Union’s former head coaches have been watching what coach Nate Leaman and the Dutchmen have accomplished this season.
The Dutchmen finished in a tie for fourth place and earned a first-round bye in the ECAC Hockey tournament. It was Union’s highest finish ever, and its first-ever bye. The Dutchmen host Cornell in the best-of-three quarterfinals starting tonight at Messa Rink.
There is plenty of pride among the ex-Dutchmen coaches — Bruce Delventhal, Stan Moore and Kevin Sneddon. Each one played a significant role in the program’s Division I development.
Delventhal was Union’s head coach when the program moved from Division III to Division I in 1991. In the team’s third year, Delventhal guided the Dutchmen to a sixth-place finish and their first ECAC Hockey tournament appearance. Union beat Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the first game of their best-of-three quarterfinal series, but lost the next two games.
“I’m thrilled for Nate,” said Delventhal, who resigned in 1996 and now is athletic director at Plattsburgh State. “I don’t think there are too many guys that work a lot harder than he does. I know how hard he’s been trying to make things happen there. I’m very, very happy for him and happy for the program. I think it’s a great thing.”
Moore, who coached the Dutchmen from 1996-98, led the team to a fifth-place finish in the 1996-97 season, the previous highest finish. They were swept in the quarterfinals by RPI.
“I remember when I had the opportunity to work with the athletes at Union College, I remember the uphill battle that everyone felt, and going through each season and feel that we were moving in the right direction,” Moore said. “Since that time, there have been peaks and valleys, but the consistency level shown by Union and the commitment that seems to been shown by Union College toward its athletes, most particularly the men’s ice hockey program, has given them every opportunity to work toward moving in the right direction and having success.”
Sneddon, who was an assistant under Delventhal and Moore before taking over as head coach in 1998, led the Dutchmen to a sixth-place finish and their first-ever home-ice playoff series in 2003. But like his predecessors, Sneddon saw his team lose to RPI, this time in the first round.
“I’m extremely proud of them,” said Sneddon, who left Union after the 2002-03 season to become Vermont’s head coach. “Nate’s done a fantastic job there. When you leave a program, you want to leave it better than when you took it over. To be able to look down and see the scores and the success they’ve had over the last few years, Nate’s continuing to move the program in a great direction. I’m pleased for him. There’s obstacles to any job. Nate’s chosen to find ways to beat those obstacles and just done a good job.”
If you want to find out my predictions on the ECACH tournament quarterfinal series, check out my blog, Parting Schotts, at www.dailygazette.com/weblogs/schott.
For the first time since leaving the ECACH for Hockey East in 2005, Vermont will have home ice in the playoffs.
The 19th-ranked Catamounts are the third seed in the Hockey East tournament. They will face Northeastern in the best-of-three quarterfinals beginning tonight.
Vermont went 10-4-1 over its
final 15 games to earn home ice.
“We were just hoping to make the playoffs back in November,” Sneddon said. “It’s been that kind of crazy year for us.”
potts, lord finalists
Union junior forward Chris Potts and RPI senior forward Andrew Lord are among seven finalists for the ECAC Hockey Male Student-Athlete of the Year, which was announced Wednesday.
Potts, who is studying electrical engineering and mathematics/economics, has a 3.75 grade-point average. Lord, a management major, has a 3.99 GAA.
The other finalists are Colgate’s Mark Anderson, Cornell’s Colin Greening, Harvard’s Dave MacDonald, Brown’s David Robertson and Princeton’s Landis Stankievech.
Here’s a look at how players from the Capital Region did over the past week.
u Boston University senior forward Pete MacArthur (Clifton Park) had a hat trick in the Terriers’ 6-0 rout of Providence last Thursday. MacArthur scored the first three goals of the game. He earned Hockey East player of the week, and leads the Terriers into their quarterfinal-round series against UMass-Lowell starting tonight.
u Boston College freshman defenseman Nick Petrecki (Clifton Park) scored a goal to help the Eagles earn home ice in the Hockey East quarterfinals with a 4-1 against Northeastern last Saturday. BC plays Providence starting tonight.
u St. Lawrence sophomore forward Tara Akstull (Clifton Park) had an assist in the Saints’ 3-1 win over Dartmouth in last Saturday’s ECACH tournament semifinal. She added another assist in Sunday’s 3-2 overtime loss to Harvard in the title game .
The NCAA women’s hockey tournament gets under way Saturday with four quarterfinal games.
St. Lawrence (28-9-1) visits Hockey East champion New Hampshire (32-3-1) at 1 p.m. It’s a rematch of last year’s quarterfinal in which the Saints beat the Wildcats, 6-2.
Harvard (31-1), the ECACH regular-season and tournament champion, will host league rival Dartmouth (18-8-6) at 2 p.m. The Crimson have won 20 straight.
The other games feature College Hockey American champion Mercyhurst (26-7-3) at WCHA champion Minnesota-Duluth (31-4-1) at 3 p.m., while two-time defending NCAA champion Wisconsin (27-8-3)
visits WCHA-rival Minnesota at 8 p.m.
The Women’s Frozen Four takes place March 21 and 23 in Duluth, Minn.