Union hockey team continues to have power outage

Union’s penalty kill was perfect against Maine. The Dutchmen’s power play was not.
Blaine Byron of Maine tries to control the puck in front of Union goalie Alex Sakellaropoulos at Messa Rink Friday, October 16, 2015.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Blaine Byron of Maine tries to control the puck in front of Union goalie Alex Sakellaropoulos at Messa Rink Friday, October 16, 2015.

Union’s penalty kill was perfect against Maine.

The Dutchmen’s power play was not.

When the Dutchmen look at the tape of Friday’s 1-1 non-conference tie against the Black Bears on Friday at Messa Rink, they will be happy with the way they killed off six Maine power plays.

“The penalty kill, we did what we practiced all week,” junior center Eli Lichtenwald said. “Guys bought into it, and they were on the puck right away. It was good to see that was a plus from tonight.”

But they will be chagrined when they see how anemic the power play looked. The Dutchmen were 0-for-5 with the man advantage, and had just five shots on goal.

“We couldn’t get shots,” Lichtenwald said. “Give Maine a lot of credit. We know we’ve got a good power play. Give them credit for their kills tonight.”

Through three games, the Dutchmen (1-0-2) are perfect on the penalty kill, stopping all 11 opponent’s power plays. So far, it’s a marked improvement over last year, when Union killed off just 80.3 percent (110-for-137) of the power plays.

“Our PK has been good to this point,” sophomore right winger and Guilderland native Tyler Hynes said. “We’ve been putting a lot of work in on it, disrupting them a little bit coming up the ice and not letting them set up.”

Give junior goalie Alex Sakel­laropoulos some credit. He stopped all 12 of Maine’s power-play shots on goal on his way to a 32-save night.

“I thought he was steady tonight,” Union coach Rick Bennett said. “It was just a good, steady performance.”

Meanwhile, the Dutchmen’s power play, which had scored over 20 percent of the time for four straight years (2010-14), slipped to 19.7 percent (36-for-83) last season, the first year without defensemen Mat Bodie and Shayne Gostisbehere running it from the point.

In the first three games of this young season, Union is a paltry 1-for-15.

“I think we had some chances on it,” Bennett said. “It wasn’t like it was heinous by any means. I just think they’ve got to start to listen more. And it’s still early. You’ve got five guys you’re trying to do certain plays [and] to adjust. It’s going to take some time.”

Union’s final power play of the game, courtesy of Maine having too many men on the ice, underscored its woes.

With just under a minute left, a shot from the slot by sophomore center Spencer Foo hit the back of freshman right winger Brett Supinski’s helmet. Then, as time was winding down, instead of firing the puck to the net, the Dutchmen passed it around, looking for the perfect shot. The buzzer sounded, and they never got off a shot.

“It’s simple hockey,” Bennett said. “It wasn’t simple tonight. We didn’t want to chip it in. We were looking for the pretty goal. I’m not sure who we’re trying to impress. We didn’t impress anybody. It’s as simple as that.”

One line that was impressive was the line of Lichtenwald, Hynes and freshman left winger Brendan Taylor. They played with energy and scored Union’s only goal, with Taylor getting it.

“The ‘BLT Line’ worked extremely hard, and they got rewarded tonight,” Bennett said. “They get rewarded for hard work.”

Taylor had just finished serving a tripping penalty when he went to the net and put in the rebound of a Lichtenwald shot 4:27 into the second period.

Brian Morgan tied it for Maine (0-0-3) when he scored with 5:56 left in the third period and the teams skating four aside.

Maine 0 0 1 0 — 1

Union 0 1 0 0 — 1

First Period — None. Penalty — Perez, Maine (kneeing), 18:20.

Second Period — 1, Union, B. Taylor 1 (Lichtenwald, Hynes), 4:27. Penalties — B. Taylor, Uni (tripping), 2:10; Dufor, Uni (roughing), 8:51; Vecchione, Uni (holding), 18:04.

Third Period — 2, Maine, Morgan 2 (Tegeler, Becker), 14:04. Penalties —Vecchione, Uni (elbowing), :11; Renouf, Maine (interference), 2:37; Brassard, Uni (slashing), 3:58; Schurhamer, Maine (slashing), 5:03; Hamilton, Maine (boarding), 12:23; Brassard, Uni (cross-checking), 13:23; Maine bench, served by Vesey (too many men), 18:36.

Overtime — None. Penalties — None.

Shots on Goal — Maine 6-15-11-1–33. Union 8-12-8-1–29.

Power-play opportunities — Maine 0 of 6; Union 0 of 5.

Goalies–Maine, McGovern 0-0-2 (29 shots-28 saves). Union, Sakellaropoulos 1-0-2 (33-32).

A — 1,758. T — 2:31.

Categories: College Sports

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