Elmira, N.Y. (WKTV) – Utica College's Adam Graff (Bear, DE/Syracuse Stars (EJHL)) tied the score at 6-6 with 53 seconds left in regulation to force an overtime frame, but host Elmira College knocked off the nationally-ranked No. 12 Pioneers by netting the game-winner 3:46 into overtime to earn a key ECAC Men's West Conference victory on Friday night at the Murray Athletic Center. Elmira's Brian Depp scored the game-winner, his third point of the evening (one goal, two assists), to help the Soaring Eagles remain atop the conference standings.
Elmira has now won five of its last six outings and improved to 12-7 overall and 7-2 in conference play. The Soaring Eagles now boast a three point advantage in the conference standings, ahead of both Hobart and Utica who are tied for second with 11 points apiece. Hobart was also knocked off on Friday night by conference foe Nazareth College.
The Pioneers are winless in their last five games (0-3-2) and their record moved to 10-5-4 overall on the season, including a 5-3-1 mark in conference play.
Graff led the Pioneers with two goals and he now leads the team with nine goals this season. 12 different skaters scored at least one point for the Pioneers on the evening as Utica outshot the home team 49-27. Ridge Garbutt (Toronto, Ontario/Brewster Academy (NH)) added two assists, while Trever Hertz (Jaffray, British Columbia/Quesnel Millionaires (BCHL)), George Lotito (Staten Island, NY/NH Jr. Monarchs (EJHL)), Justin Hogan (Val Therese, Ontario/Brooks Bandits (AJHL)) and freshman Luc Boby (Chicago, IL/Kalamazoo (NAHL)) each recorded a goal for the Pioneers.
Alexander Taulien led the home team with a hat-trick, while Eric David added one goal and one assist. Jesper Strale also chipped in with two assists for Elmira.
Utica jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 35 seconds into the contest when Hertz netted his sixth of the season, off assists from Mike Baird (Oakville, Ontario/Huntsville (OJHL)) and Garbutt. Hertz now leads the team with 16 points this year (six goals, ten assists). Baird is now tied with Hertz for the team lead in assists with ten. Less than a minute later Elmira knotted the score at 1-1 to set the stage for a six goal first period and an overall high scoring affair.
Senior George Lotito (Staten Island, NY/NH Jr. Monarchs (EJHL)) put the Pioneers back on top in the fourth minute of the game when he scored his second of the season to give Utica a 2-1 advantage. Elmira then rattled off two consecutive goals in a ten minute stretch to give the home team its first lead of the game, 3-2, at 16:14. The Pioneers were able to knot the score at 3-3 before the first intermission when Hogan punched in his third of the season with 30 ticks left on the first period clock. Sophomore Joel Wetmore (Horseheads, NY/Lindsay (OJHL)) assisted on Hogan's lone tally of the night.
Elmira pushed its lead to 5-3 early in the second period when it scored two goals in a span of 1:01 to take a two goal lead, 4:21 into the period. Utica senior goal Nick Therrien (Rochester, NH/NY Apple Core (EJHL)) was relieved early in the second period after giving up his fourth goal of the night. He finished the evening with eight saves in 23:20 of action. Freshman goalie Marcus Zelzer (Green Bay, WI/Kenai River (NAHL)) came on in relief and finished the night with 12 saves.
Graff was able to cut Utica's deficit to one goal, 5-4, less than a minute later when he and Kevin Kirisits (Buffalo, NY/Brockville (CCHL)) hooked up at the 4:54 marker keep the Pioneers with in striking distance. Both teams were held scoreless for the remainder of the second period and the home team took a 5-4 lead into the third and final period.
Taulien completed the hat-trick 2:40 into the third frame to give Elmira a commanding 6-4 advantage with 17:20 left in regulation.
UC would not go down easy as Luc Boby (Chicago, IL/Kalamazoo (NAHL)) cut the Pioneers' deficit in half, 6-5, at 6:53 to make it a one goal game.
With under a minute to go in regulation Utica Head Coach Gary Heenan pulled Zelzer to give the Pioneers an extra attacker and Graff came through, sending the contest into overtime with his second goal of the night with 57 seconds left in regulation. Garbutt and senior defender Steve Zappia (Buffalo, NY/Buffalo Jr. Sabres (OJAHL)) assisted on Graff's goal which tied the game at 6-6.
However, Utica would go into the overtime period at a disadvantage as Louie Educate (Chicago, IL/Aberdeen (NAHL)) and Trever Hertz (Jaffray, British Columbia/Quesnel Millionaires (BCHL)) both received penalties in the final minute of the third period.
Utica was able to outlast the 5-on-3 overtime onslaught by the Soaring Eagles, but shortly after the penalties expired, Depp netted the game winner, much to the delight of the Elmira crowd.
EC goalie Sal Magliocco won his 11th game of the season in net for the Soaring Eagles as he stopped 43 shots.
The two conference rivals will have no time to rest as they square off again in the second game of a weekend double header on Saturday night at 7 p.m.