Wait is over for Union women’s hockey team

At 5:50 p.m. last Saturday, the Union College women’s hockey team did something that the program had
PHOTOGRAPHER:

At 5:50 p.m. last Saturday, the Union College women’s hockey team did something that the program hadn’t been able to do in 2,149 days — celebrate an ECAC Hockey victory.

The Dutchwomen ended six years of frustration with their 3-0 win over Brown in Providence, R.I. The victory snapped their 119-game (0-115-4) league winless streak. Union hadn’t won an ECACH game since a 3-1 triumph over Cornell on Feb. 28, 2004, its first season as a Division I program.

That had been the Dutchwomen’s only league victory.

“Our kids were really, really excited,” third-year Union coach Claudia Asano said. “I was excited. But when you look in the locker room and they’re screaming and hollering, it’s just a tremendous thing for our program.”

Freshman Alana Marcinko, who was named ECACH goalie of the week Monday, made 47 saves in helping the Dutchwomen (1-10-1 ECACH, 5-18-1 overall) beat Brown to earn her third shutout of the season.

“It was so great,” said Marcinko, who became the first Union women’s goalie to record three shutouts in a season. “It was unbelievable. . . . We were all focused. Every game, we go out there, and there’s pressure to win. It was just a regular game, I guess.”

Union had come close a few times to ending the streak.

The Dutchwomen played to a scoreless tie with Quinnipiac on Dec. 8, 2007, Asano’s first year as coach. Union had a first-period goal disallowed when it was ruled the puck was kicked in. A replay shown after the game showed the wrong call was made.

Later that season, Yale overcame a 1-0 deficit with two third-period goals to beat Union, 2-1, Feb. 22, 2008.

Earlier this season, the Dutchwomen and Bears played to a 0-0 tie at Messa Rink Nov. 13.

Before Saturday’s rematch with Brown. Union dropped a 3-0 dec­ision to Yale, despite outshooting the Bulldogs, 29-23. Yale goalie Jackee Snikeris frustrated the Dutchwomen.

“They wanted it to happen,” Asano said. “I didn’t anticipate how long it would take. On Friday night, we outplayed Yale, and I thought it was going to happen then. They have an excellent goalie that came up with some huge saves.

“They knew how long it had been in the coming. They were just so excited when it happened.”

So, what will the Dutchwomen do for an encore? They play at sixth-ranked Harvard tonight, and at Dartmouth on Saturday.

“Coming up with some wins that we’re not supposed to win would be great,” Asano said. “We have 10 games left, and I’m hoping for some great wins in there, and some good battles.”

At least the team won’t have to answer questions anymore about whether or not it will snap the long winless skid.

“It’s going to be just tremendous,” Asano said. “I don’t think about it much, but the kids did. The kids wanted to change that. So, I think it was great to finally have it off of our back.”

D’Amigo celebration

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute freshman forward Jerry D’Amigo will be honored for helping Team USA win the gold medal in the World Jun-ior Hockey Championships.

The ceremony will take place during tonight’s first intermission against Dartmouth.

Local update

Here’s a look at how college hockey players from the Capital Region did over the past week.

— Ohio State freshman forward Lizz Rizzo (Glens Falls) got her first career point last Friday when she assisted on Minttu Tuominen’s goal at 11:30 of the first period, giving the Buckeyes a 1-0 lead against Min­nesota State. Ohio State won, 6-0.

— St. Lawrence senior forward Tara Akstull (Clifton Park) had a goal in the Saints’ 4-0 victory over Boston College last Friday.

TV games

There will be plenty of college hockey games on television this weekend.

— The highlight will be Saturday at 4 p.m., when Time Warner Cable Channel 3 televises Harvard against RPI at Houston Field House.

— TWC-3 will carry Cornell hosting North Dakota in a battle of nationally ranked teams at Lynah Rink tonight at 7. Cornell is ranked ninth in the country, and North Dakota is fifth.

— TWC-1 will have Niagara at Quinnipiac at 7 p.m. Saturday.

— The NHL Network has Denver at Wisconsin tonight at 8.

— CBS College Sports has the Ferris State-Michigan weekend series tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m.

— The Big Ten Network televises Ohio State at Michigan State at 5 p.m. Saturday.

— ESPNU has Vermont at Massachusetts at 3 p.m. Sunday.

RPI celebration

As part of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of RPI’s NCAA title, the school will host a discussion with several members of that team on Friday, Feb. 5, at 4 p.m. Houston Field House, prior to the Engineers’ game against St. Lawrence.

Taking part in the discussion will be captain Mike Sadeghpour, Mike Dark, Ken Hammond and George Servinis. Al Shibley will moderate the discussion.

The program will feature video footage. The first 75 fans to attend will received a DVD of the championship game, in which RPI beat Providence, 2-1.

The next day, there will be an alumni game at 11 a.m., and an autograph session after the Clarkson game.

Defense down

Brown went into the Christmas break on a five-game winning streak. The Bears haven’t been the same since.

They have lost four straight, and been outscored, 27-13. The last two have been league games, a 9-4 loss to Dartmouth Jan. 8, and an 8-5 setback to Yale last Saturday.

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