UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The nationally-ranked No. 15 Utica College men's hockey team netted three unanswered goals on its way to a 4-2 victory as the Pioneers completed the weekend sweep of Neumann University on Saturday night at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.
Senior Jon Gaffney (Dover, NJ/Springfield Blues (NAHL)) totaled a game-high three points on one goal and two assists, while freshman forward Luc Boby (Chicago, IL/Kalamazoo (NAHL)) netted a career-best two goals to pace the Pioneers. Boby now has four goals in the last three games and he has helped the Pioneers push their conference win streak to three straight.
UC's record moved to 13-5-4 overall and 8-3-1 in the ECAC West. UC currently sits in first place in the conference with 17 points, but the Pioneers have played one more game than second place Elmira College (8-3-0, 16 points), who beat third place Hobart College on the road Saturday night, 5-3. UC has three regular season games left on the schedule, all of which will be played at the Aud, beginning with Nazareth College next Friday night (7 p.m.).
UC senior forward Trever Hertz (Jaffray, British Columbia/Quesnel Millionaires (BCHL)) registered two points (one goal, one assist) and he now needs just two more points to become the third player in program-history to score 100+ points in a career. Hertz would join UC alums Tim Coffman and Jimmy Sokol in the 100 point club.
The Pioneers trailed Neumann 2-1 after the first period, but responded with three goals over the course of the next two periods to secure the two goal conference victory. The Pioneers outshot the visitors 49-24 on the evening, which included a 32-12 shot advantage in the final 40 minutes of action.
All three first period goals were scored in a span of 2:02 as the Knights jumped out to a 2-1 lead midway through the period. Kajon McKay opened the scoring at 10:31 for Neumann, but Hertz answered right back for UC just 31 seconds later to knot the score at 1-1 at the 11:02 ledger. Junior All-American Louie Educate (Chicago, IL/Aberdeen (NAHL)) and senior forward Ridge Garbutt (Toronto, Ontario/Brewster Academy (NH)) assisted on Hertz's eighth goal of the season. Garbutt currently ranks second on the team with 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists).
Neumann took the lead back at 12:33 when CJ Cruz scored his second goal of the year, off an assist from Steve Low, to give the visitors' a one goal lead with 7:27 remaining in the first period.
Both teams were held scoreless until Boby tied the game up at 2-2 at the 15:28 mark of the second period. Senior's Steve Charest (Amqui, Quebec/Walpole Express (AJHL)) and Jon Gaffney (Dover, NJ/Springfield Blues (NAHL)) assisted on Boby's fifth goal of the season. Gaffney now has 90 career points in the blue and orange (44 goals, 46 assists).
Boby got back to work 6:29 into the final period when he netted his second game-winner in as many nights and he was once again assisted by Charest and Gaffney. Boby is now tied with Hertz for the team-lead with three game-winning goals this season. The two-point night was a season-high for Charest.
Gaffney wrapped up the scoring when he registered an empty-netter with 25 seconds left on the game clock. Hertz notched his team-best 13th assist on the game's final goal.
The Pioneers have now defeated Neumann in four straight meetings dating back to last season, outscoring the Knights 19-7 in the stretch.
Utica senior goalie Nick Therrien (Rochester, NH/NY Apple Core (EJHL)) picked up his third straight victory and improved to 10-3-2 overall on the season. Therrien secured his second straight season with 10+ victories and he now has 43 wins over the course of the last four years. Therrien is now just four wins shy of tying UC alum Adam Dekker '08 for the most wins in school-history. Dekker finished his storied career with a record of 47-30-13.
Neumann goalie Braely Torris stopped 45 shots in the loss and his record moved to 2-6-3 overall on the year. Neumann is now winless in its last seven games and the Knights record dropped to 7-10-4 overall on the year.