Schenectady County

Fans warm up to Fenway (with photo gallery, videos)

Anyone supporting the Union men’s hockey team left Fenway Park, the venerable home ballpark of the R
Union hockey fans watch the game against Harvard at Fenway Park on Friday.
Union hockey fans watch the game against Harvard at Fenway Park on Friday.

Lorraine Reidel of Schenectady wore six layers of clothing.

The college kids sitting behind her, none.

Either way, anyone supporting the Union men’s hockey team left Fenway Park, the venerable home ballpark of the Red Sox, with a warm feeling on Friday night.

This, despite 26-degree temperature and 25-mph wind blasting off Yawkey Way and Van Ness Street.

The Dutchmen defeated Harvard, 2-0, in the second half of a Frozen Fenway doubleheader before a chilly, chattering crowd of 8,981.

Sophomore Mat Bodie scored with 3.6 seconds left in the second period, Kelly Zajac scored early in the third period, and goalie Troy Grosenick stopped 18 shots for the shutout.

“It’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” Zajac said.

Perhaps two-thirds of the crowd were Union fans, clustered tightly on the first base side of the 37,000-seat stadium best known for World Series championships and the Green Monster wall in left field.

With the rink spanning lengthwise from first base to third, it was a highly unusual setting for a hockey game.


Post-game videos:

— Union right wing Wayne Simpson, who is from nearby Boxborough, Mass., on playing at Fenway Park. Click HERE

— Union goalie Troy Grosenick talks with the media about shutting out Harvard. Click HERE

— Ken Schott has the Harvard reaction. Click HERE

— Ken Schott has the Union postgame press conference after the 14th-rankeed Dutchmen beat Harvard, 2-0. Click HERE

It wasn’t long before it took on a familiar feel for the Union fans, who bellowed their trademark “U” during the national anthem opening line of “Oh, say can you see …”

The players wore eye black to fend off the glare of the huge banks of lights, and skate-generated shavings swept across the ice and rose in white wisps up and over the glass.

The game carried another familiar ring because the 14th-ranked Dutchmen maintained their winning ways to improve to 5-2-3 in the ECAC Hockey League and 11-5-6, while Harvard fell to 3-4-4 and 4-5-6.

Union junior Wayne Simpson, from nearby Boxborough, Mass., grinned and said he’s been to Fenway Park “a few times,” in an understatement.

He assisted on Zajac’s goal and had the added bonus of playing in the stadium that is home to his beloved Red Sox.

“A lot of people were anxious,” Simpson said. “We tried to focus on the game. It was a normal league game as long as you tried to zone out everything else. But you noticed that stuff. It’s hard not to.”

Reidel sat in the upper deck covered in six layers of clothing, the outermost of which was a Union jersey bearing the name and number of graduate Adam Presizniuk.

A few rows behind her, some Union students shed their layers down to their bare chests.

“I learned that a hockey jersey can cover a parka, and a hoodie, and …” she said from beneath a hood and tight scarf.

“It’s just a great opportunity for our hockey team to kind of get out of the Union bubble,” said fan Ian Schwartz, a senior at Union. “I think it says something about our program that we’re broadening our horizon to be able at a place like Fenway and other places across the country. And we’re winning those games and not getting embarrassed.”

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