TROY — The defensive effort was much better for the Union men’s hockey team Friday night against RPI than it was last weekend, when it allowed 14 goals in two games against UMass.
But, two mistakes proved costly for the Dutchmen on the opening night of ECAC Hockey play.
Kyle Hallbauer and John Evans took advantage of those mistakes and turned them into goals to help the Engineers beat the Dutchmen 2-1, sending most of the sellout crowd of 4,700 at Houston Field House home happy.
It also sent the Dutchmen (0-1-0 ECACH, 0 points; 2-6-1 overall) to their fourth straight loss and sixth in the last seven games. Union will look to snap its losing streak when the two teams meet at Messa Rink at 7 p.m. Saturday.
“That’s the way the game works,” Union head coach Josh Hauge said. “There’s breaks and opportunities. They finished when we made a mistake. We had some opportunities to finish, and we didn’t. We have to get a few more guys to the net if we want to be successful. It’s hard to score in this league, and I think we’re learning that lesson.”
One particular play where Union failed to finish took place with 15:11 left in the third period on a give-and-go between Josh Nixon and Owen Farris. RPI goalie Jack Watson managed to get his right pad on it.
“In all honesty, I got pretty lucky on that play,” Watson said. “I think a good portion of the net was pretty open there. But you extend a little bit [and] you get a little lucky, and you take it and move on.”
That save protected RPI’s 2-0 lead, which came about by cashing in on its opportunities.
Hallbauer got the first one for the Engineers (1-0-0, 3 points; 5-1) with 8:31 left in the first period. Union forward Owen Farris was coming in on Hallbauer at the right point. It appeared that Farris lost his balance. Hallbauer moved past Farris and skated to the slot, where he fired a wrist shot past goalie Connor Murphy.
“I was just trying to find a lane to the net,” Hallbauer said. “And then when I looked up, their guy was way out of position. I went to the middle of the ice and just tried to shoot through legs. Fortunately, it went in.”
Farris explained his side of the play.
“I went down to block a shot,” Farris said. “You’ve got to take the lane away. I’m only so big, so take away 98% of it. But the puck found a way to get through. I talked to Murph about the balance between screening him and going to block shot, and we agreed that was the right thing to do.”
RPI’s other goal was a good play-bad play sequence for Union defenseman John Prokop.
Brendan Budy sent a pass to Sutter Muzzatti down the right wing, starting a 2-on-1 with Evans on the left side and with Prokop defending. Muzzatti tried to center a pass to Evans, but Prokop got a piece of it.
Prokop briefly had control of the puck, but then lost it to Evans, who beat Murphy glove side from the slow nearly 4 1-2 minutes into the second period.
“I had it in my skates. I read the pass pretty well,” Prokop said. “When I kicked it up to my stick, I looked up to make a pass and I just kind of just fanned on it, so it’s on me and I let Murph out to dry right there. It was pretty tough.”
Ben Tupker ended a 160-minute, 35-second goalless drought for Union with 8:32 left in the third period. Mason Snell was skating behind the left side of the RPI net when he centered the puck in front to Tupker, who redirected it past Watson.
“The whole shift, I think we dominated down low and won our battles, which was key for us,” Tupker said. “Snell made a great play coming on the wall, and he just found me and it happened to go in. It was great play by those guys all around.”
Union pulled Murphy for an extra attacker late, but couldn’t get the tying goal.
RPI head coach Dave Smith called the win gritty.
“It was tight checking,” Smith said. “The shots were down. I’m really happy with our compete. It wasn’t the same type of game that we’ve been playing. I feel pretty good that we found a way to come out on top of that.”
Union 0 0 1 — 1
RPI 1 1 0 — 2
First Period — 1, RPI, Hallbauer 1, 11:29. Penalties — None.
Second Period — 2, RPI, Evans 2 (Muzzatti, Buddy), 4:23. Penalties — Evans, RPI (tripping), 7:58; Farris, Uni (roughing), 12:27; Herrman, RPI (roughing), 12:27; Robertson, RPI (holding), 12:59.
Third Period — 3, Union, Tupker 2 (Snell, Robertson), 11:28. Penalties — Petruolo, Uni (tripping), 12:32; Lee, RPI, misconduct, 13:10.
Shots on Goal — Union 7-6-11 — 24. RPI 9-7-16 — 32.
Power-play opportunities — Union 0 of 1; RPI 0 of 2.
Goalies — Union, Murphy 2-5-1 (32 shots-30 saves). RPI, Watson 5-1-0 (24-23).
A — 4,700. T — 2:18.
Referees — Tom Steinel, Kevin Graber. Linesmen — Mark McGinnis, Ryan Knapp.
No. 10 CLARKSON 4, UNION 0
Sena Catterall scored twice to lead the 10th-ranked Golden Knights to a win over the Dutchwomen in the ECACH opener for both teams at Cheel Arena in Potsdam.
Anne Cherkowski and Jaden Bogden also scored for Clarkson (9-1-1 overall).
Goalie Sophie Matsoukas made 44 saves for Union (3-4 overall).
Union 0 0 0 — 0
Clarkson 0 1 3 — 4
First Period — None. Penalties — Clarkson bench (delay of game), 0:00.
Second Period — 1, Clarkson, Catterall (Hanson), 2:08. Penalties — Winn, Cla (tripping), 15:41; Hebert, Uni (tripping), 19:55.
Third Period — 2, Clarkson, Cherkowski (Lappan, Winn), 1:21 (pp). 3, Clakrson, Catterall, 4:00. 4, Clarkson, Bogdon (David, Markowski), 12:07. Penalties — None.
Shots on Goal — Union 2-5-5 — 12. Clarkson 12-14-22 — 48.
Power-play opportunities — Union 0 of 2; Clarkson 1 of 1.
Goalies — Union, Matsoukas (48 shots-44 saves). Clarkson, Pasiechnyk (12-12).
A — 442.
Referees — Zach Dupree, Matt Lowe. Linesmen — Coby Munson, Patrick Woodward.
ST. LAWRENCE 3, RPI 0
Julia Gosling had a goal and an assist to lift the Saints past the Engineers at Appleton Arena in Canton.
RPI 0 0 0 — 0
St. Lawrence 2 0 1 — 3
First Period — 1, St. Lawrence, Gosling (Eom), 7:40. 2, St. Lawrence, Hustler (Segedi, Gosling), 10:42. Penalties — None.
Second Period — None. Penalties — Kaiser, RPI, 9:21; Papineau, RPI (roughing), 16:34.
Third Period — 3, St. Lawrence, Jones, 11:07. Penalties — Segedi, StL (tripping), 8:46; Gosling, StL (cross-checking), 12:11; Teslak, StL (hooking), 18:45; Peterson, RPI (cross-checking), 19:30.
Shots on Goal — RPI 5-5-7 — 17. St. Lawrence 8-13-5 — 26.
Power-play opportunities — RPI 0 of 3; St. Lawrence 0 of 2.
Goalies — RPI, Rampado (26 shots-23 saves). St. Lawrence, Morgan (17-17).
A — 284.
Referees — Alexander Bergeron, Amanda Tasson. Linesmen — Matthew Berg, Larry Lagault.
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