UTICA, N.Y. — It was a long weekend for the Chatham Cougars as they were swept by the Utica Pioneers losing 5-0 on Friday and 6-1 on Saturday dropping them to 1-5 overall and 1-3 in conference play.
In game one nothing seemed to go right for the Cougars. In the first ten minutes, Chatham had two good scoring chances with the first occurring when sophomore Sydney Collins and senior Kristina Block came in on a two-on-one. But Utica goaltender Bria Reilly was able to stop Collins with the blocker. Later in the period, senior Jillian Rowland lead another two-on-one but the puck popped on the edge and Chatham’s second chance went by the wayside. After a scoreless 9:50, the Cougars surrendered a two on one to Utica and Junior Rebecca Brown threw a pass across the slot to find a wide-open Olivia Hirschy who just got it past Chatham’s goalie, Devon Strachan. Quickly after that, Utica went to the power play and first-year Georgiana Santullo found Kayla Dion all alone at the bottom of the right-wing circle and blasted one through Strachan making it 2-0 Utica just 43 seconds after the opening goal.
The game remained 2-0 until the 9:09 mark of the second when Chatham gave up their third shorthanded goal in as many weekends as Taylor Dion split the Cougar defense and beat Strachan going forehand, backhand making it 3-0. Utica would get another as Lexi Stanisewski used her speed to break through the Chatham defense and beat Strachan over the blocker marking the end of the day for Strachan who was replaced by rookie, and St. Louis native, Katy Reed
Utica would get one more goal in the 3rd period as Stanisewski created a two-on-one before finding Elizabeth Dohner on the back door where she wristed one past the glove of Reed giving Utica a 5-0 lead.
In game two on Saturday, Chatham controlled the pace, but Utica was still able to strike first as Santullo crashed the net jamming one past Katy Reed, who was making her second start of the season. However, this time Chatham would answer as junior Holly Ackerman from East Rockaway New York would cleanly win the offensive zone and draw back to defender Jillian Rowland who would pick up her first of the year as she one-timed it past the glove of Reilly tying the game up at one. As the 1st period wound down to just over three minutes remaining, Chatham won a defensive zone draw, but turned the puck over and Taylor Dion, shooting from the bottom of the circle, got it past Reed making it 2-1 Utica heading into the break.
Both teams would trade chances in the second period with both goalies standing tall to keep it a 2-1 game going into the final period of play. The tone of the game changed in the start of the 3rd period and the Pioneers quickly increased their lead to three by scoring two goals in the first 2:26 of the 3rd period putting the game out of reach. Utica would add two more, giving them a 6-1 win, and improving their record to 6-0 overall and 4-0 in conference. The Cougars will be back in action next week with a one game weekend series with first year team the Wilkes Colonials. Puck drop for Saturday is set for 4 p.m. from the Pittsburgh Ice Arena in New Kensington.
The Chatham men started poorly in their first game of the weekend but clawed back for an exciting 6-5 overtime win over the Kings Monarchs (0-5 overall 0-3 in Conference). On Saturday the Cougars did battle with first year program Wilkes Colonials but were doubled up in an 8-4 loss.
In the first game, Kings came out flying looking for their first win in program history taking a 3-0 lead in the first six minutes of the game getting goals from Isaac Cirinna, Christian La Croix, and Tyler O’Mara. However, before the period ended, Chatham would answer as sophomore Liam Gentile was able to finally get one past Kings net minder Brandon Daigle. Before the horn sounded, Luciano Bucci increased the Monarchs lead back to three, ending the first period at 4-1.
The Monarchs would score quickly to start the 2nd as the Collegeville, Pa native Jamie Lukas got another one past Ricardo Gonzalez making it 5-1, ending Gonzalez’s night after making seven saves on twelve shots. He was replaced by McMurray native and freshman Brain Baker who would make 13 saves on 13 shots in the reminder of the game. As the second period reached the halfway point, Chatham started its comeback with Chris Lutz getting an unassisted goal to cut the lead to 3. Chatham would continue their push with Andrew Breda scoring just over three minutes later to cut the lead to two heading into the final period.
As the third period began, the Cougars continued to push getting an early goal at the 3:55 mark from sophomore Chad Bell and another from sophomore Michael Thamert at the 9:38 mark to complete the comeback, tying it at 5-5. In the final two minutes, Kings thought they had regained the lead, but it was called back for goalie interference. Just seconds later freshman Tristin Simm of Chatham blasted a puck bar down thinking he gave his team the win, but it was also called back, and the game would go to overtime. Overtime would not last long. Just 1:28 in, last week’s star Daniel Cangelosi, picked the puck up off the end board and was able to deposit it behind Daigle giving Chatham a 6-5 OT win. For the sophomore Cangelosi, it was his 4th goal in two games. With the victory, the Cougars gained their first win of the season and third in program history, all coming against Kings.
The Cougars took on the Wilkes University Colonials on Saturday. Playing anything like a first-year program, Wilkes University entered the game with two wins in four games. Their first conference win came the night before in front of packed house in their home opener. The Colonials gained the lead just 3:15 into the first period with a goal from Nick Fea. In a back and forth first period that would end with 7 goals, Wilkes held a slim 4 to 3 lead after one period. Cougar goals came from sophomore Cory King, junior forward Clay Plyler of Pittsburgh, and sophomore Chris Lutz. The final goal, which gave Wilkes the lead, came with just one second left. Wilkes carried momentum into the second scoring three straight goals leaving Chatham down 7-3 with less than five minutes to go in the second period. Chatham goalie Brian Baker was pulled after allowing seven goals on 23 shots. With just 1:43 remaining, Plyler scored his second of the night cutting the Wilkes lead to the heading into intermission. The third period offered little scoring with the only goal coming on an empty netter from Wilke’s Nick Fea who was the star of the game finishing with three goals and four assists for the Colonials who are now 3-2 overall and 2-2 in conference play. Chatham was led by Clay Plyler with his first two goals of the season on five shots. With the loss, Chatham drops to 1-3 overall and 1-2 in conference games.
The Chatham Cougars will return home with games against Neumann Knights (0-4-2 overall and 0-2-2 conference) on Friday and Manhattanville Valiants (1-1-2 overall and 1-1-2 in conference) on Saturday. Both games will be at the Frozen Pond in Valencia with puck drop at 7:10 p.m. You can join me, Alex Lyons, for coverage of all games this weekend at: https://gochathamcougars.com/watch/?Archive=126&type=Live