Union defenseman Krug always ready to step in

Union junior defenseman Matt Krug has been the good soldier for the team.

Union junior defenseman Matt Krug has been the good soldier for the team.

He doesn’t play much, and he doesn’t complain about it. But when he is needed to play, Krug is ready to go.

Krug filled in admirably for injured senior defenseman Sebastien Gingras in the Dutchmen’s final three games of the regular season, and he’ll be ready just in case as the Dutchmen prepare to take on Cornell this weekend in the ECAC tournament best-of-three first-round series at Lynah Rink.

Game 1 is Friday, Game 2 is Saturday and Game 3, if necessary, is Sunday. All games start at 7 p.m.

Krug, who played in just 23 games in his first two years, had only seen the ice this season in practices. He was the No. 8 defenseman on the depth chart, and became the Dutchmen’s only backup defenseman when junior Noah Henry left the team in early February. That became critical when Gingras went down with an upper-body injury after blocking a puck with his helmet late in the Feb. 19 game against Princeton.

“It’s not that difficult,” Krug, a Buffalo native, said about waiting for his opportunity. “It’s good being around the guys. They help me out with the situation.

“It’s always important to be ready, just to be the next guy up to make a difference. Just be ready at all times.”

Krug knew what his role would be when he came to Union from the U.S. Hockey League’s Indiana Ice. It’s a role he has accepted.

“I expected to battle every day and compete for a spot, and just see what happens,” Krug said.

Union coach Rick Bennett isn’t a fan of the term “great kid.” But in the case of Krug, the term fits.

“What’s a great kid? When things aren’t going very well, how does he react?” Bennett said. “He really proved what a great kid he was throughout this season not playing, and then when his number was called, stepped in. He never pouted, and has just been a hockey player.”

Krug didn’t get a point, but he had a defensive rating of plus-1.

“I thought he kept it simple,” Bennett said. “He did what he was supposed to do. I have no problems with him at all.”

Krug’s teammates have enormous respect for how he has handled his situation.

“It takes a special guy to be able to do that,” senior co-captain Matt Wilkins said. “To be able to come to the rink every day and work as hard as he does, both in the weight room and in practice, I think that has a lot to do in how confident we are in him because he puts in that time when he’s not in the lineup. Everyone’s rooting for him.”

“With injuries, it’s important for those guys just to be ready when they’re number’s called,” sophomore alternate captain Ryan Scarfo said. “It speaks to their character for sticking with the team the whole year and having a good attitude throughout each and every practice. Obviously, it’s late in the year, but he finally gets his chance and has done a good job.”

Gingras, Supinski update

Bennett said that Gingras and freshman right winger Brett Supinski are still day-to-day. Like Gingras, Supinski was injured in the Princeton game when he slid hard into the boards behind the Tigers’ net on his first shift of the game.

“Let’s put it this way, they’re better than they were last week,” Bennett said. “But at this time, it’s just day-to-day.”

Categories: College Sports

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