Pioneers heading to ECAC West semis


UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Utica College women's hockey team will advance to the semifinals of the ECAC Women's West Conference Tournament for the third time in the last four years after defeating SUNY Potsdam 5-1 Friday night in the conference quarterfinal at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.  Sophomore Louise Steele-Norton (Avondale, PA/Millbrook School) and freshman Morgan Reed (Fort Myers, FL/Cushing Academy) each netted two goals and an assist to pace the Pioneers.

UC will now travel to Plattsburgh next weekend for the league final four.  The Pioneers will either play top seeded and nationally ranked No. 1 Plattsburgh State, or second seeded Elmira College in the semifinals on March 2.  The winner of the Oswego-Neumann quarterfinal, taking place at 2 p.m. Saturday will take the last spot in the semifinals.  If Oswego wins, Utica will play Plattsburgh at 4 p.m. on Saturday, March 2. If Neumann wins, the Pioneers will take on Elmira at 7 p.m. on the 2nd.

Louise Steele-Norton (Avondale, PA/Millbrook School) knocked home a loose puck 10:08 into the first period of play to give the Pioneers an early 1-0 lead.  Nicole Schwartz (Danville, CA/San Jose Sharks) and Morgan Reed (Fort Myers, FL/Cushing Academy) assisted on Utica's first goal of the evening.  Reed pushed home the Pioneers' second goal of the night at 13:22 off a swift wrap around that caught Potsdam goalie Jen Conophy out of position.   Vanessa Maines (Boxborough, MA/Acton-Boxborough Regional) and Nicole Kieffer (Rome, NY/Lysander Lightning) assisted on Reed's fifth of the year.

The Bears cut the lead in half as Jessica Silveira was able to roof one over Jennifer Hamel (Ithaca, NY/Northwood School)'s shoulder at 5:38 of the second period.  Sally Mooney assisted on Silveira's power play tally. Less than three minutes later, Steele-Norton regained the two-goal lead with a power play goal of her own.  The forward received a pass from Kieffer and riffled a slapshot into the upper corner of the net for her second of the night.  Junior Megan Myers (Las Vegas, NV/LA Selects) also assisted on the play. Then, with 4:26 left to play in the period, Myers scored a goal of her own as she was able to skate down the left side, cut to the middle and bury the puck in the roof of the net.  Classmate Meredith Tice (Hershey, PA/Washington Pride) assisted on Myers' team-leading 17th of the season.

Reed tallied her second of the night with just under two and a half minutes to play off assists from Myers and Steele-Norton to ensure the Utica victory.  Jennifer Hamel (Ithaca, NY/Northwood School) made 23 saves in the win, while Conophy had 20 saves for Potsdam.

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