SCHENECTADY — Puck possession is important in the 3-on-3 sudden-death overtime. Winning faceoffs is, too. Also, not turning the puck over is crucial.
Union didn’t have much puck possession against Yale in the extra session Saturday night at Messa Rink. The Dutchmen lost four of five faceoffs. And a turnover led to the Bulldogs’ game-winning goal.
Teddy Wooding took advantage of a Tyler Watkins turnover deep in the Union zone and scored the game-ending goal to give Yale a 3-2 ECAC Hockey victory.
“Turnovers are going to happen,” Union defenseman Brandon Estes said. “[But] you have so many chances in regulation. That’s where you definitely like to put it away. Overtime’s always a tougher pill to swallow.”
Yale (4-7-1 ECACH, 12 points; 5-10-1 overall) earned two points for the win. Union (5-7-1, 15 points; 7-12-3 overall) got one point for the OT loss.
But the Dutchmen will lament their inability to control the puck in OT. The Bulldogs outshot the Dutchmen 5-2 in the extra period.
The Dutchmen had one decent possession in the OT. Gabriel Seger had a breakaway with 3:02 left. But, the puck seemed to bounce on him as he went to the net. He did get a shot off that was stopped by goalie Luke Pearson.
“It starts with the faceoffs,” said Union assistant coach John Ronan, who was running the team for the second straight game in place of head coach Rick Bennett. Bennett was placed on paid administrative leave on Thursday after a complaint was filed against him Wednesday.
“It’s easy to possess. We had a little with [Colin] Graf and Seger there. We turned one over [and] went back the other way.”
Watkins was to the left of Union goalie Connor Murphy when he started up the ice. He was going up the center of the ice when Yale forward Niklas Allain, the son of Yale head coach Keith Allain, jabbed at Watkins stick. That knocked the puck off of Watkins stick.
Wooding picked up the puck on the left wing, creating a quick 2-on-1 with Allain and Union forward Liam Robertson trying to defend, but he lost an edge and fell down.
Wooding passed the puck to Allain on the right wing. Murphy stopped Allian’s shot, but the rebound tricked to Wooding on the left side, and he buried it into the open net at 2:54.
“Tyler’s normally sure-handed,” Ronan said. “It just caught him in a bad spot, and it was game over.”
Murphy did all he could to keep the score tied. But, he had no chance of stopping Wooding’s shot.
“It’s obviously frustrating for everybody,” said the Hudson Falls native Murphy, who made 29 saves. “I tried to make the save. I got unlucky. The rebound went right to [Wooding] backdoor. There’s nothing that anybody could have done. It was kind of a broken play. We’re just going to have to move on and learn from it and work on things this week to get better.”
The Dutchmen didn’t help themselves on Yale’s two second-period goals that Bulldogs forward Ian Carpentier took advantage of to give his team a 2-1 lead. That erased Union’s 1-0 lead from when Robertson scored a power-play goal with 14:34 left in the second.
“[We] just [have to be] harder on the puck,” Estes said. “Quicker decisions, just bearing down.”
Estes, who assisted on Robertson’s goal, tied the score early in the third period. He was in the right circle when he took a cross-ice pass from Watkins and fired a shot over Yale goalie Luke Pearson’s glove.
NO BENNETT UPDATE
Union athletic director Jim McLaughlin said there was no update on the status of Bennett. The investigation into the complaint filed against Bennett is ongoing.
“We put a statement out,” McLaughlin said in a telephone interview from the NCAA Convention in Indianapolis, where the NCAA approved legislation that will allow the Union men’s and women’s hockey programs to award athletic scholarships starting next season. “Obviously, there’s a process to all these different things, and we’ll just follow that process and we’ll update accordingly.”
Asked if the investigation will continue into the upcoming week, McLaughlin said: “To be determined. We want to make sure that we’re swift, but thorough as well.”
Yale 0 2 0 1 — 3
Union 0 1 1 0 — 2
First Period — None. Penalties — Yale bench, served by Johnson (too many men), 4:28; Robertson, Uni (interference, 9:55; Carpentier, Yale (boarding), 10:47.
Second Period — 1, Union, Robertson 8 (Estes, Graf), 5:26 (pp). 2, Yale, Carpentier 5 (Allain), 14:03. 3, Yale, Carpentier 6 (J. Pearson, Conroy), 16:17. Penalties — Seaman, Uni (interference), 2:00; Donhauser, Yale (high-sticking), 4:13; Allain, Yale (hooking), 18:25; Robertson, Uni (embellishment), 18:25.
Third Period — 4, Union, Estes 4 (Watkins, Anhorn), 5:23. Penalties — Young, Yale (interference), 12:50.
Overtime — 5, Yale, Wooding 5 (Allain), 2:54. Penalties — None.
Shots on Goal — Yale 7-12-8-5 — 32. Union 12-13-8-2 — 35.
Power-play opportunities — Yale 0 of 2; Union 1 of 4.
Goalies — Yale, L. Pearson 1-2-0 (35 shots-33 saves). Union, Murphy 7-11-2 (32-29).
A — 1,572. T — 2:17.
Referees — Brad Leblanc, Jason Williams. Linesmen — Michael Wrobel, Michael Noeth.