Stevenson men’s ice hockey advances to second UCHC final in seven seasons

Mustangs’ intensity propels team to win against No. 3 Wilkes; SU looks to capture first United Collegiate Hockey Conference title
Junior forward Kyle Lightfoot (#8) had the game-winning goal in Saturdays UCHC semifinal game
Junior forward Kyle Lightfoot (#8) had the game-winning goal in Saturday’s UCHC semifinal game
Emma Hartman
Men’s ice hockey celebrates after ending overtime on top, 4-3

With a spot in the UCHC finals on the line, both Wilkes and Stevenson University came onto the ice for overtime Saturday afternoon with one goal in mind.

Find a way to win.

For the Mustangs, junior forward Kyle Lightfoot took the challenge personally, scoring the game-winning goal less than three minutes into the OT, giving the Mustangs a 4-3 victory and a berth in this weekend’s UCHC title game at Utica University.

“I got the puck in the neutral zone and skated into the zone, pulled up at the blue line looking for a teammate to pass to,” Lightfoot said. “Once that happened I drove the net looking for a rebound, went around the net, came back in front and the puck found my stick and shot it in the back of the net. I tried my best to celebrate and all the boys jumped on me, one of my best hockey moments for sure.”

The path to the title game wasn’t clear as of last Saturday afternoon as No. 3 seed Wilkes stood in the Mustangs’ way.

Senior defender Evan Beers (Emma Hartman)

In the first period, Wilkes set the tone early on with a goal during the first 10 minutes of the game. With less than five minutes remaining in the first, senior defenseman Evan Beers scored his sixth goal of the season to knot the game up at 1-1.

The ‘Stangs came out amped up in the second period where Lightfoot scored his first goal of the night assisted by junior Jake Roberts and senior Eric Olson.

The lead was short-lived as Wilkes quickly answered Lightfoot’s goal, staying on the heels of the ‘Stangs.

Sophomore John Musella wasted no time regaining the ‘Stangs lead with his tenth goal of the season on an assist from first-year Matt Yeager and junior Liam McCanney.

Both sides were aggressive and physical which caused a power play and another answer by Wilkes, ending the final regulation period at 3-3.

Ty Outen, UCHC Goaltender of the Year and MAC Defensive Player of the Year (Emma Hartman)

Goalie Ty Outen had 26 saves in regulation and added two more in overtime, showing why he earned the title of All-UCHC “Goaltender of the year.”

Beers and head coach Dom Dawes described goalie Ty Outen as “the rock. ”

Three of Outen’s teammates also received All-UCHC recognition including McCanney to the All-UCHC first team, Jack Karlsson to the All-UCHC second team, and finally, Rhett Evjen on the All-UCHC Rookie team.

Lightfoot ended the match punching the puck in the net and a ticket to the UCHC championship on Saturday, March 2 at 7 p.m. facing No. 1 Utica.

In the days leading up to the championship match coach Dawes said “we have to do our part and then we go from there and we have already checked a couples boxes this season. We have the opportunity to check the third, and that will be our plan.”

“At the end of the day, the game will be on us,” Beer said. “We gotta go out there and do what we do.”

On to Saturday when the ‘Stangs will face Utica, who has won eight consecutive tournament championships while having a 12-2 all-time record against Stevenson. The ‘Stangs plan to put an end to their run and begin a run of their own.

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About the Contributors
Dominic Snipes, Reporter
Dominic Snipes is a senior business communication major with a professional minor in entrepreneurship and small business development. He is also competing in his last year of indoor and outdoor track and field. After college, Dom's goals are owning his own company in either car detailing or lawn care. He carries a positive attitude and is ready for any challenge thrown his way.
Emma Hartman, Sports Photographer
Emma is a junior communication studies major with a minor in event planning. Outside of taking photos for The Villager, Emma also works for Stevenson Athletic Communications, NAVY Athletic Communications and is the social media manager for the Stevenson men's ice hockey team. Emma's goal after graduation is to do social media for a professional sports team.
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