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

Opponent preview: What to know about the 19th annual Teddy Bear Toss

The Pioneers are 7-0 in Teddy Bear Toss games since losing to Trinity College during the 2014-15 season. // The Tangerine photo file

After beating Oswego State 4-0 last season  — it’s that time of year again. The Utica University men’s hockey team will play in their 19th annual New York Sash Teddy Bear Toss game set to take place this Friday at the Adirondack Bank Center. With this year’s opponents being an unfamiliar challenge for the Pioneers, here’s what you need to know about Stonehill College (0-14, 0-5 Northeast Athletic Conference):  

Winless stretch 

Stonehill, in its inaugural season as a Division I hockey program, will come to Utica aiming to capture their first win of the season. Coming off 14 straight losses, the Skyhawks leaped up to DI after spending the last two decades in Division II’s only hockey conference, The Northeast-10. 

Though unable to find wins this season, the matchup will still be a test for the Pioneers as the Skyhawks enter the matchup with a schedule featuring the likes of Northeastern University (Hockey East), Arizona State (National Collegiate Hockey Conference) and no.13 Providence College (Hockey East), all at the DI level. But Utica isn’t the first Division III matchup for Stonehill this season. On Nov. 18 the Skyhawks faced off against Anna Maria College but lost 4-2. 

The matchup is certainly a winnable game for the Pioneers against a team that has advanced in the direction the Utica program is eagerly trying to pursue.  

Inside Utica

There’s a lot to talk about within this Utica team, especially heading into such an anticipated matchup. The Pioneers (6-1-3, 5-0-1 United Collegiate Hockey Conference) are where they need to be to start the season. Though coming off a 5-2 loss to Elmira College on Nov. 25 — in the championship game of their home tournament — they have outscored their opponents 31-10 over the past seven games. And the goaltending efforts of Ethan Roberts have been legit. The University of St. Thomas transfer has posted a 1.76 GAA and a .935 SV% over nine games. He is without a doubt a goaltender capable of guarding the crease against DI opponents. 

On the offensive side, Jakob Berault has picked up right where he left off from last season with five goals and six assists through 10 games. Freshman Aiden Hughes and Graduate student Khristian Acosta through 10 games both find themselves with 10 points each. And freshmen Griffen Barr, a smart smooth skating defenseman has seemingly jumped into DIII play confidently and is a huge addition at the blue line for the Pioneers this season. 

Keeping the streak alive

The Pioneers are 7-0 in Teddy Bear Toss matchup since losing 1-0 to Trinity College during the 2014-15 season. So these two teams meeting for the first time brings in alot of excitement. Though both are heading into the game with something to prove, for Utica it’s simple: continue building in the right direction and prove you can play at the DI level. For Stonehill, it’s showing that you made the right jump at the right time. But without a win to account for this season and already one loss against a DIII opponent, a win against Utica could help them trend in that direction. 

The two teams will undoubtedly match up well against each other and equally have a chance to come away with a win. For the Pioneer, winning on Friday just reiterates how dangerous this team can be and will give this young side a confidence boost for later in the year when it comes time to make a title run.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Tangerine Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *