by Pete Richmire

UTICA, NY - Inside the friendly confines of the Cow Palace, Utica City FC took the trip down Interstate 81 to square off against their divisional rival Harrisburg Heat. Despite a late comeback from the home team, UCFC notched their fifth straight win against the Heat on the season by a score of 7-4.

It was Utica City who would strike first with 5:55 left in the first quarter on the powerplay. Returning from an injury, Rafa Godoi buried a ball on a top-shelf strike with a great right foot into the top corner. Utica City would take a 2-0 lead with 3:30 left in the opening quarter when Dylan Hundelt stole the ball and attacked Harrisburg 2 on 1. He slid it over to Taylor Bond who deposited it into the cage. Harrisburg had a quick answer to that one scoring less than 30 seconds later when former UCFC player Andrew Hoxie played one in off the end wall and Alejandro Chavez put the ball past Coughlin to bring the Heat within 1.
Issak Somow was the lone goal scorer in a second quarter that lacked Heat offense, netting two consecutive goals . He sent a shot on target that slipped through the Heat’s gloves and into the back of the net, putting UCFC up by two goals at 7:42. Six minutes later, Somow slipped a ball in between a Heat defender’s legs for his seventh goal of the campaign. 
For the most part, the third quarter was quiet for UCFC with the Heat dominating on shots. It would be Gordy Gurson that would ultimately add onto Utica’s lead on a penalty kick, calmly scoring on an cold keeper coming in off the bench at 11:33.
Steven Fernandez would keep the party going on a tap-in goal after a superb effort from Queton Swift to keep the play alive, widening Utica’s lead to five just 23 seconds into the quarter. Harrisburg turned the pressure on late, scoring three consecutive goals as time ticked down. Andrew Hoxie was the beneficiary of a fortunate bounce and Matt Braem tallied two goals at 8:37 and 12:59 to draw the Heat within striking distance. However, the visitors would quell that rally as Quenton Swift finished a header with just 43 seconds to play. 
Utica City returns home Sunday, March 12th against Florida at 2pm. Tickets are available for the home game and for all three remaining home games at ucfctickets.com.