Special teams help Union men’s hockey beat Merrimack 3-2

Sophomore forward Liam Robertson scored two power-play goals to help Union beat Merrimack 3-2 on Saturday.

Sophomore forward Liam Robertson scored two power-play goals to help Union beat Merrimack 3-2 on Saturday.

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — The Union College men’s hockey team’s special teams haven’t been that great so far in this season.

But on Saturday against Merrimack, the Dutchmen’s special teams came through.

Sophomore forward Liam Robertson scored a pair of power-play goals, including the game-winner, and the Dutchmen killed off all three Warriors power plays to pull out a 3-2 non-conference victory at Lawler Rink.

It was the second straight victory for the Dutchmen (4-7-2), who were off the last two weeks for their final exams for the first trimester.

Entering the game, Union’s power play was just 10 for 50 (20%), while the penalty kill was 33 for 45 (73.3%).

“[Assistant coach] John Ronan had the group going tonight, that was for sure,” Union head coach Rick Bennett said in a telephone interview after the game. “Liam Robertson was huge. He was in the right spot at the right time. It was kind of fun to see. We needed that, especially on the road.”

After a scoreless first period, Robertson gave the Dutchmen a 1-0 lead with his first power-play goal. Sophomore forward Tyler Watkins fired a shot from the top of the slot that was stopped by Merrimack goalie Hugo Ollas. The rebound was in the crease, and Robertson poked it home.

Merrimack (6-8) took 2-1 lead in the third period. Max Newton beat goalie Connor Murphy on a 2-on-1 at 7:51 to tie it, and Jordan Seyfert scored 1:35 later to give the Warriors the lead.

But the Dutchmen didn’t panic. Junior forward Gabriel Seger forced a turnover in the Merrimack right-wing corner. He sent the puck to Collin Graf in the slot, and the freshman forward, who grew up nearby Lincoln, Massachusetts, fired it home with 7:58 remaining to tie it.

“That was nice, especially for Collin, being so close to Merrimack and scoring in front of his family and friends was special,” Bennett said.

Just under two minutes later, Union got its sixth power play of the game when Matt Copponi was called for slashing. Robertson made Merrimack pay. He took a Chaz Smedsrud pass and put it past Ollas.

“We had pretty good jump in the first and second [periods],” Bennett said. “We kind wavered a little bit in the third, but we had a really good response. It was like their goals woke us up, and the boys really battled through some adversity in the third.”

Murphy made 20 saves to improve to 4-0 against Merrimack. The Hudson Falls native won three games against the Warriors last year while playing for Northeastern.

Union, which went 3-1-1 in November, returns to ECAC Hockey action next weekend against Princeton on Friday and third-ranked Quinnipiac on Saturday.

“We’ve got to be ready for Princeton,” Bennett said. “And then it doesn’t get any easier [with] Quinnipiac. But before we get to there, we’re going to

have to worry about Monday’s practice.”

Union 0 1 2 — 3
Merrimack 0 0 2 — 2
First Period — None. Penalties — Petruolo, Uni (cross-checking), 10:37; Drevitch, Mer (holding), 11:13; Copponi, Mer (hooking), 14:09.
Second Period — 1, Union, Robertson 4 (Watkins, Allen), 16:49 (pp). Penalties — Drevitch, Mer (high-sticking), 4:42; Watkins, Uni (tripping), 5:44; Kimens, Mer (hooking), 15:25; Uens, Mer (holding), 19:47.
Third Period — 2, Merrimack, Newton 7 (Jandric), 7:51. 3, Merrimack, Seyfert 1 (Messner, Carlile), 9:26. 4, Union, Graf 4 (Seger), 12:22. 5, Union, Robertson 5 (Smedsrud), 14:15 (pp). Penalties — Ferguson, Uni (kneeing), 4:25; Copponi, Mer (slashing), 14:02.
Shots on Goal — Union 5-8-9 — 22. Merrimack 5-6-11 — 22.
Power-play opportunities — Union 2 of 6; Merrimack 0 of 3.
Goalies — Union, Murphy 4-6-1 (22 shots-20 saves). Merrimack, Ollas 2-3-0 (22-19).
A — 1,746.
Referees — Eugene Binda Jr., AJ Potvin. Linesmen — Bob Bernard, Kyle Richetelle.

