Jeffs' Comeback Falls Short at Utica, 4-3
Courtesy of Utica Sports Information
UTICA, N.Y. – The No. 10 Utica College men's hockey team netted four second-period goals and fended off a fierce comeback by No. 8 Amherst College en route to a 4-3 victory over the Lord Jeffs at the Utica Memorial Auditorium Saturday night. The Pioneers (6-2) handed the Jeffs (3-1-1) their first loss of the year, defeating Amherst for the third consecutive time dating back to 2010.
Utica's Rob Morton netted two goals, including the first of the game and the eventual game-winner with less than four minutes to go in the second period. After the Pioneers raced to a 3-0 advantage, Amherst scored three of the game’s final four goals with Andrew Kurlandski ’14 tallying before Morton’s second of the night. Mike Rowbotham ’15 netted the final tally of a busy second period and Johnny Van Siclen ’13 brought the Jeffs within one late in the third, but Utica held on for the dramatic win.
After a scoreless first period of play, the Pioneers exploded for three goals in less than six minutes to take a commanding 3-0 lead. Morton got UC started 2:13 into the second stanza, before Louis Educate punched in his team-best eighth goal of the year at 6:58 to give UC a 2-0 lead. Educate's goal was a major turn of events, as UC defender Josh Schmitt bailed goalie Nick Therrien by blocking an open net shot from Amherst, and Schmitt collected the puck only to find a streaking Educate on the other end of the ice. Educate beat Jeff goalie Nathan Corey ’13 to give Utica the two-goal advantage.
Just over one minute later, Peter LaFosse netted his first goal of the year to give the Pioneers a 3-0 advantage. LaFosse's goal came after Corey accidentally knocked the net off just slightly and expected the play to be blown off, but the officials let the goal stand and UC found itself with a three-goal advantage.
Amherst would not go down without a fight, with Kurlandski netting the Jeffs’ first goal of the evening just 1:48 later to cut UC's lead to 3-1.
All told, the second period featured six of the game's seven goals, as Utica and Amherst each added one more tally before the period came to a close. Morton punched in his second of the night and Rowbotham netted his third of the year with 2:15 left in the stanza to make the score 4-2 headed into the third.
Van Siclen scored with 4:02 left in regulation to make it a 4-3 game and the Jeffs pulled Corey with 1:07 remaining but could not manage the equalizer as the Pioneers skated away with the one-goal victory.
Therrien stopped 29 shots in net for the Pioneers and improved to 5-1 on the year as Amherst earned a 32-29 shot advantage on the evening. Corey made 25 saves in net for the visitors. Both teams went 0-for-3 on the power-play. Mike Moher ’13 finished the night with two assists for the Jeffs.
Amherst continues its seven-game road trip on Friday, Nov. 30 when it travels to Wesleyan for a NESCAC contest at 7 p.m.