UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Elmira College men's hockey team jumped out to 5-0 lead in the first 26:46 of the contest, and despite a valiant comeback by host Utica College, the Soaring Eagles were able to hang on a for a 7-4 victory in ECAC Men's West Conference play Saturday night in front of a paid attendance of 3,847 at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. UC, which is ranked No. 9 nationally, was trailing by a hefty 5-0 deficit when it battled back by scoring four goals in span of
13:07 to cut the Elmira lead to 6-4 with 10:10 left on the clock. The Soaring Eagles outlasted two Pioneer power-plays and snuck in an empty-netter in the final moments to earn the three goal victory.
Utica (5-2, 3-2 ECAC West) returns to action next Saturday when it hosts non-conference foe Amherst College at the Auditorium at 7 p.m. Elmira moved its record to 4-3 overall as it earned a key weekend split with the Pioneers after dropping the opening game of the series 11-2 on Friday night.
UC's Adam Graff (Bear, DE/Syracuse Stars (EJHL)), Ridge Garbutt (Toronto, Ontario/Brewster Academy (NH)), Eric Peterson (Newton, NH/Valley (EJHL)) and Jordan Hobaica (Clinton, NY/Northwood School) all tallied goals for UC in its late run. The Pioneers earned a 42-28 shot advantage on the afternoon but they went 1-for-8 on the power-play.
Elmira's early lead was sparked by two goals from Carter Shinkaruk in just over a three minute span to start the second period. Brian Depp opened the scoring for the Soaring Eagles with his second goal of the weekend, while Tyler Campbell and Josh Burnell each added a goal in the opening spurt.
D'arcy Oakes scored a key third period goal to extend the Soaring Eagles' lead to 6-3 with 9:05 to go in the game and Taylor Love added the empty netter with 19 seconds left in the contest.
UC's goals came in bunches as the Pioneers scored their first two just eight seconds apart late in the second period. Utica's final two goals came 1:14 apart, but the visitors were able to sneak one past the goal line between the two Pioneer scores, to preserve a two goal lead.
Elmira goalie Ryan deMelo stopped 38 shots in net, while Mike Taffe (Maple Grove, MN/Amarillo (NAHL)) and Nick Therrien (Rochester, NH/NY Apple Core (EJHL)) combined for 21 saves for UC. Taffe was pulled from the contest after giving up the third goal of the night just 3:12 into the second period. Therrien stopped 16 shots over the course of 35 minutes of work for Utica.
Trever Hertz (Jaffray, British Columbia/Quesnel Millionaires (BCHL)), Nick Miglio (Boerne, TX/Bismarck (NAHL)), Josh Schmitt (Buffalo, NY/Buffalo (OPJHL)), Cody Adams (Duncan, British Columbia/Plattsburgh (SUNYAC)), Rob Morton (New Hartford, NY/Merrimack (Hockey East)), Mike Baird (Oakville, Ontario/Huntsville (OJHL)) and Louis Educate (Chicago, IL/Aberdeen (NAHL)) all added assists for the Pioneers. It was a tremendous seven point weekend for Educate and he currently leads the team and ranks fifth nationally with an average of 2.14 points per contest (seven goals, eight assists).