SCHENECTADY — In the first two games of the season, no one on the Union College men’s hockey team wore the “C” as team captain or the “A” for alternate captain.
It will stay that way this weekend when the Dutchmen 1-0-1 visit UConn for a pair of games at XL Center in Hartford.
Junior forward Liam Robertson served as the team captain during Saturday’s 4-3 win over RIT at Messa Rink. Junior forward Tyler Watkins served in that role during Sunday’s 2-2 tie at Army West Point.
First-year Dutchmen head coach Josh Hauge would like a captain in a couple of weeks. That would be at the start of ECAC Hockey play against RPI.
“For us right now, I’m just still getting to know a lot of guys,” Hauge said at the team’s media availability at Messa Rink as the Dutchmen prepare to face UConn for two games this weekend at XL Center in Hartford. “We have a lot of new faces. This is kind of the first time we faced any adversity as a group, so I think it’s important to see how everybody reacts to that before we start making decisions. When you have so many new guys, it’s important to give them a chance to kind of get a feel for what veteran players might act like in a game.
“It’s one thing to lead a stretch or, go through a dynamic warmup and be in charge. But there’s another thing when you’re up against the team and now you have some adversity. … It’s all about trying to find the right person. We’ve just rotated on who’s who’s talking [to the officials] right now.”
Robertson doesn’t believe the Dutchmen have acting captains right now.
“Everybody’s got a role to do,” Robertson said. “Being a leader is helping out the younger guys and just kind of showing everyone the ropes. I think that’s really all we’re trying to do is trying to help our team in any way we can, and if that’s what we got to do, that’s what we got to do.”
Watkins was in the referee’s crease during a video review of a hit-from-behind major penalty by Army West Point’s Noah Wilson midway through the first period.
“I feel like [on] Saturday and Sunday, we might spend the closest one to coach,” Watkins said. “And on Sunday, [I was] just trying to get an explanation for the hit from behind and kind of see what they had called in the ice.”
Robertson and Watkins will still be the same players, whether or not they get a letter on their jersey or not.
“It wouldn’t change anything,” Robertson said. “Obviously, It’d be an honor for anybody to get it. But I don’t think whether getting it a ‘C’ or an ‘A’ or nothing at all really makes a difference on the play on the ice.”
“When captains are named, I don’t think it’s going to change anything,” Watkins said. “I think everyone plays the same way, and the voices in the locker room aren’t going to change. I think what we have going on right now is pretty good.”
The Dutchmen’s first-year players got off to a good start over the weekend.
The freshmen collected three goals and four assists, with Carter Korpi scoring twice, including the game-winner, against RIT.
If you include first-year Dutchmen forwards Chris Theodore and Josh Nixon, who both came to Union via the transfer portal, the total increases to four goals and eight assists. Nixon scored the goal that tied the score 3-3 in the third period against RPI. Theodore collected three assists. He was given an assist after the game on Korpi’s first goal of the contest.
“Anytime you’re coming into a new team as a first-year player, you want to be able to show that you can impact the game,” Hauge said. “Our guys all know that they can. They’ve done a great job in practice. Just to be able to get on the scoresheet early I think is important, and it gives them some more confidence and they know they can fit in right away.”