Utica Storms Past SUNYIT in Season Opener

Utica, N.Y. (3/2/2012) Utica College outshot visiting SUNYIT by a 61-9 margin on its way to a convincing 18-1 victory in the 2012 season opener for the Pioneers at Charles A. Gaetano Stadium on Friday night.

Junior transfer Trent Thomas netted four goals and added two assists, while sophomore TJ Benson chipped in with four goals and one assist for the home squad. 14 different Pioneers tallied at least one point.

The Pioneers (1-0) won their second straight season-opener and they improved 5-0 all-time against the Wildcats. SUNYIT (0-1) is fielding a team for the first time since 2003. The last time these two teams met was back in 2003 and over the course of five meetings the Pioneers have outscored the Wildcats 103-14.

Utica jumped out to a 1-0 lead at the 12:54 ledger when Thomas scored his first NCAA Division III goal after an assist from sophomore Tyler Gardinier. The Pioneers went on to net three more first quarter goals in a span of less than two minutes to take a 4-0 lead after 15:00 minutes of action. Junior Justin Edelstein netted two consecutive goals, while David Craig wrapped up the scoring in the opening quarter with his first goal of the year off an assist from Thomas.

The Pioneers really poured it on in the second quarter, outscoring the visitors by a 7-0 margin. Benson netted two second quarter goals, while Edlestein added his third and final goal of the day. Thomas found the back of the net for the second time on the afternoon, while Chris Gibbs, Ben Winkler, and Zachary Menapace each tallied their first scores of the young season. UC held the visitors to zero shots in the second quarter and marched its way to an 11-0 lead at the half.

Thomas added two more goals, less than a minute apart to put UC up 13-0 early in the second half, before Craig registered his second goal of the day with just one second left on the third quarter clock.

The Pioneers were able to outscore the Wildcats 4-1 in the final 15 minutes to earn the convincing 17 goal victory. The win marked UC's largest margin of victory since a 21-1 thrashing of Mount St. Mary's at home on Mar. 24, 2010. Benson recorded two goals in the final stanza, while sophomore Steve Dowd and freshman Codey Staulters (first collegiate goal) each scored one goal to close out the scoring on the day.

SUNYIT's Kevin Gardrvits scored the only goal of the game for SUNYIT off an assist from Adam Reynolds. Andre Shattell made 18 saves in net for the Wildcats.

Senior goalie Joe Davis and sophomore Greg Monahan combined for four saves for the Pioneers. Senior Wilson Mukrdechian also saw action in between the pipes for Utica.

Freshman Zack Stevenson tallied three assists in his first collegiate game, while Greg Geiss and Joe Schoen each chipped in with two assist for Utica. Stevenson also added four ground balls. Senior captain Mick Krajacic recorded a game-high five turnovers and also scooped up five ground balls. Senior Oliver Barney won 8 of 10 faceoffs for UC.

Utica returns to the turf at home next Saturday when the Pioneers square off against Cazenovia College for a non conference contest at 1:00 p.m.


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