Men’s hockey team is back in the UCHC Championship


Francis Tavino

The Men’s Hockey team on the ice during their game on Feb. 3, 2023.

Jacob Pian, Contributing Writer

Yes, Utica’s Men’s Hockey, the no. 1 ranked Division 3 team in the country, is heading back to the UCHC championship for the second straight season.

After a commanding 11-0 win over Manhattanville College on Feb. 25 in the semifinal round, the Pioneers are looking for yet another UCHC championship.

Not only is this the second straight season that the Pioneers are headed to the big game, it’s their fifth appearance in the last six seasons.

The win against the no. 4 ranked Manhattanville Valiants has extended the all-time program unbeaten record to 25 straight games and has also extended its winning streak to 17 games.

This game was one sided from the start. Utica outshot Manhattanville by a whopping 71 to 18. The Pioneers also won the faceoff battle 50 to 25.

Forward Lucas Herrmann led the way for the Pioneers with four goals marking his second hat trick of the season. Forwards Shane Murphy and Buster Larsson each added two  goals of their own. Defense Jayson Dobay finished with three assists and Forward Regen Cavanagh finished with two goals and one assist. Five other Pioneers racked up two  assists as well.

Goalie Bryan Landsberger closed the door for the Pioneers, capturing 12 saves through the first two periods and freshman goalie Avery Sturtz kept it closed in the third period with 6 saves of his own. This led to the combined shutout for the two netminders.

Not only was the offense buzzing in this one, but the defense also held the strong Valiants team to 0 goals. This marked the fourth shutout of the season for the Pioneers.

The way the team played in this game demonstrated the way they have played every game throughout the season. This team came into the season with high hopes and they were projected to be high ranked and go far in their conference.

Starting the season with two losses to a strong Adrian College team, which was ranked no. 1 at the time, was humbling.

Since starting the season 0-2, the Pioneers have gotten a point in 25 straight games, winning 24 of them. Their only tie came against Trine University, which they ended up winning in a shootout.

Utica is still ranked no. 1 because of the 20-0 conference record the team achieved.

Landsberger, a sophomore who helped lead the team to the championship, said heading to the championship game feels great.

“We’ve been working really hard to be here,” he said. “We deserve to play in this game and we are going to show everyone on Saturday why.”

Forward Remy Parker, a senior, leads the team with 23 goals and credits the Utica fans who fill the Adirondack Bank Center with helping them have a successful season.

“The team is feeling very good,” Parker said. “Everyone is having fun which is a big reason for our success. Playing in front of the best fans in college hockey certainly helps.”

Utica will host no. 2 ranked Nazareth College for the UCHC championship game on Saturday, March 4 at 7 p.m. at the Adirondack Bank Center in Utica. The Pioneers will look to advance to the NCAA tournament.