UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Utica College men's hockey team made a big statement Saturday night, scoring eight goals in the first two periods, on its way to a convincing 9-0 win over visiting Fredonia State in front of a paid attendance of 3,525 at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The Pioneers had seven different players score at least two points as they completed the weekend sweep of two SUNYAC opponents (6-1 win over Morrisville Friday night).
“We're certainly happy with an opening weekend where we put some pucks in the net and hold the opponents to just one goal,” said
Head Coach Gary Heenan
of his squad outscoring its opponents 15-1 in two games this weekend. “I think we still have a lot to work on before conference play. We cannot take Nazareth lightly at all. They are a hungry team. We will enjoy this one tonight, but the season
is very young and we have a lot of work left on our plate.”
The Pioneers, who put forth their highest scoring effort in a shutout since a last year's New York Sash Teddy Bear Toss when they topped visiting Salve Regina 12-0, improved to 2-0 on the year headed into a key ECAC Men's West Conference game against newcomer Nazareth at home on Nov. 3 (7 p.m.).
The contest was also a part of the Pioneers effort to help fight heart disease, as they wore special edition Heart jerseys which were auctioned off through the AmeriCU “I Heart Hockey”
Night. All proceeds from Saturday's auction will benefit the American Heart Association.
Junior forward Jon Gaffney led UC with four points on one goal and three assists. Gaffney now leads the team with five assists on the year (27 for his career). Senior Eric Peterson and junior Ridge Garbutt each added two assists, while sophomore transfer Louis Educate totaled one goal and two assists. Garbutt leads the team with four goals this season. Adam Graff also scored his second goal in as many nights for Utica.
Defensemen Steve Zappia and Mike Slowikowski each chipped in with one goal and one assist, as Peter LaFosse, Josh Schmitt and Mike Baird each tallied two assists.
UC came out of the gates hot, scoring five goals in the first 20 minute stretch to stun the visiting Blue Devils. The Pioneers did not back down, netting three more goals in the second stanza to seal the victory.
Sophomore Mike Taffe registered his first collegiate shut out while stopping all 15 of the shots he faced. Taffe came to Utica from the Amarillo Bulls of the North American Hockey League. Prior to his one year stint with the Bulls he played in two games at Division I power University of Nebraska Omaha.
Jeff Holloway stopped 12 shots in nearly 42 minutes of work between the pipes for Fredonia. Holloway relived Mark Friesen, who gave up four goals in the first period.