Jim McLaughlin, Sports Editor
The Utica College men’s hockey team came away winless this past weekend after facing off with Elmira College for a two-game ECAC West series.
Although the Pioneers came off a big weekend where they beat Manhattanville College, it did not mean anything would be handed to them. The first period of the game ended in a scoreless tie, but UC found its opportunities in the second period.
Sophomore Dalton Carter scored the first goal of the game for his third of the season. The goal came off a power-play opportunity, and senior Joel Wetmore and junior Easton Powers assisted on the play. However, Elmira didn’t go away quietly, as they scored to tie the game up 1-1 just 14 second after the Pioneers’ goal.
With less than a minute left in the second period, it looked like the two teams would begin the third period tied. But sophomore Adam Moody took another power-play opportunity for the Pioneers and used it to his advantage, giving UC a one-goal lead.
Even though UC had the lead heading into the third period, the objective was to think of it as a 0-0 game.
“Going into the last intermission after leading by one goal, the team’s mindset was that we have to keep going and play like it was 0-0,” Carter said. “The next goal would be huge and we knew that.”
There were under five minutes left in regulation and the Pioneers still had the one-goal lead against Elmira. UC committed a penalty that gave the Soaring Eagles a 5-on-4 advantage. The advantage turned out to be enough for Elmira to tie the game off the stick of Greg Whittle, which sent the game into overtime.
Neither team came away with a goal in the extra five minutes of the contest and it ended in a 2-2 tie.
The following day gave the Pioneers one more chance to come away with a win before heading home. UC came out firing as they scored the first goal in the first period off the stick of freshman Shawn Lynch from the passes of senior Nick Miglio and junior Trent Samuels-Thomas.
The lone goal proved not to be enough as the Soaring Eagles responded in the second period to tie the game back up at one. Samuel-Thomas regained the lead for the Pioneers with less than ten minutes to go in the second period.
The Soaring Eagles were again down by one goal in the third period, and again they were able to find the back of the net. Carter Shinkaruk scored with less than four minutes left in regulation to force the game into overtime again. In overtime, Elmira scored the game-winning goal over UC to win 3-2.
Despite the loss, UC thought they played well over the weekend.
“I think the team played very well over the weekend,” Carter said. “We showed a ton of hard work and determination. We honestly dominated the first game, but we couldn’t find the score sheet.”
The Pioneers will host ECAC West opponent Nazareth College at the Utica Memorial Auditorium on Friday night at 7 p.m. The loss to Elmira backed UC in a corner, but with the help of the home crowd, the team is confident in its chances.
“We certainly need to get a win this Friday night to put us in a solid situation going into the postseason,” Carter said. “Having the last game of the season at home is an advantage for sure. It’s the Aud, we love playing there.”