It’s rare to see the Union men’s hockey team playing on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. Unfortunately, the Dutchmen didn’t get the chance to do it this season.
Union was set to host defending NCAA champion UMass on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day at Messa Rink. But on Thursday, the school announced that the games were postponed due to health-and-safety protocols involving the Dutchmen. One of those games will be made up Jan. 18 at 7 p.m.
Friday’s game would have been Union’s first New Year’s Eve game in five years. Had Saturday’s game been played, it would have been the Dutchmen’s first New Year’s Day game in 11 years.
Union has played three times on New Year’s Eve, and twice on New Year’s Day, since becoming a Division I program in 1991.
Here’s a look at Union’s New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day history.
JAN. 1, 1992 AT MERRIMACK
Union, in its second season at the Division I level, dropped a 2-0 decision to Merrimack. Rod Atkinson scored twice for Merrimack, and goalie Mike Doneghey made 26 saves.
Union goalie Mike Gallant stopped 22 shots.
DEC. 31, 2010-JAN. 1, 2011 AT MINNEAPOLIS
The Dutchmen played in the University of Minnesota’s Dodge Holiday Classic. Union, ranked 12th in the country going into the game, drew the host and 19th-ranked Gophers in the first round.
The Dutchmen were tied 2-2 heading into overtime. Josh Jooris scored his second goal of the game 42 seconds into sudden-death overtime to give the Dutchmen a 3-2 victory, their first ever over Minnesota. (Union would get its second win over Minnesota in the 2014 NCAA title game).
Union faced Bemidji State in the Dodge Holiday Classic final. Matt Read scored twice to lead the Beavers to a 3-1 win. Daniel Carr had the Union goal.
The Dutchmen would lose just one more time in the regular season and won their first ECACH regular-season title.
DEC. 31, 2011 AT COLORADO COLLEGE
Union rang in 2012 in Colorado as it played at Denver on Dec, 30 (a 3-1 loss) before playing Colorado College in Colorado Springs on New Year’s Eve.
Second-period goals by David Civitarese and Nick Dineen helped the Tigers to a 2-1 win.
Wayne Simpson scored an extra-attacker goal with 40 seconds left in the game for the Dutchmen.
Union dropped to 9-5-5, but would go 17-3-1 the rest of the way, winning the ECAC Hockey regular-season and tournament titles and the NCAA hockey tournament East Regional to reach the Frozen Four for the first time in its Division I history.
DEC 31, 2016 VS. NORTH DAKOTA
North Dakota was the defending NCAA champion when it visited Messa Rink for the New Year’s Eve matchup. Austin Poganski had two goals and an assist to lead North Dakota to a 3-1 win.
Poganski opened the scoring 11 seconds into the game, beating goalie Alex Sakellaropoulos. The score remained that way until Poganski set up Shane Gersich for a goal 2:57 into the third period.
With Sakellaropoulos pulled for an extra attacker, Spencer Foo scored with 2:41 left to pull the Dutchmen within one. But Union couldn’t get a second extra-attacker goal as Poganski scored an empty-net goal with 24 seconds remaining.