The Utica College Men's Hockey team won a crucial conference game on Saturday night, beating ECAC Conference leading Elmira, 3-2 and splitting the weekend series in Elmira.

UC, now 6-3-1 in the ECAC West, picks up two crucial points in the conference standings to move into a tie with Hobart for second in the league, just one point behind the Soaring Eagles.

Both teams played an even first period, but it was Utica that got on the board first as Louie Educate (Chicago, IL/Aberdeen (NAHL)) put one home at 17:34 of the period. Senior Steve Zappia (Buffalo, NY/Buffalo Jr. Sabres (OJAHL)) assisted on Educate's fifth of the year. Despite having six power plays in the opening period, Elmira could not solve Nick Therrien (Rochester, NH/NY Apple Core (EJHL)) and the Pioneers took a 1-0 lead into the locker room after the first 20 minutes.

UC extended its lead at 5:57 of the second as senior Ridge Garbutt (Toronto, Ontario/Brewster Academy (NH)) netted his seventh of the year, assisted by Educate and Trever Hertz (Jaffray, British Columbia/Quesnel Millionaires (BCHL)). The Soaring Eagles cut the lead in half with 2:24 left to play as Max Balaban scored on assists from Dylan Herold and Eric David.

Elmira evened the score just 2:11 into the third as Jesper Strale netted his eighth of the year, off a dish from Brian Depp. The score remained deadlocked until Trever Hertz (Jaffray, British Columbia/Quesnel Millionaires (BCHL)) scored on the power play to give UC the 3-2 victory. Hertz's unassisted score was his seventh tally and third game-winner of the year.

Therrien had 31 saves in net for his eighth win of the year, while Sal Magliocco and Ryan deMelo combined for 52 in the loss. The Pioneers improve to 11-5-4, while the Soaring eagles drop to 12-8 on the year.

All five of Utica's remaining games are conference contests, and will be played in Utica. The Pioneers open their final home stand next weekend as they host rival Neumann University. Game time is set for 7 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday.