Union tumbles from first place in ECACH

The Union hockey team talked about treating Friday’s ECAC Hockey first-place showdown with Yale as j

The Union hockey team talked about treating Friday’s ECAC Hockey first-place showdown with Yale as just another business trip.

It was an unsuccessful one for the 18th-ranked Dutchmen, because their competition was always one step ahead.

It was the sixth-ranked Bulldogs who sealed the deal on first place in the league. They were tenacious from the start, and held on at the end for a 4-3 victory over Union at Ingalls Rink.

Not only did Union (7-3-3 ECACH, 13-7-5 overall) lose its hold on first place, but it also suffered its season-high third straight defeat. The loss knocked the Dutchmen into third place, a point behind Yale (8-3-2, 12-5-3) and Cornell. The Big Red moved into a tie with the Bulldogs after their 2-1 win over St. Lawrence.

While the score makes it look like the game was close, in reality, it was far from it. The Bulldogs had more jump than the Dutchmen. At one point in the first period, Yale had an 11-1 advantage in shots, and by the end of the period, it was 16-3 in Yale’s favor.

Yale also made it difficult for Union to get the puck out of its zone. There were too many turnovers.

“They won all the one-one battles tonight,” Union coach Nate Leaman said. “They outworked us. It was clear, even in the third period, not only from the start. It was just clear the whole game.”

Leaman doesn’t understand why.

“We had a great practice [Thursday],” Leaman said. “We had a great pregame skate [Friday]. Then we just came out and turned pucks over, time and time again. That’s not our game. We weren’t making enough plays. They were. Give them credit.”

It didn’t take long for the Bulldogs to strike.

Andrew Miller blocked a Greg Coburn left-point drive. The puck caromed into the neutral zone, where Sean Backman had a step on Coburn and got to it. Backman skated in alone on goalie Keith Kinkaid and put a backhander past him 45 seconds into the game.

Luke Cain got that one back for Union at 3;05, sending a soft wrist shot from the slot past goalie Nick Maricic. But, in what was the theme for the night, Brian O’Neill got behind Union defensemen Ryan Forgaard and Shawn Stuart and got to the net, where he got a pass from Miller and flipped it over Kinkaid’s left shoulder.

“We weren’t winning battles,” said Cain, whose goal was his third in five games. “We weren’t moving our feet very well. It seemed like they wanted the puck more. I don’t know why. We have to improve that [tonight at Brown].”

Still, the Dutchmen were able to stay with the Bulldogs. Union, which scored just two goal on 88 shots in two games last weekend, got its second goal against Yale on its fourth shot of the game. Senior Jon Lareau, playing in his 56th career game, scored his first college goal. He tapped in a loose puck past goalie Nick Maricic at 3:03 of the second period.

“That was nice,” Lareau said. “I thought it would have gotten the team going.”

Brendan Mason snapped the tie on a goal at 12:59 that came under video review after the Dutchmen thought the puck was knocked in with the glove. After a five-minute review, the goal stood.

Yale carried the momentum from that goal into the third. At one point, the Dutchmen took four straight penalties from late in the second to early in the third. The last one, a holding penalty to Mike Wakita, proved costly as Mason scored on the power play at 6:44 of the third.

John Simpson made things interesting when he scored with 1:01 left in the game. But in a fitting ending, it took Union 28 seconds after that goal to get Kinkaid out for an extra attacker because Yale made it difficult for the Dutchmen to come out of their zone. “We didn’t have poise with the puck,” Leaman said. “Our ‘D’ were throwing it away. We weren’t poised in making plays.”

Union 1 1 1 — 3

Yale 2 1 1 — 4

First Period — 1, Yale, Backman 13 (Miller), :45. 2, Union, Cain 3, 3:05. 3, Yale, O’Neill 9 (Miller, Matczak), 5:56. Penalties — Donald, Yale (holding), 7:20; Forgaard, Uni (tripping), 12:29; Matheson, Uni (hooking), 16:00.

Second Period — 4, Union, Lareau 1 (Cain, Bodie), 3:03. 5, Yale, Mason 5 (Anderson, Kearney), 12:59. Penalties — Walters, Uni (boarding), 10:57; Jaskowiak, Yale (hooking), 15:24; Valery-Trabucco, Uni (interference), 15:58; Cain, Uni (boarding), 19:06.

Third Period — 6, Yale, Mason 6 (Martin, Kearney), 6:44 (pp). 7, Union, J. Simpson 4 (Valery-Trabucco, Schreiber), 18:59. Penalties — Schreiber, Uni (holding), 1:58; Wak­ita, Uni (holding), 6:07; Anderson, Yale (interference), 8:46; Matczak, Yale (slashing), 10:56; Little, Yale (boarding), 14:19.

Shots on Goal — Union 3-10-12 — 25. Yale 16-12-12 — 40.

Power-play opportunities — Union 0 of 5; Yale 1 of 7.

Goalies — Union, Kinkaid 7-4-2 (40 shots-36 saves). Yale, Maricic 5-2-2 (25-23).

A — 3,500. T — 2:20.

Referees — Bryan Hicks, Harry Dumas. Linesmen — Frank Murphy, Dan Taggart.

Categories: College Sports

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