A tip of the cap should go to the Union College men’s hockey team’s power play during Saturday’s 3-3 tie against Colorado College at Messa Rink.
The Dutchmen scored two power-play goals on deflections by sophomore forward Liam Robertson and junior forward Chad Smedsrud. Robertson was standing in front of the net late in the first period when senior defenseman Brad Estes took a shot from the high slot. Robertson stuck his stick out and tipped the puck past Tigers goalie Dominic Basse’s glove side, giving Union a 1-0 lead.
“That’s something that’s been a mainstay of this program,” Union head coach Rick Bennett said after the game. “We’re just trying to build upon it, and [Saturday], it worked in our favor. It’s great to see.”
Smedsrud’s power-play goal tied the score 2-2 at 7:03 of the second. On the play, Smedsrud was in the left side of the right circle when he got his stick on Estes’ right-point shot.
“That’s something we work on after practice,” Smedsrud said. “When all the drills are over, we’ll work on tipping pucks. It’s just one of those little things that can come in handy. Obviously, we got two [Saturday] off it, so it’s something we will keep doing.”
Robertson said: “It’s really what we’re there for, standing in front of the net, trying to create traffic, get a tip, goalie doesn’t see it [and the puck] goes the other way. We executed pretty good.”
Union junior goalie Connor Murphy made 35 saves in Saturday’s game. But the Hudson Falls native struggled with his rebound control in the second period, and that led to the Tigers’ three goals.
“You’re seeing so many shots,” Bennett said. “You’re not going to, I guess, take them all in and not not leave rebounds, so that’s where we, as a team, we’re trying to help him out. I think at times, we did, and obviously on the goals, we didn’t.”
Union set season-highs for goals (three) and shots on goal (25) in a game. The 25 shots marked the first time the Dutchmen cracked the 20 shots-on-goal mark.
“We’re trending in the right direction every game,” Robertson said. “We’re just going to keep going up from here.”
Union sophomore forward Brad Scheerer didn’t play in Saturday’s game after he was given a five-minute major for kneeing and a game misconduct in the third period of Friday’s 2-1 win over Colorado College. Scheerer collided with Tigers forward Noah Prokop in the Tigers’ left circle. Prokop was helped off the ice and later diagnosed with a bruised hip.
Bennett said Scheerer was a healthy scratch and not suspended by ECAC Hockey. Several years ago, the league made the decision that it would not announce player suspensions, so it was a bit curious if Scheerer had been secretly suspended if the league reviewed the hit.
“That wasn’t malicious by any means,” Bennett said. “Sometimes, as we call it in hockey, when you go straight at a guy, we call it nose-to-nose. Usually, it’s not going to be good for you, and I mean the guy that’s coming at you without the puck. That’s exactly what happened because you react, and sometimes the leg comes out.”
Although he didn’t record his victory as Colorado College head coach, former Union goalie Kris Mayotte enjoyed his return back to campus.
He got emotional talking about that at the end of Saturday’s postgame press conference.
“It would have been incredible,” Mayotte said about getting his first win at his former home. “But just being here, you talk about full circle, this place is special. It’s really important to me. It was a blast to come here and coach.
“This place changed my life. There are a lot of people who had a big hand in that.”
SEE YOU NEXT YEAR
Union will visit Colorado College next season. The dates have not been set.
The Dutchmen were scheduled to play at Colorado College last season, but their season was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.