Anthony Cittadino, Staff Writer
The Utica College women’s hockey team faced off against ECAC West Conference rival Neumann University twice this past weekend in the Fourth Annual Gold-Ribbon game for childhood cancer awareness. The Pioneers swept the weekend.
The gold ribbon event was a huge hit this year, raising a record $4,007 for cancer awareness. All proceeds from this event will be donated to 15-year-old John Gallardo and his family of Rome, New York. Gallardo received a successful bone marrow transplant in the spring of 2015 and is now in remission.
In Friday’s matchup, the Pioneers handled the entire game, beating Neumann 5-1. Nationally ranked goalie Kiera Goin had another spectacular night, stopping 27 shots and allowing just one goal late in the contest.
The scoring started with senior Morgan Reed, who scored her 15th goal of the season in the first period. She was assisted by juniors Jane Pagano and Gabrielle Schnepp. Schnepp ended the night with two assists and felt great after the win.
“The overall team performance was great this weekend,” she said. “A lot of players contributed to the goal scoring this weekend which helped a lot. It feels amazing to raise that much money for the family from Rome that is in need. It also is cool that we got to raise awareness about childhood cancer.”
The first period ended with a wrist shot from freshman Elizabeth Dohner to put the Pioneers up 2-0.
Early into the second period, junior Victoria Pelton netted her first goal of the season with the assist from Emily Coope and Veronique Lortie.
Pelton was pleased with the way her team played this weekend.
“We have been working very hard all season,” she said. “We came into the season working hard with our preseason workouts. It is nice to see all of our hard work paying off. We need to keep the pace up and keep pushing ourselves and each other to be able to finish strong.”
She also feels confident about where the team stands now in the conference.
“It’s great that we have been able to do so well this season. We just can’t really take the time to think about that yet,” she said. “We need to stay focused, keep working hard on and off the ice, and stay focused on the little things to help us to capitalize on winning games.”
Pelton was truly pleased with the victory but even more excited with the result of the record setting fundraiser.
“To be able to help a local family and know that our gold ribbon game has been able to since we started it is a great accomplishment,” she said. “We have been able to keep raising the bar every year setting new records since I was a freshman. This is an unbelievable feeling, and can’t wait to try to raise even more next year.”
With a 3-0 lead late in the second, Paterson added an insurance goal for her seventh of the year. The Pioneer scoring ended with sophomore Carlie Smith lifting UC to 5-0 lead.
The following night both teams faced off again. The Pioneers once again beat the Knights 4-1. Reed tacked on the first goal of the game in the first period and led the team with three points throughout this matchup.
Neumann tied the score at one later in the first, but 14 seconds later Smith scored her second goal in two nights to go up 2-1. During the second period, there was one Pioneer goal from Schnepp for her third point in two nights.
Schnepp knew it was a very important result for the team.
“It feels good to sweep two weekends in a row,” she said. “It helps us get to where we want to be ranked in the league. Hopefully we can carry that in to the next weekend with two more league games.”
The Pioneers improve to 9-2-1 in the league as they gear up for their next challenge against Chatham University.