Utica College men's hockey will host the United Collegiate Hockey Conference Finals next weekend after rallying to finish of Nazareth on Sunday at the Adirondack Bank Center.

Following a 2-1 win in Game 1 on Saturday, the Pioneers fell behind 2-0 on Sunday. Gregg Burmaster got UC on the board before the end of the second period, and it was Daniel Fritz tied it at 2-all in the third. Utica, only needing a tie to advance under the UCHC's miniseries format, would close out the game in overtime as Fritz lit the lamp again, this time into an open goal.

UC Pioneers defeat Nazareth 3-2 (OT) fEB. 24, 2019 (Jeff Monaski, WIBX)
UC Pioneers defeat Nazareth 3-2 (OT) FEB. 24, 2019 (Jeff Monaski, WIBX)

An empty netter in OT? 

It sounds odd to say and to write: An empty net goal in overtime?

But, because the Pioneers won the series opener, they were in need of only a tie in Game 2 to win the series. Under the United Collegiate Hockey League's miniseries format, Nazareth needed a win order to force a 20-minute 'mini-game' which would have officially gone in the books as Game 3.

So with about two minutes remaining in overtime in a 2-2 game, the Golden Flyers were forced to pull their goalie in favor of an extra attacker on the ice. The Pioneers were able to clear the puck from their own zone and Fritz cued the eruption at the ADK Bank Center adding the empty netter.

Utica looks to hoist the conference crown as they host Manhattanville next Saturday night (7pm) and Sunday afternoon (2pm). The series will follow the same first-to-three-points miniseries format.

The series winner advances to the NCAA Tournament.

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