Union-Dartmouth postgame report (with 3 videos)
All I can think about after watching Union allow two power-play goals in a game for the first time this season Friday night is the late actor Lloyd Bridges and his memorable role as Steve McCroskey in the classic comedy “Airplane!” All I hear in my head right now is him saying, Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit smoking” and “Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking.”
In Friday’s game advance, I wrote about successful the Union penalty killing has been this season. The Dutchmen came into the game with the second-best PK in the country, and how they hadn’t allowed more than one power-play goal in a game this season.
Well, in my best Steve McCroskey impression, “Looks like I picked the wrong week to write about Union’s penalty kill.”
Dartmouth became the first team this season to score more than one power-play goal in a game against Union when it tallied two in its 2-2 ECAC Hockey tie Friday at Messa Rink.
I recall Union assistant coach Joe Dumais saying that he hoped I wasn’t jinxing the penalty kill when I spoke with him about it.
Of course, my article had no bearing on the Big Green going 2-for-3. They needed all of five seconds to score on the power play midway through the second period. With Kyle Bodie off for tripping, Tyler Sikura won a faceoff in the right circle. He drew it back to Ryan Bullock at the right point. Bullock then made a nice pass to Eric Neiley in the left circle. Neiley’s shot beat goalie Troy Grosenick over his left shoulder to tie the score, 1-1.
Union got that back when Mat Bodie scored on the power play with 6:59 left in the second to make it 2-1. The Dutchmen did a good job of protecting the lead.
But a lazy tripping penalty by Daniel Ciampini with 5:19 left gave the Big Green a chance to tie it. Ciampini was a step behind Alex Goodship in the neutral zone when he stuck out his stick and sinking Goodship. There was no reason for that. If Ciampini is skating hard, he stays with Goodship.
Rick Pinkston scored the game-tying power-play goal. There was a bit of luck involved. Pinkston’s shot hit the left post, then hit Grosenick in the rear end and rolled over the goal line.
Let’s just say Union coach Rick Bennett wasn’t happy with Ciampini.
“I wouldn’t say it was the hardest-working penalty,” Bennett said. “It’s amazing. We’ve gotten away with some lucky ones with the too many men, and haven’t gotten punished for it. But maybe this is like a justification. Yeah, it was lazy. We’ve got to curb it.”
Union had a chance to make up for that when, 20 seconds into overtime, Eric Robinson was called for elbowing. The Dutchmen, with the nation’s top power play, had a great opportunity to win the game.
That failed, too. Steve McCroskey would have said, “It looks like Union picked to wrong time to lay an egg on the power play.”
The Dutchmen didn’t generate anything on the power play until there was under 10 seconds left on it. Josh Jooris had two good attempts at jamming the puck in, but goalie Cab Morris kept it out.
“We were trying to force some plays, I thought,” Bodie said. “We didn’t keep it simple. That’s what cost us getting the ‘W’ there.”
Bennett agreed. He thinks his team tired to be too cute because the game was being nationally televised by NBC Sports Network.
“We all know the game is on TV,” Bennett said. “But the show is on the ice. The show is to try to put that thing in the back of the net and just worry about the game and keeping it simple, which we always preach. ... Hopefully, that’s a learning curve for us.”
With eight games left in the season, the Dutchmen better learn from this. Otherwise, they may my hearing Steve McCroskey in their heads saying, “It looks like I picked the wrong weekend to have the season end.”
It’s been a disappointing year for junior forward Kevin Sullivan. He had just two assists in 21 games coming into Friday’s game.
But he got his first goal of the season early in the second period. He went to the net when Matt Hatch sent the puck just as he was coming around the net at the right side. Sullivan fired it home to give Union a 1-0 lead.
“Matt Hatch did a great play,” Bennett said. “Take the ‘D’ wide and get it deep, and make a play. ‘Sully’s’ going to the net hard like he’s going to get those goals. ‘Sully’s’ not getting goals coming down the wall [with] slap-shot goals. It’s not Steve Yzerman. The quicker we all figure this out, the better off we’re going to be.”
Sullivan was relieved to get that first goal of the season.
“I didn’t have to do much there,” said Sullivan, a junior forward. “Hatch made a great play. He drove wide, and Jooris went to the net. I was just lucky to be driving the net in that spot. It’s been a while, so it’s nice to get one.”
Union falls in PairWise
The tie hurt Union in the PairWise Rankings. The Dutchmen dropped from a tie for 18th to 21st.
I have three postgame videos.
To see Bennett’s press conference, click here.
To see the Bodie/Sullivan press conference, click here.
To see Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet’s press conference, click here.
My three stars of the game:
1) Cab Morris, Dartmouth goalie — Made a career-high 37 saves.
2) Matt Hatch, Union — Made a great rush to set up Sullivan’s goal.
3) Kevin Sullivan, Union — Scores first goal of season.
That’s all from Messa Rink. Catch my College Hockey Slap Schotts blog on Monday.
Good Night! Good Hockey!