UTICA BLOWS OUT HARRISBURG TO CLINCH PLAYOFF BERTH
Utica, N.Y. – Utica City used a five-goal fourth quarter to beat the Harrisburg Heat 10-2 Sunday afternoon at the Adirondack Bank Center. Slav Ubiparipovic netted a hat trick, Logan Roberts scored twice, while Mauricio Salles, Freddy Moojen, Nate Bourdeau, Joey Tavernese and Liam Callahan all chipped in with one goal apiece. Andrew Coughlin made 11 saves on 13 shots in the win.
Roberts put City up 1-0 two minutes into the game with a left-footed strike. He finished with his signature Superman celebration to a sold-out Biergarten. Ubiparipovic doubled the lead at the 9:11 mark of the first quarter with a rocket from beyond the yellow line.
Roberts scored again 1:12 into the second quarter, burying his own rebound to give Utica a 3-0 lead. Moojen buried a pass from Ubiparipovic off a restart to go up 4-0. Nate Bourdeau found a sliding Salles after a Harrisburg turnover to push the lead to 5-1. Tavoy Morgan ended the scoring run 17 seconds later.
Ricardo Carvalho scored 18 seconds into the third quarter to cut Utica’s lead to 5-2. Utica had a flurry of chances throughout the quarter but was unable to convert and took a 5-2 lead into the fourth quarter.
Bourdeau restored City’s four-goal lead with a header 2:15 into the fourth quarter. Ubiparipovic buried a rebound to earn his second of the game three minutes later. Harrisburg pulled their goalkeeper for the sixth attacker with nine minutes to play in an effort to get back in the game, but Callahan made them pay with an empty netter at the 9:30 mark. Tavernese and Ubiparipovic added late goals to put the game away in front of an electrified sold-out Adirondack Bank Center.
With the win Utica earned their first playoff berth as a franchise. They continue to battle for the Eastern Division. The Boys in Blue are back on home turf Sunday, March 17 wearing yet to be released specialty St. Patrick’s Day jerseys. Fans are encouraged to purchase their tickets early via www.empirestatetix.com.