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The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

Until Next Year: Women’s Hockey Season Ends After Loss to Nazareth in UCHC Championship Game

Photo courtesy YSM Media.
Photo courtesy YSM Media.

Utica University’s No. 11 women’s hockey team was defeated 2-1 by top-seeded and nationally ranked No. 13 Nazareth University in the UCHC Championship game on Saturday, March 2.

The only goal for the team was scored by senior Hailey Modlin, with an assist from Carolyn Whitney. Angela Hawthorne made 22 saves.

The Golden Flyers scored two goals on the power play, one in the first and the other in the third to steal yet another one from the Pioneers.

 On their lone power play, the Pioneers were 0 for 1. Utica had a 33–24 overall lead in shots on goal, while Nazarath won 23–16 of the faceoffs. 

Both teams had a few good scoring opportunities in the opening period of play, but Nazareth’s goalie and Hawthorne made strong saves to keep the score tied at zero. 

But the team that would discover the back of the net first would be the Golden Flyers. They netted one goal past Hawthone late in a power play to take a 1-0 lead. 

The Golden Flyers finally gave in when Utica persisted in mounting pressure in the second. After Modlin evened the score with her team-leading 18th goal of the season with the help of Whitney. Hawthorne once again stopped every shot she faced to send the game into overtime tied at one goal. Both teams would end the second with scoring opportunities. 

For the rest of the game, Utica managed to get off 17 shots from that point on. The Pioneers themselves were unable to even equalize the score, even though Hawthorne stopped each of Nazareth’s next four shots on goal to keep the team within one. Whitney, Autumn Mish and Madison Novotny all had shots blocked as the Golden Flyers held off the Pioneers to win the UCHC Championship, even with an extra attacker in the final minutes.

“Though it stung, it’ll only make our team stronger,” Hawthorne said.

Hawthorne, the two-time UCHC Goaltender of the Year, stood strong in the goal with 22 saves on the night, but the Pioneers were unable to withstand the shots from the opponent that resulted in winning goals in a high-level championship game.

“The season was very fun from starting off the year winning our home kick off tournament to making it to the UCHC championship game, we had a very successful season we should be proud of,” Novotny said. 

In a head-to-head puck battle for supremacy in the UCHC, neither team was ready to give up. But No. 13 Nazareth University came out on top making it to their third consecutive NCAA Tournament and guaranteeing an automatic spot in the tournament. The Utica team will monitor the selection program in the hopes of earning an at-large berth. 

“The memories we make will stick with us more than our record,” Novotny said. “The expectation for next year is that we will win, we can’t accept anything short of that.” 

The Utica University women’s hockey team improved to No. 11 in last week’s US College Hockey Online Women’s Top 15. The Pioneers received 86 points  to move up three spots from its previous No. 14 ranking. Utica won its first pair of postseason games with a 5-0 win over Chatham University in the UCHC Quarterfinals and a 5-1 win over Manhattanville College in the UCHC Semifinals to head to its second straight title game.

Ranked 14th overall, six players were selected for the All-UCHC teams. 

Modlin led Utica’s offense with a team-high 17 goals, which was third best in the nation. She was named to the All-UCHC Second Team.

Novotny was named to the All-UCHC First Team. She was a vital component of the Utica defense, which finished second in the UCHC and seventh in the country this season with just 27 goals allowed. Her career-high 19 points came from four goals and fifteen assists. 

Novotny added: “I’ll be back next year, I can’t walk away from unfinished business.”

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