Score: Elmira College 5, #7/11 Utica College 1
Records: Elmira (3-3-0, 2-2-0 UCHC), Utica (3-1-0, 1-1-0 UCHC)
Location: Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium – Utica, N.Y.
UTICA, N.Y. -- A pair of three-point performances by Matthew Cuce'20 and Spencer MacLean '20 ignited the Elmira College men's ice hockey offense and propelled the Soaring Eagles to a 5-1 upset victory over No. 7/11 nationally-ranked Utica College. The win was Elmira's second within United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC) play and EC's second victory over a nationally-ranked team this season.
Cuce and MacLean each recorded one goal and a pair of assists. MacLean's goal went down as tonight's game-winner, while Cuce assisted on Elmira's first and fifth goals of the evening. Nick Ford '20 and Anthony Parrucci '20 each finished with two points apiece, as both skaters produced one goal and one assist.
Connor Powell '20, Harry Kramer '20 and Ryan Blais '21 all finished with one point. Powell scored his team-leading third power-play goal of the season, while Kramer and Blais had one assist apiece.
Ford continued his stellar start to the 2017-18 season with a goal 4:05 into the first period, his seventh of the year, to give the Soaring Eagles a 1-0 lead. Classmates Cuce and Kramer were credited with assists on Ford's game-opening tally.
With the opening period coming to a close, MacLean scored his second goal in as many days to pad the Purple and Gold's lead to 2-0 with just 1:58 left on the clock. MacLean's even-strength goal was set up by passes from Parrucci and Blais, which sent the Soaring Eagles into the first intermission with a two-goal lead.
It only took 1:55 for Elmira to make it a three-goal lead, as Parrucci picked up his second point of the night by scoring his second goal of the season. MacLean was credited with the assist on the goal, as his initial shot was deflected by a Utica defender and over to Parrucci, who quickly sniped the goal past Utica's goaltender, Patrick Virtanen.
The Parrucci goal held up through the end of the second period, but not without a strong fight from the Utica forwards. Rookie netminder Gennaro Anzevino '21 made a whopping 19 saves in the second stanza to keep the nationally-ranked Pioneers off of the scoreboard for a second straight period. The South Hackensack, New Jersey, native racked up 32 saves in the first two periods of his first collegiate start.
After killing a Utica power play in the opening two minutes of the third period, EC added to its lead thanks to a 2-on-1 rush that was finished off by a nice backhanded effort by Cuce at 5:38. Ford began the scoring play by intercepting a pass, before snapping a pass to Cuce in front of the cage. From there, Cuce deked the goal and buried the shot top-shelf to put the Purple and Gold on top, 4-0.
Elmira's four-goal lead lasted for just 26 seconds though, as Conor Landrigan cleaned up a rebound from out in front of the EC cage. Jarrod Fitzpatrick and Kevin Valenti were credited with assists on Utica's only goal of the contest.
Following a slew of Utica penalties, Elmira was granted a 5-on-3 power-play opportunity at 10:15. The Soaring Eagles did not waste any time with the extra skater, as EC's power-play unit converted a beautiful in-zone play to go back up by four goals, 5-1, with 8:56 remaining in regulation.
The power-play score began with a pass by Anzevino from the crease, which created an Elmira rush. MacLean carried the puck into the zone and into the slot, before dumping the pass off to Powell. Powell found Cuce in the high-left slot unmarked, but instead of shooting, Cuce snapped a pass back to Powell, who fired a shot through Virtanen's five-hole for the score.
The Powell goal proved to be more than enough for Elmira, as the Soaring Eagles skated away with 5-1 victory.
Anzevino finished with 40 saves in his first collegiate start to earn the win. He made double-digit saves in both the first and second periods to help EC solidify its second league victory. His counterpart from Utica, Virtanen, made 35 stops and suffered his first loss of the 2017-18 season.
In His Own Words…
Head Coach Aaron Saul '98 shares his thoughts on Elmira knocking off nationally-ranked Utica…
"We knew we needed to play much better than the night before. We played hard and it was a total team effort. We really needed the two points for our league play. Winning on the road at Utica was huge for our group, good win, but at the end of the day, it was just two points. We can take some things from this game and continue to get better. Gennaro was outstanding. He played under control and made a huge save in the second period that was a game changer."
News and Notes
- Elmira knocked off its second nationally-ranked opponent of the season.
- The Soaring Eagles snapped a three-game skid against Utica.
- EC also earned its first win at the Utica Memorial Auditorium since the 2014-15 season.
- Elmira handed Utica its first loss of the season.
- Elmira picked up its first road win of the 2017-18 campaign.
- Cuce and Ford logged their third multi-point games of the season.
- Parrucci and MacLean extended their point streaks to three consecutive games.
- MacLean registered the first game-winning goal of his collegiate career.
- Powell scored his team-leading third power-play goal of the season, which is tied for fifth-most in Division III.
- Anzevino became the second EC rookie netminder this season to earn a win a debut game.
- A total of three goaltenders have earned wins for EC this year.
Elmira continues its four-game road trip next weekend with a trip to the Reisterstown Sportsplex in Reisterstown, Maryland, on Friday, November 17, to face UCHC foe Stevenson University. The puck is set to drop at 7:00 p.m.