The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

COMEBACK KIDS: Pioneers rally again to advance to conference finals


Jim McLaughlin, Sports Editor

The Utica College men’s hockey team advanced to the ECAC West Championship after a come-from-behind 4-3 overtime victory over Manhattanville College last Saturday.

The Pioneers traveled to Rye, N.Y. to face off against the Valiants in a semifinal battle. Manhattanville used its home rink to its advantage as the Valiants scored two goals early in the game. UC finished the first period down by two goals, but the Pioneers didn’t let it get to them.

“We have been in the position before already this season,” head coach Gary Heenan said. “We continued to be resilient throughout the game and we kept believing that the game plan would work.”

Junior Trent Samuels-Thomas and freshman Zach Borsoi fed senior leader Nick Miglio the puck to cut the lead down to one. The goal from Miglio made it his second goal of this postseason so far. The Valiants didn’t let the Pioneers get too comfortable with one goal as they scored their third goal of the game; UC went into the locker-room trailing 3-1 before the start of the third period.

Samuels-Thomas started the comeback for the Pioneers as he found the back of the net two minutes into the third period. UC continued to battle throughout the third period taking shot after shot to tie the game before regulation ended. Sophomore Anthony McVeigh proved to be the hero for the team as he tied the game up 3-3 with 5:39 left on the clock.

McVeigh’s goal forced the game into overtime for the second time against the Valiants this season. The Pioneers won the last overtime game and this one proved to be no different. Sophomore Dalton Carter cleared the puck out of the UC zone, which landed in McVeigh’s stick for the 4-3 game-winning goal.

McVeigh has really been on a tear lately this season as he has five points in the last three games (he has three goals and two assists). His performance against Manhattanville earned him on the Division III national hockey team of the week.

“He’s a kid that has tremendous work ethic, he’s humble, and he’s playing all the hard situations this season,” Heenan said. “He is our best faceoff guy. He is now playing the power-play for us and is emerging to be a key component in the postseason so far.”

The men’s team has played well as of late and it looks like the pieces are finally coming together. In the last three games, the Pioneers have averaged 4.6 goals per game.

“We played well [Saturday] and we deserved to win,” Heenan said. “We proved to be the better team and we were able to carry the play throughout the game.”

The Pioneers will face the No. 1 seeded and nationally ranked No. 5 Hobart Statesmen on Saturday night. UC has faced off against Hobart three times this season and lost all three. Despite the history between the two teams, the Pioneers are confident they will make it a battle. The game is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. in Geneva, N.Y.

“We look to try some different things, but we look to game prep and be physically ready,” Heenan said. “If we do that, it will help us stay the path and win.”

Featured Image; UC Advances to championship with win over Manhattanville. Photo from Jeff Pexton 


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