Ryan’s first goal is a big one for Union

Freshman defenseman scores the game-winner as Dutchmen get past Clarkson 3-2
Union's Michael Ryan takes a shot against Clarkson. He later scored the game-winning goal.
Union's Michael Ryan takes a shot against Clarkson. He later scored the game-winning goal.

SCHENECTADY — The Union men’s hockey team had an answer for everything at Messa Rink Saturday night.

Clarkson tied the game in the third period, and the Dutchmen responded.

In the bigger picture, RPI swept Union last weekend, and the Dutchmen responded this weekend.

Freshman defenseman Michael Ryan of Marion, Mass., scored his first college goal, and it was a big one, putting Union ahead 3-2 at 5:19 of the third period. That’s how it stood at the final buzzer, as Union improved to 6-2-1 overall and swept Saint Lawrence and Clarkson to even its ECAC Hockey record at 2-2.

“It’s about as good a response as we could ask for,” Union captain Cole Maier said. “We had a good week of practice, for sure, and the league points are tough to come by, so you have to make the most of all the chances you get.”

Ryan did that in the third period, finishing a 2-on-1 rush with Zach Emelifeonwu that started with a big hit by Brendan Taylor in Union’s defensive end.

Ryan gave it to Emelifeonwu, who gave it back, and Ryan beat Golden Knights goalie Jake Kielly between the legs for a 3-2 lead.

Kielly headed to the bench for an extra skater with just under two minutes to play, but Clarkson couldn’t get the equalizer against a team that took some extra emphasis on blocking shots out of assistant coach John Ronan’s scouting report.

The Dutchmen outshot the Golden Knights 29-15, while blocking 17 shots attempted.

“I was just trying to get the puck on net. I saw the five-hole,” Ryan said. “You try not to think of that stuff when you’re playing and put the team first. But getting it off your back is big, and doing it in a big game like that, it’s definitely a nice night.”

“We thought it would be a chip-and-chase game, especially going into that third,” Union head coach Rick Bennett said. “Which team is going to try to get the puck deep and be happy with being good versus cute?

“I thought we won that battle there, and Mike Ryan has excellent feet and it was a great play by Mo. If you’re going to get your first goal, I think we’ll take that one.”

Clarkson (1-1-0, 4-3-0) took a 1-0 lead at 6:03 of the first period on Connor McCarthy’s shot that trickled past goalie Jake Kupsky, hit the padding just inside the right post and rebounded back out.

The Dutchmen took a 2-1 lead after two periods on goals by Ryan Walker and Brett Supinski, both on the power play.

Kielly stopped a slap shot by Sebastian Vidmar from the right circle, but Walker was able to get his stick on the rebound and slide it in at 2:15.

Supinski put a wrist shot past Kielly at 10:00 while Union had a 5-on-3 advantage.

Clarkson tied it at 2-2 seconds after Jack Jacome got out of the penalty box to send Nico Sturm in behind the Union defense. Sturm’s fourth goal of the season came at 3:18 of the third, but Ryan put the Dutchmen back on top 2:01 later in a game that had a playoff-like atmosphere, at least for early November.

“Our crowd support was incredible tonight, and our team is very appreciative of that,” Bennett said. “I think that kind of helped us in the third period. We stayed with it in the third and didn’t take a penalty, which was key, to see how we can go into a third period and be detailed and disciplined.”

Clarkson 1 0 1 — 2

Union 0 2 1 — 3

First period — 1, Clarkson, McCarthy 1 (Thow, Egle), 6:03 (pp). Penalties — Taylor, U (slashing), 5:50; Hurley, C (roughing), 9:59; Rinaldi, U (roughing), 9:59; Sturm, C (cross-checking), 9:59; Maier, U (cross-checking), 16:31.

Second period — 2, Union, Walker 3 (Vidmar, Supinski), 2:15 (pp). 3, Union, Supinski 3 (Estes, Vidmar), 10:00 (pp). Penalties: Hurley, C (hooking), :33; Clarkson bench (too many men on the ice), 8:19; Moro, C (holding), 8:47; Schneider, C (major-cross-checking, game misconduct), 15:10; Rinaldi, U (roughing), 15:10; Dunne, C (holding), 16:03; Adams, U (cross-checking), 17:04; Maier, U (tripping), 18:28.

Third period — 5, Union, Ryan 1 (Emelifeonwu), 5:19. Penalties — Jacome, C (cross-checking), :52.

Shots on goal — Clarkson 5-5-5 — 15. Union 6-13-10 — 29.

Power-play opportunities — Clarkson 1 of 4. Union 2 of 7.

Goaltenders — Clarkson, Kielly 4-3-0 (29 shots-26 saves). Union, Kupsky 4-1-1 (15-13).

T — 2:22. A — 2,088.

Referees — Bryan Hicks, Anthony Kenney. Linesmen — Ryan Knapp, Matt Brady.

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Mike MacAdam at 518-395-3146 or [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @Mike_MacAdam.

Categories: -Sports-, College Sports

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