SCHENECTADY — Tamara Thierus’ tally 11 seconds into the third period snapped a 1-1 tie and ignited a three-goal outburst that helped the Wildcats beat the Dutchwomen in a non-conference game at Messa Rink.

Brianna Brooks and Maddie Truax also scored for New Hampshire (5-8-2), which completed a weekend sweep of Union. New Hampshire won 7-0 on Friday.

Paige Greco scored for Union (2-14-1), which is winless in its last 15 games.

New Hampshire 0 1 3 — 4
Union 0 1 0 — 1
First Period — None. Penalties — Greco, Uni (faceoff violation), 7:28; Groiuix, Uni (body checking), 11:15; Verrier, UNH (hooking), 11:21; Breton, UNH (interference), 17:34.
Second Period — 1, New Hampshire, Martin (Truter, Rynne), 14:34. 2, Union, Greco (Beaudoin, Suitor), 16:14. Penalties — Merlo, Uni (body checking), 3:37; Truter, UNH (boarding), 6:51; Rickwood, UNH (hooking), 17:40; Kelly, UNH (embellishment), 18:37; Matsoukas, Uni (tripping), 18:37.
Third Period — 3, New Hampshire, Thierus (Brooks), :11. 4, New Hampshire, Brooks (Truax, Thierus), 7:00. 5, New Hampshire, Truax, 14:16. Penalties — Truax, UNH (interference), 4:50; King, Uni (roughing), 15:56; Kelly, UNH (body checking), 18:26.
Shots on Goal — New Hampshire 9-7-8 — 24. Union 7-11-9 — 27.
Power-play opportunities — New Hampshire 0 of 4; Union 0 of 6.
Goalies — New Hampshire, Boutilier (27 shots-26 saves). Union, Matsoukas (24-20).
A — 147.
Referees — Tom Lynch, Peirce Marston. Linesmen — Michael Roberts, Matthew Potzeba.

TROY — Jenniina Nylund scored three times, including the game-winner with 11:01 left in the third period, to help the Huskies beat the Engineers in a non-conference game at Houston Field House.

Marah Wagner and Taylor Larsen scored for RPI (5-12), which got swept by St. Cloud State (6-7-1) in the weekend series.

St. Cloud State 1 1 2 — 4
RPI 0 2 0 — 2
First Period — 1, St. Cloud State, Scribner (Cornelius, Ness), 5:19. Penalties — Wolfe, SCS (tripping), 9:40; Ross, SCS (slashing), 10:12; Severson, RPI (cross-checking), 11:37.
Second Period — 2, St. Cloud State, Nylund, 5:02. 3, RPI, Wagner (Ri. Jahnke, Papineau), 11:22. 4, RPI, Larsen (Friis-Hansen, Blitz), 12:31. Penalties — Hall, SCS (hooking), 8:00.
Third Period — 5, St. Cloud State, Nylund (Gentry), 8:59. 4, St. Cloud State, Nylund, 19:26 (en). Penalties — Larsen, RPI (interference), 1:33; Papineau, RPI (holding), 8:59; Wolfe, SCS (cross-checking), 13:25.
Shots on Goal — St. Cloud State 12-13-9 — 34. RPI 5-7-16 — 28.
Power-play opportunities — St. Cloud State 0 of 3; RPI 0 of 3.
Goalies — St. Cloud State, Ahola (28 shots-26 saves). RPI, Rampado (33-30).
A — 28.
Referees — Jason Englehart, Will O’Malley. Linesmen — Matthew White, Mike Verminski.

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