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

Unfinished Business: Women’s Hockey Advances to UCHC Championships

Photo courtesy of YSM Media
Photo courtesy of YSM Media

For the second consecutive year, the No. 14 women’s hockey team advances to the UCHC Championship Game after defeating Manhattanville College 5-1 on Saturday, Feb. 24. 

In goal, Angela Hawthorne was remarkable between the pipes, making 14 saves and giving up just one goal to secure the win. With amazing puck control, Utica outshot Manhattanville 30 to 15. 

The game had a quiet start before Utica took the lead thanks to Cortney Staniszewski’s shot, giving the Pioneers a 1-0 advantage. Next began a strong period for the Pioneers when Erica Sloan, the program’s top scorer, scored to extend Utica’s lead to 2-0. Soon after Tessa Barrett blasted one past the goalie as the Pioneers continued to shoot, increasing the lead to 3-0. Utica had a 3-0 lead going into the last period thanks to their defensive play, which saw them allow only two shots on goal.

In the third, the Valiants scored, making the game 3-1. Nevertheless Abby Lillis scored to take advantage of the power play, and Utica rallied to reclaim a three-goal lead, then Carolyn Whitney scored giving Utica a 5-1 victory in the UCHC Semifinal. 

“We wanted to send out a statement to the people that doubt us as a team…and we did just that,” Barret said. “Now it’s time to take down Nazareth.”

The Pioneers have been competitive this season. Together, these women from one province and 12 states have created a unique dynamic. They have proven to all pick up teamwork fast, developing a connection as though they had been playing together all of their lives.

“Our success comes from our passion for the sport and community as a team,” Barret said. “Every day, we push each other to be better hockey players and people. If we continue to play our game, we will come out on top, so that’s what we are going to do.”

Head Coach Dave Clausen said he is confident in his team’s ability and can’t wait to see how far they can go. 

“Our players have worked hard and we are prepared for this,” Clausen said. “We have an excellent goalie and defense, as well as a balanced offense with scoring coming from all our forwards.” 

One of the team’s main strategies is to not look too far ahead as they aim to bring strong momentum into the championship game. 

“Of course, we’re going to predict a win on Saturday, but saying it’s going to happen means nothing,” Abigail Lillis said. ”It comes down to getting out on the ice and putting in the work and effort to get it done. I just know we cannot wait to put everything out there on the line for the title.”

The Pioneers will take on their next battle for the UCHC Championship title on Saturday, March 2 at 3 p.m. where they travel to Rochester  to take on top-seeded and nationally ranked No. 13 Nazareth University. 

“We will not go down without a fight,” Sloan said. “We aren’t done, and we cannot wait to bring home the first ever UCHC Championship trophy in Utica Women’s Hockey program history back to the Nexus Center.”

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