UTICA, N.Y. – No. 8 Utica completed a season sweep of No. 2 SUNY Oswego on Saturday after a convincing 6-0 win against the Lakers in front of a sold-out crowd at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The Pioneers’ (11-2) leading scorer Louie Educate netted two goals and added one assist. Freshman defender Donny Oliveiri registered a career-high four assists and junior goalie Nick Therrien helped UC win its sixth consecutive game by posting 25 saves in his first shutout of the season.
“We really put it all together [Saturday] and I’m proud of the way our guys played here…against one of the best teams in the country,” head coach Gary Heenan said. “I don’t think you can ever expect to beat a team like Oswego in this fashion. We played hard and we capitalized on the opportunities that were presented to us. We knew this was going to be a big weekend for us, coming off a long holiday break, and our guys proved they were hungry and ready to go.”
Oswego (12-3) allowed four power-play goals in the loss. Utica’s Ridge Garbutt recorded two assists, while Adam Graff, Chris Santiago, Rob Morton and freshman Joel Wetmore each netted one goal in the victory. UC is now 9-1 overall at home this season, including an impressive 7-0 record against non-conference opponents on its home ice.
The Pioneers shot out of the gates in the first period with three goals in the first 17:24 of play. Santiago opened the scoring just 5:38 into the contest off assists from senior captain Evan Chalanda and Steve Zappia. Educate then drove home his team-best 12th goal of the year after assists from Mike Baird and Olivieri. Graff capped the first period scoring with under three minutes left to skate when he netted his eighth of the year on a power play with assists from Olivieri and junior defender Mike Slowikowski.
The Pioneers poured in three more second-period goals from the sticks of Morton, Wetmore and Educate. Morton and Wetmore’s scores came in the first 5:27 of the second to essentially secure the Pioneer victory. Educate, who is now tied for third in the nation with 1.92 points per game, added an insurance goal for Utica with less than four minutes to play in the second.
UC was able to hold the nation’s leading scorer, Paul Rodrigues, scoreless on the match. Utica held the Lakers to just six shots in the final period on its way to the Pioneers’ most lopsided victory against Oswego in program history.
Utica has now handed Oswego two of its three losses this year, including a 3-2 victory at Campus Center Ice Arena back on Dec. 7th.
Utica’s six-game winning streak is tied for third in the nation in active winning streaks. The Pioneers killed off all three of the penalties they faced to help improve their penalty kill to 90.6 percent, which ranks second nationally. UC also ranks third in the country in average margin of victory this season (3.15). Utica is now 6-11 all-time against the Lakers.