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Utica Men’s Hockey Wins 20th Game in Quest For ECAC Title

It took two goals in the third period on Friday night for the Utica College Men’s Hockey Team to move one step closer to an ECAC Conference title for the first time since 2005.  The Pioneers were tied with Manhattanville 1-1 going into the third period when Utica’s Sophomore Louie Educate scored his 17th goal of the season at 5:23. Junior Jon Gaffney would score what proved to be the game-winner with 3:42 left in the game.

Manhattanville   scored one more time with 2:15 left in the game and Utica goalie Nick Therrien would hold off an intense Valient drive, stopping a total of 30 shots over the course of the final two periods to secure the Pioneer victory.  Therrien’s work in the net down the stretch earned him ‘first star’ honors in the contest, and his 18 wins in net this year leads all of division III hockey.

“We’ve done a great job of taking it one game at a time this year and I think tonight was another good example of that.  Now we can concentrate on coming away with the same type of result tomorrow,” said Utica Head Coach Gary Heenan, who won the 164th game of his career as the only coach in program-history. “One of the goals we set at the beginning of the year was to win the regular season series against each ECAC West opponent and we are happy to have accomplished that goal.”

The Pioneers will take on the Valiants in their final regular season game on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. Utica has secured an ECAC West Conference Tournament home playoff game and the Pioneers will host either Neumann, Manhattanville, or Elmira on Saturday, Feb. 23rd at 7 p.m. at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.

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