Dutchwomen have sights set on hockey playoffs

Last weekend, the Union women’s hockey team made history at Messa Rink, recording its first unbeaten

The Union women’s hockey team hasn’t had much to brag about in its first eight years at the Div­ision I level.

The Dutchwomen had won just three ECAC Hockey games. They got their first league victory in 2003-04, their first Division I season, and then went 0-115-4 in the next 119 league contests, a skid that stretched over six years.

But things are starting to look up for the Dutchwomen.

Last weekend, the team made history at Messa Rink, recording its first unbeaten ECACH weekend. The Dutchwomen defeated Clarkson, 2-1, on Friday, and earned a 2-2 tie against St. Lawrence.

“I think it was awesome to have our kids to play so well and rise to the occasion,” said Claudia Barcomb, who is in her sixth season as Union’s head coach. “It was great [to see] our team played together.”

The three-point weekend gave the Dutchwomen a 1-4-1 league record. The three standing points tie for the most the team has had in a season. And the Dutchwomen’s win over Clarkson, just their third against a league team, marked the earliest they had ever recorded a league victory during a season. The others were Cornell (Feb. 28, 2004) and Brown twice (Jan. 16, 2010 and Feb. 5, 2011).

“I think it gives our kids a lot of confidence,” Barcomb said. “When they decide to want to play together, and work hard and battle under a lot of adversity, then they’re going to be successful. It’s the beginning of our season, in a lot of ways, and there’s a lot of hills ahead of us. But it gives them a lot of confidence to understand what they’re capable of doing.”

The Dutchwomen (3-7-1 overall) have already won more games than they did last year, when they were 2-29-3. And it’s possible that they will win more than one league game this season. This weekend, they have road games against Yale and Brown. Yale is struggling (0-4 ECACH, 0-7 overall), having been outscored, 23-1, in league play and 44-5 overall. And there is the

recent success Union has had against Brown (0-2-2, 1-2-2).

But Barcomb doesn’t want to get into hypothetical situations.

“The biggest thing for us is if you look ahead, then you jump too fast,” Barcomb said. “One of the things we have to do is play 60 minutes each game, and play the best we can. I hope that means we win both [games]. If we play well, that’s what makes me the most happy.”

The Dutchmen have finished in last place in the 12-team league during their first eight years. If they continue to play well and win a few more games, getting one of the eight playoff berths may be a possibility.

“That’s our goal, and it has been our goal since we started in the fall,” Barcomb said. “There’s a long ways to go, and a lot of league games to win. With the passion our kids have now, that’s their No. 1 thing to think about.”

Senior goalie Kate Gallagher was a key role in last weekend’s success. She stopped 33 shots, including 16 in the third period, against Clarkson. She was 23 seconds away from getting a shutout.

Gallagher followed that up with a 52-save effort against St. Lawrence. She earned ECACH goalie of the week.

“Kate was injured at the beginning of the season, but had a great weekend,” Barcomb said.

Freshman forward Bryanne Panchuk leads the Dutchwomen in scoring with three goals and four assists.

“She’s had a good fall, so far,” Barcomb said. “We’re looking forward to getting her in stride. She scored some great goals. She scored an unbelievable goal against Syr­acuse [Oct. 21] to put us ahead, so it’s great to see recruited kids that we just brought in are making an impact on our program right away.”

Charity nights

The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute men’s and women’s teams will be conducting food drives, and the men will have a teddy bear toss over the next few days.

The men’s team will have a “Can the Bears” food drive when it hosts the Brown Bears at 7 p.m. Saturday. Fans are asked to bring non-perishable items to the game.

The women’s team will also have a food drive when the defending NCAA-champion Wisconsin Badgers visit on Nov. 18-19.

The food drive benefits Helping Hands Across America. Those making donations of two or more items will receive a coupon to the Moe’s Southwest Grill location on the RPI campus.

On Tuesday, the men’s team will have a teddy bear toss after the first period of the game against Union. Fans are encouraged to bring teddy bears, which will be donated to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation in Albany.

TV games

The RPI and Union men’s games against Yale will be on Time Warner Cable Sports-3 this weekend. The Engineers host the Bulldogs tonight at 7. Union’s game against Yale will be on at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

TWCS-1 will have the Air Force-RIT matchup at 7 tonight.

Fox College Sports Atlantic has Minnesota at Wisconsin at 8 tonight. The Big Ten Network will televise that matchup at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

CBS Sports Network has Boston University at Boston College at

4 p.m. Sunday.

Vaughan reaches 300

Colgate coach Don Vaughan earned his 300th career win last Friday when the Raiders beat Brown, 5-3. In his 19th season at Colgate, Vaughan is 300-299-69.

Vaughan is the 39th coach in NCAA Division I hockey history to earn 300 career wins, and the second in the ECACH to get it this season. Two weeks ago, Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet reached that milestone.

Home streak ends

Yale’s 6-2 loss to Cornell in its Ingalls Rink opener ended a 20-game unbeaten home-ice, regular-season unbeaten streak.

The Bulldogs went 19-0-1 at home since a 4-0 loss o RPI on Jan. 30, 2010.

Local update

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

u Boston College junior defenseman Patch Alber (Clifton Park) had an assist and was a plus-2 in the Eagles’ 5-1 victory over Maine last Friday.

u New Hampshire senior forward Mike Borisenok (Water­vliet) scored a goal last Friday as the Wildcats beat Massachusetts, 7-3.

Categories: College Sports

Leave a Reply