Categories: College Sports
There was an energy crisis Friday night at Messa Rink.
No, there wasn’t a problem with the electricity. The lights were working fine. Rather, it was the lack of energy Union displayed against Colgate, and the lack of buzz in the crowd.
Union coach Nate Leaman was stunned by it all. But he won’t be giving back the Dutchmen’s 3-1 ECAC Hockey victory over the Raiders any time soon.
Despite improving to 4-0-3 in their last seven, the Dutchmen (3-0-2 ECACH, 7-3-4 overall) didn’t play with the same gusto that they had displayed in winning last weekend’s Rensselaer Holiday Tournament. They struggled with handling and clearing the puck. They were outshot, 15-7, in the second period, even though they had taken a 2-1 lead earlier in the period on Stephane Boileau’s power-play goal.
And the rather sedate gathering of 1,342 — smaller than usual because Union students are on break — turned the rink into a library. There was even a penalty shot by Union’s Mario Valery-Trabucco in the second, but that didn’t seem to ignite anyone.
“We didn’t have enough energy tonight,”
Leaman said. “We were pretty fortunate to win a hockey game. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy we got the two points. I’m happy with the way [goalie] Keith Kinkaid played.
“Our building didn’t have any energy. I’m a little down on that right now. Our bench didn’t have any energy. Something was going on because we had a lot more energy against RPI.”
Here is something the Dutchmen fans can get behind: Union is now the only unbeaten team in the league. Quinnipiac lost its first ECACH game Friday against Yale, 7-4.
With seventh-ranked Cornell, a 2-1 winner over RPI, coming in tonight, the energy level should increase significantly.
“We have to play with a heck of a lot more passion tomorrow night,” Leaman said. “We need our building to have a lot more passion.”
Boileau, who put in the rebound of a Jason Walters’ shot from the top of the slot that hit the crossbar at 2:23 of the second, blamed the lack of energy in overconfidence.
“We’ve been winning for the last three weeks, and I think we were overconfident,” Boileau said. “That’s why we didn’t show up today. We were lucky to win that game.”
Valery-Trabucco gave the Dutchmen a 1-0 lead on a short-handed goal. Leading a two-on-one rush down the right wing, Valery-Trabucco used John Simpson, who was on his left, as a decoy, and then fired a shot off the crossbar and past goalie Alex Evin.
“The short-handed goal put us back on our heels a little bit,” Colgate coach Don Vaughan said. “Unfortunately, even though it was 1-0 at that point, our guys got caught off guard by that, and we started to press.”
The goal didn’t spark the Dutchmen, and they continued to play listless hockey. It cost them with just under a minute left in the period when Kurtis Bartliff forced Union defenseman Mike Schreiber to turn the puck over behind the Dutchmen net. He got the puck to Jason Williams, whose shot was stopped by Kinkaid. An undefended Ethan Cox got the rebound and put it in the net.
Kinkaid, who earlier in the day was named an honorable mention for the Hockey Commissioners Association’s November rookie of the month, was solid in the second, stopping all 15 shots he faced. He made 31 saves overall.
“It’s just like any other game, you’ve got to make the saves for your team,” Kinkaid said. “We had to create our own energy tonight.”
Jeremy Welsh’s goal midway through the third gave Union some insurance. But that didn’t excite anyone, either.
“I thought we fought the puck tonight because of [the lack of energy],” Leaman said. “We were making a lot of bad decisions. I thought ‘Welshie’ and Keith were our best players. Keith saved our bacon.”
Colgate 100 — 1
Union 111 — 3
First Period — 1, Union, Valery-Trabucco 6 (Forgaard), 7:52 (sh). 2, Colgate, Cox 1 (Williams, Bartliff), 19:01. Penalty — Welsh, Uni (tripping), 7:03.
Second Period — 3, Union, Boileau 5 (Walters, W. Simpson), 2:23 (pp). Penalties — McNamara, Col (holding), 1:03; Walters, Uni (charging), 6:12; McNamara, Col (hooking), 9:40; Colgate bench, served by Bourdon (too many men), 19:22
Third Period — 4, Union, Welsh 4 (Walters), 9:58. Penalties — None.
Missed Penalty Shot — Union, Valery-Trabucco, 9:40 second.
Shots on Goal — Colgate 9-15-7 — 32. Union 11-7-8 — 26.
Power-play opportunities — Colgate 0 of 2; Union 1 of 2.
Goalies — Colgate, Evin 2-3-2 (20 shots-18 saves). Cha. Long (3:55 third, 6-5). Union, Kinkaid 4-1-1 (32-31).
A — 1,342. T — 2:07.
Referees — Mike Baker, Joe Carusone. Linesmen — Bill Lyons, Andy Petrus.