It’s an ending that’s become all too familiar to the Utica College women’s hockey team, seeing their season end with a loss to Plattsburgh State.
Last year was no different, with the Pioneers coming up short to the Cardinals in what ended up being their final game of the season for the third time in the last four years.
“They’re always No. 1 on our list of who we want to beat and who we’re we’re gunning for,” senior Taylor Osowski said. “We have to go out there and play as hard as we can and skate as hard as we can so we can go for them.”
Losing two of the best players in program history isn’t going to help. Both Gabrielle Schnepp and Kiera Goin have moved on, with Goin now playing for the NWHL’s Hartford Whale.
“We knew we had some scoring and some goaltending before the game started,” head coach Dave Clausen said. “It’s a new year so we’re going to have to get that scoring from somebody else and and the goaltending from somebody else.”
In the preseason polls, the Pioneers were picked to finish second in the UCHC, which they’re viewing as a positive.
“I think it’s a good thing,” senior Veronique Lortie said. “If you are picked to finish first then maybe you’re on top of the mountain and you don’t realize that opposing teams want to bring you down harder. I think it’s a challenge and we all have to show up and play our best.”
UC will be tested early with a road matchup against, you guessed it, Plattsburgh State in the second game of the season.
“(Plattsburgh) is a game that we are trying to win at all costs,” Osowski said. We have to give it everything we have, block shots and make sacrifices. They’re our big game every year and we want to prove that we can take it to them.”
Prior to that game, UC will open up their season on Saturday at home against New England College.