A good Friday for Union hockey men and women, RPI women
It was a good Friday night for three of the Capital Region's college hockey teams.
Let's start with the Union men. After just scoring four goals on 97 shots in the last two games, the Dutchmen exploded for seven in a 7-2 romp over Dartmouth in the ECAC Hockey opener for both teams at Thompson Arena in Hanover, N.H.
One main aspect of practice this week was getting more traffic in front of the net. The Dutchmen did that, making the most of their 31 shots on goal.
"It was a very good effort by the guys," Union coach Rick Bennett said. "I thought we had some puck luck tonight. Our shots were finding the back of the net, which was nice to see. And our guys were going hard to the net."
Sam Coatta scored Union's first two goals. The first came late in the first period on a 3-on-2 rush. The second one came early in the second period and sparked a four-goal outburst that gave the Dutchmen a 5-0 lead.
"The key in practice this week was get to the crease and get in the goalie's eyes," Coatta said. "We did that a few times."
Coatta, who has been playing on the right side with center Mark Bennett left winger Cole Ikkala, have been a steady line for Union. Bennett assisted on both of Coatta's goals.
"They've been very effective for us," Bennett said. "Tonight, they got rewarded."
The Dutchmen got two key players back in the lineup. Junior goalie and Niskayuna native Colin Stevens made 15 saves in his first game since suffering an upper-body injury against Bowling Green in the season opener Oct. 11.
Junior center Max Novak, who missed all five October games with a lower-body injury, scored a third-period goal.
"That was big," Bennett said. "To get him and Colin back provided a spark for us, and was something we really needed."
Dutchmen senior center Daniel Carr's goal late in the second was not only hit third of the season, but his 59th of his career. That ties him with Mario Valery-Trabucco for first in the Union Division I career goal-scoring list.
Freshman defenseman and Clifton Park native Jeff Taylor scored his first collegiate goal in the second. Matt Hatch had the other second-period goal.
Freshman center Mike Vecchione added a goal and an assists. Junior defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere had three assists, and Kevin Sullivan added two to give him an NCAA-leading 11 assists. He surpassed his career high of 10 assists, set last season.
Union faces Harvard on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Meanwhile, Union women's team accomplished something it hadn't done since Jan. 21, 2012 -- win an ECACH game.
Goalie Sheanae Lundberg stopped all 25 shots she faced, leading the Dutchwomen to a 3-0 over Dartmouth in Union's league opener.
The victory snapped a 30-game winless skid (0-26-4). Union went 0-18-4 last season. It's also the first time since Union became a Division I program in the 2003-04 season that it won its league opener.
Lundberg had to be sharp in the third period when Union didn't record a shot on goal. She stopped all 10 Big Green chances.
Taylor Purvis scored in the first period for the Dutchwomen. Kathyrn Davis and Kathryn Tomaselli added second-period goals. Courtney Turner assisted on both of them.
Union hosts No. 7 Harvard Saturday at 4 p.m.
The RPI women snapped an 0-4-1 skid with its 2-1 upset of the Crimson at Houston Field House.
Lauren Wash scored midway through the third period to snap a 1-1 tie. Goalie Kelly O'Brien made 29 saves.
The RPI men's offense has suddenly dried up. The 10th-ranked Engineers dropped a 2-0 decision to Harvard at the Bright Hockey Center.
It was the second time the teams met in four days. They played to a 3-3 tie Tuesday at Houston Field House. The Engineers had a 3-0 first-period lead, but now have been shutout for the last 109:30.
Harvard goalie Rafael Girard earned his second straight shutout, making 28 saves. He stopped 43 shots in last Saturday's 3-0 season-opening win over Bentley.
RPI faces Dartmouth at 7 p.m. Saturday. With both teams feeling miserable, that could be a very physical game.