SCHENECTADY — Between injuries and players in COVID-19 health and safety protocol, there are chances for members of the Union College men’s hockey team to make an impact and earn a place in the lineup.
Freshman forward Andrew Seaman stepped up during the third period last Friday against St. Lawrence. He assisted on the tying goal and scored the winning tally in the Dutchmen’s 3-2 victory over the Saints at Appleton Arena.
“He’s done a nice job,” Union head coach Rick Bennett said on Tuesday. “He’s come in, and he’s had a great attitude all season long, even when he was out. He just kept working hard. And when he was put in, he really stayed true to his identity of working hard, finishing hits. When the opportunities came, he has produced. With that said, he’s been kind of a nice mainstay in the lineup. If he continues to do that, then he’ll stay in the lineup.”
Seaman came into last Friday’s game with a goal and an assist. The assist came in a 5-2 loss at Lake Superior State on Oct. 23. He scored his first collegiate goal against St. Lawrence on Nov. 6 at Messa Rink.
“It’s definitely important to take advantage of opportunities, especially for me as a young guy,” Seaman said. “I’ve got to sometimes wait for my opportunities. Once I get one, I’ve got to keep working hard and putting in good games so that Coach can eventually trust to put me in more often.”
Bennett said Seaman’s style of play is needed to be used by the rest of the Dutchmen.
“I like that it’s hard,” Bennett said. “I really believe that we’re all the same size on the ice if you have heart. What I mean by that is basically if you go into the corners with somebody who’s 6-4. Andrew’s 5-10. When he goes into the corners, he’s going to use his shoulder pads just as the guy who’s 6-4 [is] going to. If the guy who is 6-4 doesn’t use his shoulder pads, he’s going to be caught sleeping and Andrew is going to come away with the puck.
“I think that’s what we’re lacking a little bit, and I think he brings that to the table for our team. I think other guys should, hopefully, follow his lead with it.”
Seaman set up Gleb Murtazin’s game-tying goal with 6:11 left in the third period when he sent a pass to him about five feet out from the net.
On Seaman’s game-winning goal with 3:30 remaining, he drove the net to get a rebound of a Chaz Semdsrud shot and put it past goalie Francis Boistvert.
“Caden Villegas made a great play getting inside and getting the puck towards the net,” Seaman said. “Then Chaz threw it on net and got a good rebound. I was just there to clean it up. I was just glad that I could be in a good spot. Those guys made good plays and put me in a good spot, so it was obviously an exciting goal to get.”
After Friday’s game, Bennett said about the goal: “It’s stuff that you’ve been talking about all year long,” Bennett said. “To see a player rewarded for that is nice to see. Not only for the player who scores, but for his linemates involved within that play and his teammates. The bench was pretty excited after that.”
Seaman, who is from Winnetka, Illinois, came to Union after playing the last two years with the Prince George Spruce Kings of the British Columbia Hockey League. In a pandemic-shortened season last year, Seaman was third on the team in score with 10 goals and six assists in 17 games.
He had a visit to Union on Jan. 25, 2019. He saw the Dutchmen beat Yale that night 4-3 in overtime.
“Union was one of the first visits I went on, and I had a tour of the school,” Seaman said. “I got to see a really exciting game in person. It was an OT winner against Yale. To see the arena at full capacity with fans going crazy, it made me realize how exciting it could be to win at a place like this. That made the decision easy for me.”
Dutchmen goalie Connor Murphy said he is ready to go this weekend, when Union hosts Brown on Friday and Yale on Saturday.
The Hudson Falls native was pulled from last Saturday’s 8-0 loss at Clarkson after allowing three goals on five shots in the first period. Clarkson scored six times in the first period.
After the game, Bennett said Murphy wasn’t feeling well.
“I’m feeling a lot better now,” Murphy said. “Obviously, that was a tough game for everybody on Saturday. After allowing the three goals in the first period, I was kind of expecting to be pulled. I wasn’t feeling sick at all during that game, so it’s not really an excuse to go by. I’ve just got to be better prepared mentally at the beginning of the game.”