Pioneers upend Bears, 6-4, setting up playoff rematch


UTICA, N.Y.—Utica College (16-8-1, 9-6-1) scored four first period goals en route to a 6-4 victory over the SUNY Potsdam women's hockey team (12-9-3, 7-5-3) at the Utica Auditorium on Sunday afternoon. The loss drops the Bears to fifth place, setting up an ECAC West first round playoff rematch next weekend in Utica. Four different players scored for Potsdam, while Gabrielle Schnepp led the Pioneers with three goals.

The wild scoring started quickly in the first period. Just 1:57 into the contest, senior captain Brittany Lucky (Kanata, Ontario/Ottawa Senators) launched a shot from the left point into the upper right corner of the Pioneers net. Freshman forward Jordan Ott (Hilton, N.Y./Rochester Edge) and senior assistant captain Amanda Lucky (Kanata, Ontario/Clarkson University) assisted on the goal. Just 55 seconds later, Schnepp tipped a shot from the point between the pads of Potsdam sophomore goalie Alexane Rodrigue (Monkland, Ontario/Bemidji State) to tie the score. Schnepp struck again at 4:48, burying a rebound to give the Pioneers their first lead of the contest. Nearly five minutes later, Vanessa Maines carried the puck into the Bears' zone and wrapped it around Rodrigue to make it a 3-1 game. Ott and sophomore forward Rachel Grefke (Livonia, Mich./Victory Honda) responded with strong point-blank scoring chances, but were frustrated by Pioneer senior goalie Jennifer Hamel. After a scramble in front at 10:08, Amanda Lucky knocked home the Bears' second goal with assists from senior forward Jessica Silveira (Brampton, Ontario/Brampton Thunder) and Brittany Lucky. Again, Utica answered immediately. Megan Myers scored on a breakaway with a wrist shot. The Pioneers took the 4-2 advantage into the first admission.

Freshman goaltender Abby Tardelli (Potsdam, N.Y./North Country Ice Storm) replaced Rodrigue at the start of the intermission and was tested early and often. She stopped three quick shots in succession at 13:30 and continued to look sharp as Utica built up its pressure. At 11:05, Amanda Lucky took the puck the length off of a face off in the Potsdam zone beat a Utica defender at the blue line and was robbed by Hamel's glove. At 6:41, the Bears went on the first power play of the contest, but Schnepp spoiled the advantage at 14:01. The Pioneer freshman poked the puck past a Potsdam defenseman and completed her hat trick on a breakaway with a shorthanded goal. Silveira got the Bears within 5-3 1:22 later, scoring on another loose puck scramble. Ott assisted on the goal. The goal seemed to ignite Potsdam's offense as the Bears responded with two quick opportunities, but didn't score. At 17:23, Utica's Emily Coope flipped a rebound over a diving Tardelli to make it six three. With 53 seconds remaining in the period, Potsdam went on its second power play and Tardelli was pulled for an extra attacker. The Bears didn't score and trailed 6-3 after 40 minutes.

The Pioneers killed off the rest of penalty to open third period. After Tardelli made a sprawling save on a bouncing puck, she was slashed giving the Bears their third power play five minutes into the period. Hamel stood tall, stopping two excellent scoring chances. Utica was then whistled for another penalty seconds after the power play expired. Potsdam continued to swarm, but couldn't beat Hamel. Tardelli was on top of her game as well shutting down the Pioneers on their lone power play of the contest at 12:49. With 2:33 left, freshman forward Roberta Beatty (Prince Albert, Saskatchewan/Ontario Hockey Academy) scored her first collegiate goal on a pass from Grefke. The goal closed the scoring at 6-4.

Rodrigue made 13 saves on 17 shots in the first 20 minutes and Tardelli got the tough luck loss despite stopping 28 of 30 shots in the final 40 minutes. Hamel earned the victory with 28 saves.

The Bears were 0-4 on the man advantage and the Pioneers went 0-1.

Utica defeated Potsdam 5-2 in the Auditorium in last year's first round playoff meeting. The date and time of this year's matchup has yet to be determined.