UC Women's Hockey Goes For Best-Ever Start at Hamilton Sunday
Raising the Bar: Utica goes hunting for a 9-0 start for the first time in program history on Sunday. This season marks just the second time that a Utica College team has gotten out to an 8-0 start, and the last time it happened was the team's first eight games of their existence in the 2001-02 season. That year, Utica defeated Neumann four times, and Cortland and Buffalo State each twice en route to an 8-0 start that lasted into the month of December. Utica outscored opponents 51-7 in that span from November 2nd, 2001 to December 2nd, 2001. This season, Utica has outscored its opposition 37-7 with wins over New England College, Becker, King's, Chatham, and Neumann. Setting the Standard: Utica's eight game unbeaten streak is tied for the longest active streak currently in the nation with Nazareth and St. Thomas. Of teams to have played a game, the Pioneers are also just one of nine squads nationally to presently be unbeaten and untied this year. The Fourth Time It's Happened: Utica will also be playing for its longest winning streak in school history as they carry the fourth eight game winning streak in school history. The 2001-02, 2013-14, and 2016-17 squads all had eight game win streaks, but none of them ever got a ninth consecutive win. Blast From The Past: After Sunday's game, the next head coach the Pioneers compete against will be the captain of the inaugural team that started 8-0. Original Pioneer Melissa Lomanto is the head coach at Morrisville State. Utica meets the Mustangs on Tuesday, November 27th. Last Time Out: Utica got caught in a pair of close road games against Neumann, but found a way to prevail each time as they swept the Knights by scores of 3-2 and 3-1 in United Collegiate Hockey Conference play. On Friday, the Pioneers scored twice and held a heavy 27-11 advantage in shots through two periods but the Knights power play struck twice to post a 2-2 tie through forty minutes. That tie was broken in the third as Elizabeth Dohner (Highlands Ranch, CO/Colorado Selects) netted a beautiful top shelf goal over the shoulder of Neumann netminder Helen Cooney, and that goal was the difference as Utica won 3-2. The Pioneers outshot Neumann on Friday 40-16. On Saturday, a 1-1 tie was broken by Utica with two goals in the third period as the Pioneers rolled on to the 3-1 win. Kyra Borsoi (Brossard, Quebec/Holderness), Colby Begis (Little Elm, TX/Dallas Stars), and Sirena Fitzery (Hamburg, NY/Buffalo Bisons) all scored their first goals of the season in the win, and Fitzery's was also the first of her career. Not So Fast: In Utica's eight games this season, the Pioneers have never once allowed more than two goals, and have won three games by way of shutout in a shutout streak that stretched for a span of 207 minutes and 41 seconds. Utica is tied for seventh in the nation in scoring defense where they allow just 0.88 goals per game. The Life of Reilly: Goaltender Bria Reilly (Hamden, CT/Brewster Academy) has been an important part of the team's unbeaten start, and she's reaping the rewards on the national scene. The junior from Hamden, Connecticut has started 6-0 with a goals against average of 0.83, a save percentage of 94.5 percent, and 2 shutouts in six starts. Reilly is 14th in the nation in save percentage, sixth in goals against average, first in win percentage, and tied for fourth in shutouts. Damage Done: Sophomore forward Lexi Stanisewski (Lawrence, MA/Boston Shamrocks) has had quite a scoring surge to begin her second season in blue and orange with a team high twelve points on four goals and eight assists. Her point and assist totals lead the team, and she needs just two more points to match her freshman year total of fourteen points. She is tied for 25th in the nation in points per game, and 14th in assists per game. Send In The Big Guns: The next two spots on Utica's current season scoring list are from upperclassmen in double digits for points. Becky Brown is tied for second on the team with ten points, and has scored a team-best six goals to go with four assists. Elizabeth Dohner (Highlands Ranch, CO/Colorado Selects) has four goals and six assists for the other ten point mark on the stat sheet. More Staying Power Than Glitter: Elizabeth Dohner (Highlands Ranch, CO/Colorado Selects) will skate in her 75th consecutive collegiate game on Sunday if she's in the lineup at Hamilton. She is Utica's active leader in career points with 58. From The Green Mountains: Utica is enjoying career seasons from players to come from the great state of Vermont. Forward Taylor Dion (Colchester, VT/Boston Shamrocks) of Colchester stands fourth on the squad with nine of the 22 total points she has posted in her career. Sophomore forward Ricki Haab (Stowe, VT/Stowe) of Stowe has also been terrific since stepping in from the Pioneers' Field Hockey roster with four goals and two assists. Defender Kayla Dion (Colchester, VT/Boston Shamrocks) of Colchester has been playing a considerable share of defensive minutes in her return to action and has four points offensively. They Grow Up So Fast: Six different members of Utica's freshman class already have at least one point each in the first eight games of the season. Forward Georgiana Santullo(Woburn, MA/Boston Shamrocks/Woburn High School) has been the most noticeable of the bunch, as she has four goals on five assists for a total of nine points. Her 1.12 points per game is tied for thirteenth among Division III freshmen. Caley Susitti (Hartland, WI/Milwaukee Jr. Admirals), Sirena Fitzery (Hamburg, NY/Buffalo Bisons), Shae Counts (Arvada, CO/Alaska Stars), Lindsey Winter (Minneapolis, MN/Armstrong Cooper), and Maddie Paydos (Simsbury, CT/Vermont Academy) all have at least one point each. Special Teams Statements: The Utica special teams have been a mixed bag so far this season. The most noted positive has been the team's penalty kill, which has been operating at a strong 89.5 percent and has allowed four goals on 38 chances. Utica's power play could do much to help Utica carry their strong start forward with improved play, as the Pioneers have been converting at just over twelve percent. After Two Periods: Utica has really been able to leverage its depth in the third period of games, where it has outscored opponents 14-1. About Hamilton: Hamilton is 2-1 and has won its last two games under head coach Emily McNamara. Hamilton defeated Morrisville by a 2-1 score on Tuesday, with Nancy Loh and Michaela Giuttari scoring the goals for the Buff and Blue. Giuttari's four points on two goals and two assists lead the team. Up Next: The Pioneers will meet Morrisville on the road on Tuesday at 7 p.m.