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

Recap: Men’s hockey falls to Hobart in NCAA Semifinals

Photo courtesy of YSM Media

In their first NCAA Division III Frozen Four since 2012–13, the No. 2 men’s hockey team’s spectacular season came to an end on March 21 as they fell short 3–1 against top-ranked Hobart College.

“No one expected us to win UCHC or even make it to the NCAA Frozen Four,” freshman Eric Vitale said. “We got to beat the odds and it showed a testament to our hard work all year.” 

The only goal for the Pioneers was scored by sophomore Michael Herrera, with assists from Kimball Johnson and Drake Morse.

In net the entire game, sophomore Ethan Roberts made 24 saves on 27 shots for a .923 save percentage. 

Within the first 52 seconds of the game, Hobart had already taken a 1-0 lead. After a missed shot, the Statesman fired a shot from the point through traffic and managed to put it beyond Roberts’ grasp into the net.

For the next few minutes, the Pioneers fired many shots, but Hobart was standing strong. Utica, nevertheless fought back.

Before the game came to the second quarter, the Statesmen struck again, gradually increasing their lead, leaving the Pioneers behind by two scores. 

In the final three minutes of the period, graduate students Khristian Acosta and Dante Spagnuolo took their last shots for Utica. Johnson, Andrew Della Rovere and Brian Scoville also took their chances, but none of the shots made it past Hobart’s defense. 

As the final period quickly approached, Utica remained two points down. However, when all hope seemed lost, Utica found their will to fight. With assists from Morse and Johnson, the Pioneers were able to reduce their disadvantage as Herrera managed to score from long range after spotting a loose puck and blasting it past the Statesmen making the score 2-1. 

With eight shots on goal in the last 20 minutes, Utica was not going down without a fight. The game went into the last two minutes with the Pioneers behind by just one goal. 

In an effort to take advantage of the offensive pressure and add an extra attacker, Utica opted to pull Roberts from the goal with just over two minutes remaining. 

Hobart sealed their victory as they managed to get the puck out of the Utica zone, resulting in an empty netter that ended the game with a 3-1 score. 

With an additional attacker, Utica went 0-for-3 while Hobart went 0-for-2 with the man advantage. 

Hobart had a 27–23 advantage in shots on goal by the end of the game. 

Despite a heartbreaking loss for the pioneers, head coach Gary Heenan said he is proud of his team. 

“What was meant to be a rebuilding here became our best season in program history,” Heenan said. “We have a lot to be proud of.”

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