Engineers, Dutchmen in pursuit of ECACH scoring championship

With three weeks left in the regular season, not only are the ECAC Hockey standings tight, but so is
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With three weeks left in the regular season, not only are the ECAC Hockey standings tight, but so is the league scoring race.

And there is a very good chance that a player from either Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute or Union wins the scoring title.

The Dutchmen and Engineers each have two players in the top five in scoring. Leading the way is RPI junior forward Chase Polacek, who has 10 goals and 16 assists. Union senior forward Mario Valery-Trabucco is a point behind with 14 goals and 11 assists.

Engineers freshman forward Brandon Pirri is fourth in scoring with eight goals and 27 assists. Dutchmen senior forward Jason Walters is in a four-way tie for fifth place with six goals and 13 assists.

“I’m happy that Chase is up there,” RPI coach Seth Appert said. “I’m happy for our team and our program, and I’m happy for Chase. I’m happy that Brandon’s up there.

“I think it’s great for Union to have Valery-Trabucco and Walters up there. But I know Chase would trade a scoring title for five or six wins down the stretch.”

The last time an RPI player won the league scoring title was in 2001-02, when Marc Cavosie finished with 30 points on 17 goals and 13 assists, edging teammate Matt Murley by two points.

Since then, the Engineers have had only two players make the top five in league scoring. Kevin Croxton finished tied for third with 26 points (13 goals, 13 assists) in 2003-04, and Polacek tied for fourth with 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) last season.

“It would be good to have a Cap­ital Region [player win a] scoring title,” said Polacek, who has 101 career points. “It would be even better if it was me or Brandon, and not one of those guys across town. We’re trying to do our best.”

Valery-Trabucco pulled close to Polacek after a seven-point effort last weekend against Clarkson and St. Lawrence. He had three goals and two assists in the 11-2 rout of Clarkson last Friday, and added a goal and an assist in the 4-2 victory over St. Lawrence the next night.

Valery-Trabucco, who has 104 career points, was named ECAC Hockey player of the week on Monday, and earned Inside College Hockey’s national player of the week on Tuesday.

“It’s good to know that the teams around here who, for so long, haven’t had that much recognition, are getting to be known,” Valery-Trabucco said. “It’s good to know we’ve got some talent around here.”

Union has not had a player finish in the top five in scoring since becoming a Division I program in 1991. Walters became the first Dutchmen to finish in the top 10 when he came in a tie for ninth last season with 10 goals and 11 assists.

“It’s good for the programs,” said Walters, who has 108 career points. “I think those two guys over there are having a great year, especially Chase. He’s leading in almost every category. He’s quite the dynamic player. And Mario’s having a great year here.

“It just goes to show the depth on both teams. You can’t be a one-line team and have success.”

Local update

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

— Boston College freshman defenseman Patch Alber (Clifton Park) was part of the Eagles’ 4-3 victory over Boston University on Monday to win the Beanpot tourn­ament title.

— RPI senior defenseman Laura Gersten (Queensbury) had an assist in the Engineers’ 3-1 upset victory of ECACH-leading Clarkson last Friday.

— St. Lawrence senior forward Tara Akstull (Clifton Park) scored a goal to help the Saints beat Union, 5-0, last Friday. She picked up an assist in the Saints’ 3-1 triumph over RPI last Saturday.

Pink at the Rink

The Union women’s hockey team hosts the third annual “Pink at the Rink” tonight, when the Dutchwomen face Dartmouth at Messa Rink at 7. It supports the American Cancer Society.

Admission is free to fans who make a donation to the American Cancer Society, and donations will be collected in the main lobby. In addition to making a donation, fans receive raffle tickets to win prizes.

In the past two seasons, Union College’s women’s ice hockey team has raised nearly $16,000 for the American Cancer Society.

Union men’s banquet

The Union men’s hockey banquet will take place Sunday, April 18, at 6 p.m. at the Glen Sanders Mansion in Scotia.

The cost is $27 for Garnet Blades members, and $35 for non-members.

For more information, contact Union hockey administrative assistant April Boniewski at 388-6288, or [email protected]>.

Categories: College Sports

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