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College hockey notes: Bennett ready to get back to work

Friday, February 14, 2014
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— After not being allowed behind the bench for the last four games, Union coach Rick Bennett is anxious to return this weekend.

Bennett will be back guiding the ECAC Hockey-leading and third-ranked Dutchmen tonight when they travel to Ithaca to face 11th-ranked Cornell at Lynah Rink.

The third-year Union coach has completed his four-game suspension for his involvement in the Mayor’s Cup postgame fracas against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Bennett received a two-game suspension, without pay, from the school, and ECAC commissioner Steve Hagwell later suspended Bennett for two more games.

Bennett was allowed to run the practices. He wasn’t allowed to travel to the games at St. Lawrence and Clarkson two weeks ago. He could have been in Messa Rink for last weekend’s games against Brown and Yale, but he chose to stay home and watch on the computer.

“I’m excited. It’s why I coach,” Bennett said. “You miss those in-game battles, the strategic part of it. It’s good to get back to the staff, and good to get back to the players.”

Asked if it was tough on him to watch the games from home, Bennett said that he wasn’t thinking about himself.

“I was more focused on the coaching staff and how they’re doing, and try to help them in any possible way and, obviously, the players,” Bennett said. “It was more just maintenance on the next days because I left them alone on the weekends. During the week, we talked. That’s how I kind of left it.”

Being able to watch the games gave Bennett a new outlook.

“I just took it as a positive,” Bennett said. “The positive was I got to see some stuff in a different light.”

Bennett was very pleased with the job assistant coach Joe Dumais did in taking over as acting head coach. Union went 3-1 under Dumais, and opened up a three-point lead over second-place Quinnipiac.

“He was absolutely phen­omenal,” Bennett said. “I said that I think he’s ready [to be a head coach], and I think he proved that.”

No finalists

Dutchwomen senior defenseman Ashley Johnston and Dutchmen senior forward Cole Ikkala didn’t make the final cut for the Hockey Humanitarian Award.

The five finalists named Monday were Cornell defenseman Alyssa Gagliardi, Vermont senior forward Danielle Rancourt, Holy Cross student assistant coach Jeffrey Reppucci, Notre Dame senior goalie Joe Rogers and Colgate senior defenseman Jocelyn Simpson.

Ikkala and Johnston were among the nominees named last month. Johnston is working on developing a prosthetic for children that will grow with them.

“It’s a huge honor even being in a category with those people,” Johnston said. “They’re all absolutely amazing. Everybody on that list is doing phenomenal things for the NCAA and their teams. If you asked me a month ago if I thought I would be getting all this attention, I would have said no way.”

Ikkala, who is also a nom­inee for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, is a member of the Student-Athlete Ad­visory Committee and has participated in the Team Impact project, which assists children with life-threatening illness.

“Obviously, it’s disappointing not to make the final cut,” said Ikkala, who has missed the last three games with a lower-body injury. “But there’s 18 other good candidates, and everyone deserves to win it. It was an honor being nominated for it in the first place, so I’ll take that.”

The winner will be announced April 11 at the Frozen Four in Philadelphia.

SAINTS WIN AGAIN

St. Lawrence must enjoy playing at Quinnipiac’s High Point Solutions Arena at the TD Bank Sports Center.

The Saints rallied from a 2-1 deficit to beat the Bobcats, 3-2, on Saturday. It was their fourth straight win there. The last three victories have been by a goal.

Last year, St. Lawrence handed Quinnipiac its first ECACH loss of the season with a 2-1 win.

ZAMBONI ISSUES

The start of last Friday’s Dartmouth-Harvard game at the Bright-Landry Hockey Center in Boston was delayed nearly two hours after the Zamboni broke down while resurfacing the ice after pregame warmup.

A picture circulated on Twitter showed several Harvard players pushing the Zamboni off the ice. There were some entertaining Tweets from the Dartmouth hockey account.

The game started at 8:49 p.m. The Crimson won, 3-0.

QUICK JONES

For the second consecutive Friday, Quinnipiac forward Connor Jones scored in the first 10 seconds of a game.

Jones got a goal at the 10-second mark in last Friday’s 6-3 victory over Clarkson. The previous Friday, Jones set a team record when he scored eight seconds into the game, sparking the Bobcats to an 8-1 rout of Dartmouth.

He is the first NCAA player to do that twice in a career.

LOCAL UPDATE

Here’s a look at how college hockey players from the Capital Region did over the past week.

Union junior goalie Colin Stevens (Niskayuna) stopped 34 shots in last Friday’s 4-3 victory over Brown. In Saturday’s 5-3 win over Yale, Stevens had 24 saves.

Union freshman defenseman Jeff Taylor (Clifton Park) had an assist in the Brown win.

Boston University sophomore forward Jordan Juron (Latham) scored a goal in the Terriers’ 7-4 win over New Hampshire last Saturday.

Wisconsin sophomore defenseman Courtney Burke (Albany) had an assist in the Badgers’ 3-0 triumph over Ohio State last Friday.

 
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