodrigues, scoreless on the afternoon. Utica held the Lakers to just six shots in the final period on its way to the Pioneers most lopsided victory over Oswego in program-history.
Utica has now handed Oswego two of its three losses this year, including a 3-2 victory at Campus Center Ice Arena back on Dec. 7th.
The Pioneers will now hit the road for a four game road trip starting with Cortland State on Jan. 11th at 7 p.m. They return from the four game road trip to the friendly confines of the Utica Memorial Auditorium on Jan. 25th when they take on Neumann University. Neumann knocked off nationally-ranked No. 1 Norwich University 5-3 on Saturday night.
Utica's six game winning streak is tied for third in the nation in active winning streaks. The Pioneers killed off all three of the penalties they faced to help improve their penalty kill to 90.6%, which ranks second nationally. UC also ranks third in the country in average margin of victory this season (3.15). Utica is now 6-11 all-time against the Lakers.