Utica, New York

Saturday, January 31, 2009

This was a full day of hockey for us. We started the day out with Michael's game at the Onondaga Indian Nation Rink, where the Pee Wee B team beat Onondaga 1 by a score of 6-1. After the game, we went to the Dinosaur BBQ for a late lunch/early dinner. Afterwards, it was off to Utica for the Utica College game again Hobart at the Utica Aud. Home after the game.

Hobart repeats win over Utica

It was a repeat performance, pretty much.
Utica College, which dropped a 4-0 ECAC West decision to Hobart Friday, again had special teams problems and again couldn't get anything past steady-as-a-rock All-American goalie Keith Longo and the Statesmen rolled to 6-0 victory over the Pioneers on Saturday in front of 2,795 fans at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.

It was the seventh consecutive win and 10th in 11 games for Hobart (7-3, 16-4), ranked ninth in the nation in Division III. Chris Bower scored twice for the Statesmen, Andrew Brennan, Bobby Cahill, Jason Merritt and Greg Alberti scored the other goals.

Longo pitched his second shutout in as many nights, making 31 saves for a total of 68 in 24 hours.

The Pioneers, who lost for the fourth straight game to fall to 3-6, 9-8-2, were left to try to figure out a way to deal with familiar shortcomings, including going 0-for-7 on the power play and giving up a shorthanded goal for the second straight night, even if coach Gary Heenan felt the effort was much better.

"I think a lot of guys were frustrated," said senior forward T. J. Schneider, who moved to defense Saturday in a major shakeup that included the benching of several regulars, including captain Bryce Dale. "We had our chances tonight, and we did play better than last night. We had our chances and they didn't go in. It's hard to pinpoint what (the problem) might be."

The problems started early for the Pioneers. Although they came out with energy and determination, they failed to score on 5-on-4 and 5-on-3 advantages in the first five minutes, then gave up a power play goal to the 6-foot-5, 240-pound Bower, who tipped in a pass from Brennan at 10:03. Then, at 8:40 of the second period, Alberti picked up a loose puck at the Hobart blue line, beat everyone to the other end and put a backhander past Justin Bolla, who was immediately replaced by Anthony Luckow. The issue was still in doubt with UC trailing 2-0 as the third period started, but Brennan got the puck all alone in front and buried a shot to make it 3-0 at 8:03. Heenan pulled Luckow with 5:09 to play in a desperate effort to maximize a power play, Bower scored into an empty net, and the Statesmen added goals by Merritt and Cahill in the waning minutes.

The way Longo was playing, all those late goals didn't really matter. The senior from Milford, Mass., who came in with a .925 save percentage, was quietly stellar the last two nights, staying square to shooters, seeing the puck well and making the occasional sensational stop, as he did on Vincent Nucci with 5:45 to play.

"I love his mental strength, his focus," said Hobart coach Mark Taylor, a former Elmira player and Cornell and UMass-Lowell assistant. "He's got a great quiet strength about him. He's as quick as any goalie I've had. This isn't his last year playing hockey."

"Their kid (Longo) was all-world," Heenan said. "We poured it on and on and on. The kid played great."

Heenan was much calmer than might be expected after watching his team putting up a goose egg for the second straight night.

"It was a better effort tonight, for two periods for sure," he said, but acknowledged that there is a lot of work to do on special teams and on offense.

The Pioneers have scored just twice in the last three games, and Heenan agreed there might still be a hangover from the Jan. 15 loss to Curry, when UC blew a 4-1 third period lead and lost in overtime.

"It seems it," he said. "We're in a funk. That took the wind right out of our sails. All of a sudden, after being a good offensive team all year, we can't score. We'll have to dig down deep during the stretch."

"We've got to do something different," Schneider said. "Maybe approach practice differently, changing something, because what we're doing isn't working."

The Pioneers are off until Neumann visits for a pair of league games Friday and Saturday.

Hobart 6, Utica College 0

Hobart 1 1 4 - 6

Utica College 0 0 0 - 0

Hobart (7-3, 16-4): Chris Bower 2-0, Andrew Brennan 1-1, Blake Bonham 0-1, Dan Miller 0-1, Patrick Moriarty 0-1, Aleksey Koval 0-1, Bobby Cahill 1-1, Jason Merritt 1-0, Nick DeCroo 0-1. Keith Longo 31 saves.

Utica College (3-6, 9-8-2): Justin Bolla 20 saves, Anthony Luckow 9 saves.

Total Mileage: 224 Miles

Total Miles Travelled:
139,715 Miles!

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Page Last Updated: July 16, 2009