Women's ice hockey tripped up by Utica

Nikki Haskins '14
Nikki Haskins '14

Utica College's Nicole Schwartz '15 posted two goals and one assist and the Pioneers rallied for a 5-4 win against Hamilton College in a non-conference game at Hamilton's Russell Sage Rink on Feb. 5.

Utica (11-7-2 overall) erased a 3-2 deficit with three goals in the third period. Carmen Johnson '13 scored the game-winner with 3:08 left. The Pioneers lost 3-1 to the Continentals at home back on Dec. 8.

Megan Myers '14 scored her 50th career goal and added two assists for Utica. Kelsey Dowdall '15 and Johnson ended up with one goal and one assist apiece. Louise Steele-Norton '15 was credited with two helpers and Mary Fusco '13 had one. Jennifer Hamel '14 made 23 saves and improved to 8-4-1 in goal.

Nikki Haskins '14 recorded her first hat trick at Hamilton (11-8-1). Haskins has scored a goal in four straight games, and has six during that span. Katie Zimmerman '13 recorded a goal and two assists. Zimmerman leads the NESCAC with 17 goals and is tied for first with 24 points.

Julia Williams '14, Naomi Woolfenden '16, Hannah Jaiven '14 and Jill Tokarczyk '14 registered one assist each for the Continentals. Becca Hazlett '13 made 20 saves.

Hamilton grabbed an early 1-0 lead just 84 seconds into the first period. Williams hammered a shot from just inside the blue line and the puck redirected off a defender’s skate to Zimmerman, who corralled the loose puck and passed it to Haskins for the goal.

Utica tied the score on a goal by Dowdell's fourth goal at 4:07 of the first. Steele-Norton held the puck near the right corner and passed to Dowdell, who was skating towards the slot, for the one-timer. Schwartz also earned an assist.

Haskins nearly gave the lead back to the Continentals with a little more than two minutes to play in the period when she corralled a loose puck in the neutral zone and skated in on a breakaway. Her backhander was turned away by Hamel and the opening period ended in a 1-1 draw.

The score was still tied when Hamilton's Gigi Fraser '14 hit the left post with 7:45 remaining in the second period. Three minutes later, Steele-Norton hit the crossbar for Utica. Myers' team-high 12th goal broke the tie with 3:31 left in the second. She intercepted a pass near Hamilton's blue line and went in 1-on-1 with Hazlett for the 2-1 lead.

The Continentals went back in front with a pair of goals while the teams skated 4-on-4 late in the second. Jaiven held the puck in the defensive zone and sent a pass to Zimmerman in the neutral zone. Zimmerman skated up along the right boards and fired a shot from the right faceoff circle that beat Hamel top shelf with 1:41 left. Haskins made it 3-2 a mere 29 seconds later, when she cleaned up a rebound after Zimmerman's shot was turned away. Woolfenden was also credited with an assist.

Hamilton almost extended its lead five minutes into the third when Abby Runyon '13 skated down the right side and fed Megan Fitzgerald '16 for a one-timer that was stopped by Hamel. On the Pioneers' next possession, Schwartz tied the score at the 5:38 mark. Myers took a loose puck near the left faceoff circle and passed it to Johnson near the left post. Johnson sent it right back to Myers, who skated around the back of the net and fed Schwartz for the goal.

Schwartz’s fifth goal this season gave Utica a 4-3 advantage at 9:29 of the third. Schwartz received a pass from Steele-Norton in front of the Hamilton crease. Her first shot was stopped by Hazlett and deflected off the post, and  she batted in the rebound.

Hamilton answered on Haskins' 12th goal with 3:59 to go. Haskins received a pass in the neutral zone from Tokarczyk and snuck a backhander inside the left post for the hat trick.

The Pioneers struck one more time with the winner 51 seconds later. Fusco's shot from the right faceoff circle was deflected by a defender. She got the puck back and sent it towards the goal. The puck changed direction and Johnson scored her fifth on an open net.

The Continentals pulled Hazlett for the extra skater with 38 seconds left. The Pioneers gained possession of the puck with 20 seconds remaining, but Steele-Norton's shot from the right faceoff circle sailed wide left of the empty net, and opened the door for Hamilton one more time. The Continentals didn't get another shot in the final seconds.

Hamilton held a 27-25 edge in shots and killed all five of its penalties. The Continentals lead the NESCAC in penalty kill at 88.1 percent. Hamilton had one power play for nine seconds.

The Continentals travel to nationally ranked No. 8 Bowdoin College for a NESCAC game on Friday, Feb. 8. The Pioneers play at Buffalo State College on Saturday, Feb. 9.

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