Andhika Wardojo, Staff Writer
The Utica College men’s hockey team has started off strong winning their first three games of the season. The team won their home opener against Fredonia 7-3. The Pioneer’s seven goals came from seven different players with four of them coming in the final period.
The Pioneers managed to get their second victory at SUNY Cortland with a final score of 3-2. Senior Dalton Carter led the way with a goal and an assist.
The third win came after the team visited Nazareth College. UC held on to a 2-1 lead with freshman Brandon Young and junior Gregg Burmaster scoring goals in the game. Senior Roman Ammirato assisted on both goals and leads the team with four assists this season.
Prior to the start of the season, the hockey team played four exhibition games in France. The Pioneers went 3-1 against French teams and head coach Gary Heenan believed that the trip to France was a major factor for the team’s early success.
“We got a head start by playing in Europe as a group during the summer,” Heenan said. “I think it was a competitive advantage.”
The Pioneers also believe that their roster is capable to do great things this season. Many key players returned and the new players are contributing to the team. The players and coaches know what to expect out of each other and that bond is an advantage for the team.
“I think with the mature core that we were able to bring back, along with our new guys coming in, know what to demand and expect out of each other,” sophomore Devin Warfield said. “I think it allowed us to have an established identity heading into the season which some of our competition is still trying to figure out. While teams are figuring things out, we can continue to master our craft and grow as a group.”
The team is enjoying its three-game streak, but knows there are still plenty of games coming up. Coach Heenan is pleased with the current situation in the team, but he still saw some factors that the team can still improve on. Players also agree with him as the team still needs to work hard for further success.
“For us to continue having success, we must never feel satisfied,” junior Justin Derlago said. “We need to push each other and continue to improve every single day.”
The UC Pioneers will be back in action on Saturday at home against Elmira College.