Another slow start costs Union
For the second straight night, a slow start doomed Union.
The Dutchmen gave up three-first-period goals to St. Lawrence, and that was costly as the Saints pulled out a 4-2 ECAC Hockey win Saturday at Appleton Arena.
Union (6-6-4 ECACH, 13-10-5 overall) played listlessly for nearly 50 minutes of Friday’s game against Clarkson and dropped a 2-1 decision.
The loss snapped the 18th-ranked Dutchmen’s seven-game winning streak against the Saints (6-6-4, 13-11-4). It marked the first time that the Dutchmen have been swept in the North Country since Jan. 23-24, 2009.
The losses will more than likely end Union’s run in the USCHO.com/NCAA top-20 hockey poll at 81 consecutive weeks. The poll will be released Monday.
The Saints scored three of their goals on the power play, including two in the first period. Obviously, Union Rick Bennett wasn’t happy.
“We were all over them on the first shift,” Bennett said. “Then we decide that we had it in their zone too long, so we wanted to turn it over. And we spent two more minutes in our zone, and just created a big scene. That led to an avalanche.”
Greg Carey scored the first one with 7:41 left. It was his 20th goal of the season.
The Saints made it 2-0 just under four minutes later on an even-strength goal. A turnover by goalie Troy Grosenick, who thought defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere was going to play the puck, led to Tommy Thomspon’s goal.
For the second straight night, Grosenick was replaced by Niskayuna native Colin Stevens. He gave up a power-play goal to Gunnar Hughes.
“It’s careless penalties,” Bennett said. “We’ve haven’t had phenomenal goaltending the last two games, and that’s going to hurt you. That’s going to happen to any team.”
Grosenick returned to the net at the start of the second period. He allowed Jeremy Wick’s power-play midway through the third period that made it 4-2.
“It’s nice to have a goaltender on staff,” said Bennett, referring to assistant coach and former Boston University netminder Jason Tapp. “[We] thought we’d change it back up. [Grosenick’s] proven he deserves a fair shake. But now it’s back to an open ballgame at practice.”
Union got its first goal when Mat Bodie beat goalie Matt Weininger with 4:26 left in the second.
Daniel Carr scored on the power play early in the third period to cut the Saints’ lead to one. Bodie assisted on the goal, giving him 79 career points. That ties him for first place on the Dutchmen’s all-time defensemen scoring list with Lane Caffaro.
But the Dutchmen couldn’t get an even-strength goal, even though they had 18 shots on net in the third, and 41 for the game.
“If you watched that game, you come away scratching your head and asking how come they’re not going in the net,” Bennett said. “It’s very easy to get frustrated and not stick with the process.”
The Dutchmen played without senior defenseman Shawn Stuart, who suffered a lower-body injury in Friday’s game. Stuart missed five games in January because of an upper-body injury that he sustained Jan. 12 at Quinnipiac.
Union will host Yale at 7 p.m. Friday at Messa Rink.