SCHENECTADY — In his second game as the interim head coach, Union men’s hockey assistant coach John Ronan was more comfortable than he was in Game 1.
Ronan will continue his role as acting head coach Wednesday night when the Dutchmen head to Hanover, New Hampshire, to take on Dartmouth at 7 p.m. at Thompson Arena. The game was originally scheduled for Jan. 7, but Dartmouth postponed the game because of COVID-19 health-and-safety protocols within its program.
Union Athletics didn’t make Ronan or players available to the media prior to Wednesday’s game because of travel reasons.
It has been nearly a week since the 38-year-old Ronan was named the acting head coach. He is running the team in place of head coach Rick Bennett, who was placed on paid administrative leave Thursday after a complaint was filed against him the day before. A Union Athletics spokesperson said there was no update on Bennett’s status.
Ronan guided the Dutchmen to a 3-1 win on Friday at Messa Rink. Afterwards, he admitted there were some nerves running the team. He had to do it alone because fellow assistant coach TJ Manastersky missed the game because he was in COVID-19 protocol.
Ronan was more comfortable Saturday because Manastersky was back on the bench. The Dutchmen got a point in a 3-2 overtime loss to Yale.
“[I was] maybe a little more relaxed,” Ronan said after Saturday’s game. “It was good to have TJ there. I had too much free space on the bench [Friday] night. It was good to have TJ around. It was good to bounce things off [of] between periods and during the game. It was pretty smooth sailing.”
Dutchmen defenseman Brandon Estes said Ronan did well.
“We all have a good relationship with him,” Estes said, “He’s a good coach. We trust him. He’s a great guy. We’re happy to have him. He’s in control. He’s a Division I hockey coach. He knows what he’s doing.”
Union senior forward Josh Kosack is one of 11 nominees for the Hockey Humanitarian Award, it was announced Tuesday. Kosack was a finalist for the award last year.
Kosack founded Kozi’s Kids in 2018, an initiative that gives local Schenectady children a chance to experience a college hockey game, many for the first time. Last year, Kosack raised over $5,240 for Christmas presents for kids in Schenectady, Albany, and Troy. This season, Kosack conducted a fundraiser to help with improvements to the COCOA House in Schenectady. The COCOA House purchased the house next door in order to turn it into a teen center for the youth in the area. With help from community leaders, teammates, Union alumni and school administrators, the project has raised over $40,000, double the goal Kosack set.
Kosack is the second Union player to be nominated twice, joining defenseman Sebastien Gingras (2015 and 2016).
Four other Union men’s players have been nominated — Jeff Wilson (2002), Olivier Bouchard (2007), Stephanie Boileau (2011) and Cole Ikkala (2014). Wilson was a finalist.
Two Union women’s players have been nominated — Jamie Laubisch (2005) and Ashley Johnston (2014).
Also nominated Wednesday was RPI women’s defenseman Hannah Price. She is a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee for the last two years. Price has helped expand the group’s efforts to improve the RPI community and surrounding area, including a co-sponsored blood drive with the American Red Cross. She has participated in the National Girls & Women in Sports Day, teaching basic hockey skills to area youth, who may not otherwise have the opportunity. She also participated in a mentoring program with Troy School 14, meeting weekly over Google Meets with her reading partner, offering motivation, comprehension and fluency during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The finalists will be announced in February. The winner will be named April 8 at the Frozen Four in Boston.
How strange is it for Union to be playing on a Wednesday?
You have to go back to the 2013-14 season. The Dutchmen played on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2013. Ironically, Dartmouth was the opponent. Union earned a 3-2 victory at Messa Rink. Nick Cruice and Michael Ponatarelli scored third-period goals to help the Dutchmen erase a 2-1 deficit. Goalie and Niskayuna native Colin Stevens made 37 saves.
The Big Green is in last place in the conference with a 2-7-1 record for eight points. They are 3-11-2 overall.
Reid Cashman, a former standout defenseman at Quinnipiac, is in his first season as head coach of the Big Green. He replaced Bob Gaudet, who retired after the 2019-20 season following a 32-year head coaching career — nine at Brown and 23 at Dartmouth.
Former Union associate head coach Jason Tapp is on Cashman’s staff.
Forward Shawn Chisholm leads the Big Green in scoring with four goals and seven assists. Forward Mark Gallant is the top goal scorer with six.
The Big Green is coming off a 3-1 loss to St. Lawrence on Saturday. They are 0-3-1 in their last four games.
Union leads the all-time series 31-24-7. The Dutchmen are 13-14-2 at Thompson Arena.
The Big Green won the last meeting, 5-3, on Feb. 28, 2020. That snapped a nine-game losing streak against the Dutchmen.