UC Skates past Cortland State

By WKTV SPORTS/Utica College

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The nationally-ranked No. 10 Utica College men's hockey team defeated SUNY Cortland 5-2 Friday night in front of a crowd of 3,255 at The Utica Memorial Auditorium.  Freshman Peter LaFosse led UC as he netted his first two collegiate goals, including the eventual game-winner.  Sophomore Jon Gaffney also scored two goals and now has eight on the season for Utica.

The Pioneers return to the ice Saturday as they host Curry College for a 7 p.m. scheduled puck drop at “The Aud”.  The Colonels currently hold a 7-3 overall record and they are undefeated at 5-0 in the ECAC Northeast.

Three first period goals by the Pioneers (10-4) proved sufficient as they fended off the Red Dragons to capture their tenth victory of the season. UC broke the ice, just 1:42 into play, as sophomore Chris Santiago registered his first goal of the season, even-strength, off dishes from Gaffney and sophomore defender Mike Slowikowski.  Utica went up 2-0, at 7:46, as Gaffney tallied his seventh goal of the year, set-up by sophomore Steve Charest and freshman Andrew Balzifiore. UC continued its surge as it pushed to a 3-0 advantage just under six minutes later, at 13:20, as LaFosse put home the game-winner for his first career goal. The Red Dragons got on the board at 15:18 to cut the lead to 3-1 off an even-strength score from Mike Henrici.  Utica outshot the visitors 13-7 in the first 20 minutes of action.

The Pioneers scored the lone goal of the second period as LaFosse drilled his second goal of the night, at 4:37, off assists from team-leaders senior Tim Coffman and junior Evan Chlanda. Utica killed a Cortland power-play with under three minutes to go in the second to take a 4-1 advantage into the locker room.

Cortland did not surrender as Joey Christiano pulled the Red Dragons to within two scores, 4-2, with just over five minutes left in regulation.  Following a timeout, Cortland pulled its goalie just short of two minutes to go, however, the plan back fired as Gaffney slid in an empty-netter at 18:29 to seal the deal.

Sophomore Nick Therrien registered 25 saves, including ten in the final period, as he moved his season record to 5-1.

The Pioneers edged Cortland 28-27 in shots while only commiting two penalties in the win.

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