Utica Holds on to Edge Cazenovia in Season Opener

Utica, N.Y. (3/09/2011) Utica jumped out to an 8-3 lead in the first half and held on for an 11-9 victory over visiting Cazenovia in the season-opener for both squads on a windy and frigid afternoon at Charles A. Gaetano Stadium. Cazenovia (0-1) outscored UC 6-3 in the final 30 minutes, but the Pioneers were able to muster two keys goals down the stretch to preserve the victory.

The season-opening win marks the first for UC (1-0) since Head Coach Mike Parnell's inaugural season back in 2006 when the Pioneers' defeated Babson 13-10 at Gaetano Stadium. UC is now 6-0 all-time against Cazenovia and the Pioneers have outscored the Wildcats 93-20 in that span.

Junior midfielder Oliver Barney netted a team-high three goals and went 18 of 21 on face-off opportunities to pace the Pioneers. Sophomore Ben Winkler scored a team-high four points on one goal and one assist, while senior Michael Schepis, freshman Scott Baron and sophomore Justin Edlestein each tallied three points for Utica.

Jevon Pakkala totaled a team-high three goals for the visitors and Taylor Hastrich added four points (one goal, three assists) as well. Cory Tilton netted two goals and added two assists for Cazenovia.

The contest opened up with a 1-1 tie in the first five minutes of the contest before the Pioneers went on a

seven goal tear in a span of 16:31 to take a commanding 8-1 lead with 5:03 to go in the first half of play. Five different Pioneers scored in that span (Joe Schoen, Winkler, TJ Benson, Schepis, Edelstein and Barney (twice)).

Cazenovia answered with two consecutive goals in the final 3:40 of the second quarter to cut the Pioneers' lead to 8-3 at the half.

The Wildcats went on to score the first four goals of the second half, including three straight man-up goals, to cut the UC lead to 8-7 with 3:04 to go in the third quarter. Utica's Scott Baron netted a key goal right before the end of the third quarter to snap the Wildcats' six goal scoring streak. Baron's first collegiate goal, which was assisted by freshman Joe Schoen, gave Utica a two goal advantage, 9-7, headed into the final 15 minutes of play.

Each team netted two goals in the fourth quarter as the Pioneers were able to preserve the two goal victory.

Junior goalie Wilson Mukrdechian made eight saves in between the pipes for UC. Cazenovia junior goalie Alex Iannicello stopped 14 shots in his first loss of the year.

Utica outshot the visitors 39-26 and earned a 33-19 ground ball advantage on the afternoon. Cazenovia took advantage of seven Utica penalties by scoring four goals during man-up opportunities. A key to Utica's success was its effectiveness on the face-off, as the Pioneers lost just one face-off in the second half, and went 20 of 24 on the afternoon.

Junior captain Mick Krajacic caused a game-high six turnovers and scooped up three ground balls on the defensive end, while freshman Dan Duffy added five caused turnovers and picked up two ground balls. Barney led the way for UC with eight ground balls, while senior captain Kevin Conway totaled five. Senior defender Matthew Crouse chipped in with four ground balls and three caused turnovers.

Brad Gibson paced the Cazenovia defense with six ground balls and four caused turnovers.

UC returns to action on Monday when it hosts SUNY Potsdam for a non conference contest at 4:00 p.m. Cazenovia will remain on the road Tuesday when it travels to Potsdam for a non conference game, also scheduled to begin at 4:00 p.m.


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