Kinkaid comes up big in goal for Dutchmen

Making amends for a poor outing last week at Dartmouth, Keith Kinkaid had one of his best games of t

Keith Kinkaid looked dejected when he left Dartmouth’s Thompson Arena last Friday night.

Even though the Dutchmen rallied for a 5-4 win, Kinkaid wasn’t happy with himself. The freshman was pulled after allowing three goals on four shots in the first 6:07 of the game.

Kinkaid knew he had to practice better than he did last week, and the hard work paid off Friday against Princeton.

Kinkaid had one of his best games of the season, making 35 saves and helping the 16th-ranked Dutchmen clinch an ECAC Hockey tournament first-round bye with a 4-1 victory over the Tigers before a near-sellout crowd of 2,196 at Messa Rink.

“I thought Keith was our best player tonight,” Union coach Nate Leaman said. “I thought he played very well. [The Tigers] do a very good job of putting a lot pucks on the net. He wasn’t giving up many rebounds. I thought that was key.”

On a night when Mario Valery-Trabucco became Union’s Div­ision I all-time single-season point scorer, the third-place Dutchmen (11-4-4 ECACH, 17-8-6 overall) locked up their bye and will host the best-of-three quarterfinal series starting March 12. They have a four-point lead over fourth-place Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and six over fifth-place Colgate. RPI and Colgate play each other next Friday, and that benefits the Dutchmen, whose 11 league wins tie the team record set in 1996-97. In order to for Colgate to match Union’s point total, Colgate would have to defeat RPI, meaning that RPI, at best, could match Union’s point total. Union has the tiebreaker on RPI for winning the season series. Union and Colgate play each other next Saturday.

Kinkaid, who is 10-4-3 with a 2.61 goals-against average, steadied a Dutchmen team that seemed tight in the first 24 minutes of the game.

“It’s always good to come off that game like that,” Kinkaid said. “You have to prove yourself the night after.”

Leaman said after last Saturday’s 4-3 loss at Harvard that neither Kinkaid nor Corey Milan practiced well at all last week.

“Any time your opponent scores on three of the first four shots, even though I don’t really fault him on two of them, you have to change momentum there,” Leaman said. “We just talked about them having a good week of practice. [Kinkaid] came in an practiced, and competed all week all in practice. [Goalie] coach [Jason] Tapp actually took him and Corey out Monday for an extra goaltending session. I think that worked. He’s a freshman, and he’s still learning.”

Kinkaid’s best save came with 13:52 left in the second period. He quickly moved from right to left and made a pad save on a Jody Pederson one-timer from the right circle.

“Coach Tapp was working on that with us this week in practice,” Kinkaid said. “It showed. You play like you practice.”

Kevin Lohry ruined Kinkaid’s shutout bid on a goal with 5:17 left in the game. By then, Union had taken control of the game.

Valery-Trabucco converted a Princeton turnover into his 18th goal, and record-setting 39th point, at 4:10 of the second period. He broke Adam Presizniuk’s record of 38 points set last season.

“It feels good,” said Valery-Trab­ucco, who is two goals away from tying the team Division I record for goals in a season with 20, set by Chris Ford in 1993-94. “I don’t really know how it happened. I just got the puck on my stick, and shot it in. It’s a good feeling to know I got that record tonight.”

Jeremy Welsh made it 2-0 with 7:10 left in the second. John Simpson won a faceoff in the Princeton right circle. He slid it over to Stephane Boileau, who then found Welsh in the slot. He fired the puck past goalie Zane Kalemba.

Kyle Bodie gave the Dutchmen a three-goal lead on a wraparound shot midway through the third period.

Kelly Zajac scored an empty-net goal with 2:54 remaining to seal the victory.

“They’re very tough on the puck,” Princeton coach Guy Gadowsky said. “I think, if there’s a difference, it’s their strength on the puck. They scored a couple of goals because of that.”

Princeton 0 0 1 — 1

Union 0 2 2 — 4

First Period — None. Penalties — Matheson, Uni (tripping), 2:15; Meland, Pri (interference), 6:10; Fedun, Pri (tripping), 13:49; Wakita, Uni (holding), 17:26.

Second Period — 1, Union, Valery-Trabucco 18, 4:10. 2, Union, Welsh 6 (Boileau, J. Simpson), 12:50. Penalties — Boileau, Uni (tripping), 7:06; Forgaard, Uni (tripping), 13:26.

Third Period — 3, Union, Bodie 4 (Buote), 9:07. 4, Princeton, Lohry 4 (MacDonald), 14:43. 5, Union, Zajac 10 (Cain, Welsh), 17:06 (en). Penalties — Barltett, Pri (hooking), 3:19; Julseth-White, Uni (boarding), 6:17; Julseth-White, Uni (boarding), 18:33.

Shots on Goal — Princeton 13-12-11 — 36. Union 8-12-9 — 29.

Power-play opportunities — Princeton 0 of 6; Union 0 of 3.

Goalies — Princeton, Kalemba 6-9-3 (28 shots-25 saves). Union, Kinkaid 10-4-3 (36-35).

A — 2,196. T — 2:13.

Referees — Scott Whittemore, Eric Ernst. Linesmen — Mike Emanatian, Chris Piti.

Categories: College Sports

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