Pioneers Skate to Radisson Thanksgiving Title

Corey Giacovelli
Staff Writer

The Utica College men’s hockey team went 2-0 this weekend to win the first annual Radisson Thanksgiving Showcase at the Utica Memorial Auditorium last weekend.
The action started on Friday where the Pioneers were set to take on Saint John’s University. The matchup looked favorable for the Pioneers since the Johnnies were coming into the game with a 2-4-2 overall record, but it is hockey after all, where anything can happen.

The Pioneers brought home the trophy from the inaugural Radisson Thanksgiving Showcase. UC took down St. Thomas 1-0 in the final to secure the title. Photo by Jeff Pexton.

Senior Joel Wetmore started the scoring for the team as he took a pass from the left circle to score his second goal of the season to give UC the 1-0 lead in the beginning of the game. The assists were credited to freshman Zach Borsoi and sophomore Adam Moody.
Then the scoring continued as the Pioneers were able to get the lead up to 4-0 by the end of the second period. The other benefactors on the scoring sheet were Senior Nick Miglio, freshman Hayden Dawes and classmate Alex Roberts.
Freshman goalie Michael Fredrick continued his dominant play in his first season with the team, totaling 30 saves, including a very impressive diving save with his glove.
Saint John’s did get two goals in the final period by way of Neal Smith and Sean Lang, but that was it, as they could not get any more past the dominant Fredrick.
The win against Saint John’s led the Pioneers into a faceoff against St. Thomas after its 3-2 victory over Oswego State on Friday night. With only having 24 hours to prepare for UC’s next opponent, head coach Gary Heenan made sure the guys were focused on the current game before looking ahead to the next.
“We focused solely on Saint John’s until that game was over, St Thomas was a big, strong mature team that physically took it to us,” Heenan said. “I’m very proud of how our team competed and played well defensively.”
The defense did not disappoint as the team pulled off another victory, coming way of a 1-0 shutout. Fredrick once again came up big for the Pioneers as he stopped 28 shots between the pipes to earn All-Tournament team honors as well as his first collegiate shut out. The goalie was extremely pleased with how the team came together.
“I thought that this was in a way a breakthrough weekend for our team. We were able to rebound from three straight losses over two strong opponents and in my opinion reestablished ourselves as a dominant team in Division III hockey,” Fredrick said. “Our play this weekend was great as we focused more on playing to our level and style of game. We played a full 60 minute game each night, won board battles, hit the sweet spot, and made big plays when necessary while cutting out the mistakes that have been costing us games in the past.”
The hero on the offensive end was Roberts, who earned tournament MVP thanks to his goal Friday and then the lone goal in Saturday’s matchup. It was only eight minutes into the contest when Roberts was able to find the back of the net off assists from sophomores Anthony McVeigh and Mikhail Bushinski.
UC went 1-for-6 on the power-play and held St. Thomas to an 0-for-3 effort, including a key 5-on-3 opportunity for the Tommies early in the contest. St. Thomas also outshot the Pioneers 28-21 on the afternoon.
The All-Tournament team consisted of Wetmore, freshman Zach Borsoi , and Fredrick, while Roberts earned the showcase’s most valuable player honors after totaling two goals and one assist on the weekend. Fredrick finished the weekend with 58 saves in two victories between the pipes for UC.
The Pioneers return to action on the road Friday when they travel to Castleton University to take on the Spartans at 7 p.m. in Castleton, Vermont. UC defeated Castleton 5-2 on October 30 in its home opener at the Aud this season.