The Utica Pioneers (5-1) outlasted the Hobart Statesmen (2-3) in a back-and-forth affair tonight, skating away with a 4-2 victory. Trever Hertz scored Utica’s first and last goals of the night to lead the Pioneers and Cody Adams contributed three assists.
Utica fell behind twice in the first period of the game after having the first five penalties assessed against it.
“It’s a good team win for us, only because we put ourselves in a hole early,” said Utica coach Gary Heenan. “We had five consecutive penalties to start the game, and they were penalties. When you are on the road, you can’t do that, and we got away with it. We stuck with our game plan. We had a big goal and a huge save when we needed it. I’m proud of the guys, and we stuck through it.”
Utica took its first and only lead of the game 2:07 into the third period when Soichiro Omi swatted in a rebound that popped onto his stick in the low slot.
“There are a lot more positives than negatives,” said Hobart coach Mark Taylor. “Utica is a good hockey team. The third goal was a little bit of a poor backcheck by a veteran player, and bang, it is in the back of the net. We had some flurries.”
Hobart got on the board first at 8:38 of the opening period by crashing the net. Tommaso Traversa chipped in a rebound, the Statesmen’s third whack at the puck, off a scramble to give Hobart the 1-0 lead.
Utica answered back with a pretty goal at 14:41. Adams sent a blast from the right point that Hertz deflected on the way to the net, and the game was tied 1-1.
Continuing the back-and-forth scoring, Hobart retook the lead on a power play late in the period when the puck drifted out from the back boards. Brad Richard, skating laterally across the top of the crease, dug the puck out from his skates and swatted it home to give the Statesmen a 2-1 at 18:24.
Utica scored the only goal of the second period to tie the game 2-2. Skating four-on-four, Evan Chlanda carried the puck into the Hobart zone. As he started to circle behind the net, he slid the puck out front to Tim Coffman, who was trailing the play. Coffman one-timed the puck past Statesmen netminder Nick Broadwater at 8:03.
Hertz slid in an empty-netter for the Pioneers with 3.6 seconds remaining to seal the hard-fought victory.