Saturday, October 23, 2010


UTICA, N.Y. - The Utica College men's hockey team netted the game's final three goals en route to a hard fought, 3-1, season-opening victory over Brockport State in front of 3,805 fans at the Utica Memorial Auditorium Friday night. Sophomore forward Evan Chlanda netted one goal and added one assist for the Pioneers, while senior captain Tim Coffman also tallied his first goal of the year.

"This was a big win for us in front of a great crowd on opening night. When we needed an answer - we got one from our captain - and our guys really turned it up in the final 25 minutes," said tenth year Head Coach Gary Heenan. "We came out a little sluggish in the first period and their goalie was lights out for the first 35 minutes of the game."

The visitors came out of the gates hot with a power-play goal, 11 minutes into the contest, from the stick of junior forward James Cody which gave the Golden Eagles a 1-0 lead. Brockport junior goalie Oliver Wren made several sprawling saves in the first period to thwart all 13 of the Pioneers attempts on goal as the Golden Eagles took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.

Coffman got the anxious crowd on its feet with just over one minute to go in the second period, on the power-play, when he rebounded his 37th career goal into the top right corner past the outstretched reach of Wren as the Pioneers' knotted the contest at 1-1. Chlanda and Clinton's Jordan Hobaica were each credited with an assist on the Pioneers' first goal of the season.

"Coffman was in the right place at the right time on that one. We had a shot on net that went off the post and Coffman was crashing the net for the rebound," says Heenan. "We needed that power-play goal to pick us up a little bit."

Chlanda went on to net the game-winner just 5:07 into the third period. Freshman forward Ridge Garbutt centered a pass that was collected by Chlanda, who threw a low shot on net, and the puck slipped between the legs of Wren to put UC on top 2-1. Freshman Adam Graff also earned an assist on Chlanda’s second point of the night.

The Pioneers added an empty net insurance goal with one minute to go to seal the victory. Freshman Jon Gaffney wristed his first collegiate goal from the blue line to close out the scoring on the evening with the Pioneers ahead 3-1.

"We got solid play from both of our goalies tonight and the guys are who are supposed to score - scored," said Heenan.

UC's freshmen goalies Nick Therrien and Evan Smith split the game right down the middle in net, just as Coach Heenan had planned to do, and they combined for 33 saves. Therrien stopped 22 shots, but gave up one goal, while Smith made 11 saves in preserving the victory. Wren made 34 saves in the loss for Brockport.

“We worked some kinks out tonight and we came out on top,” says Heenan. “It wasn’t pretty at times but Brockport is a good team and we got to see how our young players would respond to adversity.”

UC returns to action next Friday night for its annual AmeriCU Pink the Rink event as the Pioneers host Franklin Peirce at 7 p.m. The Pioneers will dawn pink jersey’s, which are currently being auctioned off, in support of the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Foundation of Central New York.