Cornell jumps on Union penalties

All season long, the Union College men’s hockey team has been disciplined. But against Cornell in th

All season long, the Union College men’s hockey team has been disciplined. The Dutchmen were the least penalized team in ECAC Hockey this season.

But against Cornell in the ECAC Hockey tournament championship game on Saturday night, the Dutchmen found themselves in the penalty box too many times, and it cost them a chance at winning a championship.

Third-seeded and 15th-ranked Union took eight penalties, and second-seeded and seventh-ranked Cornell scored on two power plays, sparking the Big Red to a 3-0 victory at the Times Union Center.

“It [stinks]. It’s a [bad] feeling,” said Union senior center Jason Walters, who ends his career as the Dutchmen’s all-time Division I leading scorer with 115 points. “It’s not something you want to exper­ience every day.”

It’s the 12th title for the Big Red (21-8-4), and will be the last one in the TU Center for a while. Next season, the tournament moves to Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall for a three-year run.

Cornell, which got 32 saves from tournament Most Outstanding Player Ben Scrivens, clinched an automatic bid for the NCAA tournament, and could return to the TU Center next weekend for the East Regional, which starts Friday.

Union’s best season in its 19-year Division I history finishes at 21-12-6. It was a disappointing end because of the penalties.

The Dutchmen were the least-pen­alized team in league play at 9.3 minutes per game, and were averaging just 10.5 minutes per game overall coming into the final.

But against the Big Red, the Dutchmen couldn’t avoid staying out of the box.

“The guys have done a tremendous job with [being disciplined] all year,” Union coach Nate Leaman said. “I just think we got over-emot­ional at times. I thought a lot of the penalties were just because we were a little over-emotional. Sometimes, you want it too much. You go out and try a little too hard instead of taking a deep breath and keeping your composure.

“I thought three or four of the penalties were very uncharacteristic for us. The reason we got here is we didn’t take penalties like that. It’s tough for us to take them tonight.”

One penalty that seemed out of character was Walters sticking his knee out to trip Joe Scali at center ice early in the third period.

“Maybe we were a little over-emotional,” Walters said. “Maybe [there were] questionable calls. It seemed like everything went against us tonight. But it’s a game, and you have to battle your way through it. Tonight just wasn’t our night.”

A hitting from behind penalty against the Dutchmen’s Jeremy Welsh in the Cornell zone gave the Big Red their second power play of the first period. They made the Dutchmen pay.

Ryan Roeszler was behind the net when he sent a pass out in front to goalie Keith Kinkaid’s left. Kinkaid leaned a little to his right, and that gave Joe Devin an opening to lift the puck over Kinkaid’s left shoulder with 4:51 left in the period.

“In games like this, you have to learn to keep your head,” said senior forward Mario Valery-Trabucco, who finishes as Union’s all-time leader in goals in a season (23) and a career (59). “We lost it a few times, and got those call on us. They cap­italized, and that’s what made the difference.”

Another bad penalty the Dutchmen took was for too many men on the ice with 4:19 left in the second period. Cornell kept the puck in the Union zone the entire power play, and Sean Whitney eventually scored with 2:35 left in the period.

“I don’t know if all the penalties were blatant penalties,” Union jun­ior defenseman Brock Matheson said. “But nonetheless, we came out a little emotional. There were periods where we weren’t moving our feet. We just got called for penalties.”

Meanwhile, Union’s power play could never get going. It was 0-for-5, and managed just six shots in goal. Cornell had 17 shots on goal on its eight power plays.

“They have the best penalty-kill forecheck in the league, and they have best goaltender in the league,” Leaman said. “It’s a tough forecheck to penetrate. I thought in the third period, we did that, but we didn’t want to set it up real well. We kept taking quicker shots when we should have been a little more poised, a little bit more patient and settle down and settle in in what we wanted to do.”

Union 0 0 0 — 0

Cornell 1 1 1 — 3

First Period — 1, Cornell, J. Devin 9 (Roeszler, M. Devin), 15:09 (pp). Penalties — Schreiber, Uni (hooking), 10:57; Welsh, Uni (hitting from behind), 13:32; B. Nash, Cor (high-sticking), 15:57; Boileau, Uni (interference), 17:31.

Second Period — 2, Cornell, Whitney 3 (R. Nash, B. Nash), 17:25 (pp). Penalties — Cain, Uni (goalie interference), 3:39; Coburn, Uni (cross-checking), 8:42; M. Devin, Cor (high-sticking), 12:36; Union bench, served by Yanovitch (too many men), 15:41.

Third Period — 3, Cornell, Kennedy 7, 19:43 (en). Penalties — Walters, Uni (tripping), 1:12; Nichols, Cor (goalie interference), 7:32; Welsh, Uni (tripping), 10:30; J. Devin, Cor (hitting from behind), 10:43; Greening, Cor (holding), 15:25.

Shots on Goal — Union 11-8-13 — 32. Cornell 12-12-10 — 34.

Power-play opportunities — Union 0 of 5; Cornell 2 of 8.

Goalies — Union, Kinkaid 12-8-3 (33 shots-31 saves). Cornell, Scrivens 21-8-4 (32-32).

A — 6,505. T — 2:15.

Referees — Peter Feola, Tim Kotyra . Linesmen — Glen Cooke, Dave Brown.

Categories: College Sports

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