UTICA RETURNS HOME TO FACE BALTIMORE IN GAME TWO
Tonight’s Game: Utica City battles the Baltimore Blast in Game Two of the Eastern Division Finals. Kickoff at the Adirondack Bank Center is at 6:30 p.m.
Last Game: A six-goal second quarter jump-started the attack as Utica City defeated the Baltimore Blast 12-9 in a thrilling Game One of the Eastern Division Finals. Mauricio Salles led the way with four goals, while Joey Tavernese scored twice and Domenico Vitale, Liam Callahan, Bo Jelovac, Nate Bourdeau, Lucio Gonzaga and Jake Schindler all chipped in with a goal each. Andrew Coughlin made 14 saves in the win.
Head-To-Head: Utica leads the series 1-0 after Sunday’s win. The two teams tied the regular season series with three wins apiece.
Scouting the Blast: Baltimore finished the regular season with a record of 17-7, good for second place in the Eastern Division. Jonatas Melo led all scorers with 41 points, followed by Vini Dantas with 31 points. They finished the season with a +42 goal differential. Dantas led all Blast scorers with four points in Game One. Vanzela made eight saves on 18 shots in Saturday’s loss.
White Hot: Mauricio Salles continued his strong play into the postseason. Salles scored four goals in Saturday’s win to bring his point streak to eight games dating back to the regular season. The forward has 13 points (11-2-13) in his last eight playoff games.
Three’s Company: Bo Jelovac, Domenico Vitale, and Lucio Gonzaga were critical pieces of Saturday’s win. All three collected three points (1-2-3) each in Saturday’s win, with Vitale and Jelovac hooking up for the eventual game-winning goal.
Home Cookin’: Despite being held scoreless in Game One, look for Slav to make an impact tonight in Game Two. Slav collected 26 points (13-13-26) in nine home games this season, including 13 (6-7-13) in his last four home games. Overall, the forward finished the regular season with 40 points (19-21-40) in 19 games this season.
Block Party: A big factor in Saturday’s win was their willingness to block shots on the defensive side of the ball. Utica finished the night with 19 blocked shots, lead by Slav Ubiparipovic with five and Liam Callahan with four. Look for that to continue in tonight’s game as City tries to close out the series.
Next Game: If Utica wins, they will move on to face the Milwaukee Wave in the Eastern Conference Finals. If Baltimore wins, there will be a mini game immediately following Game Two. The winner of the mini game will move on to face Milwaukee.