SCHENECTADY — It’s tough enough to play a talented team like Harvard 5-on-5.
But if you give the Crimson a chance to play 4-on-4, then they can be difficult to stop. Union found that out Saturday night.
Sean Farrell and Matthew Coronato each scored a goal while playing 4-on-4 late in the second period, and that helped the Crimson to a 5-1 ECAC Hockey victory over the Dutchmen at Messa Rink.
A bigger concern for the Dutchmen (3-3-0 ECACH, 9 points; 5-8-1 overall) is the status of senior goalie Connor Murphy. For the second time this season, the Hudson Falls native left a game because of cramping. It happened in an Oct. 7 game at UConn, which caused him to miss the next day’s game against the Huskies.
“It was another issue with that,” Union head coach Josh Hauge said. “A little frustrating, but just want to make sure he’s healthy and OK.”
Freshman Kyle Chauvette replaced Murphy, just like he did against UConn. It was Chauvette’s Messa Rink debut. Murphy will have plenty of time to recover. The Dutchmen don’t play again until Dec. 3 when they host Murphy’s former team, Northeastern.
The 4-on-4 was set up thanks to major penalties against each team with 3:52 left in the second. Union forward Josh Nixon hit a Harvard player from behind into the boards behind the Harvard net. Crimson defenseman Jack Bar, who had been agitating the Dutchmen all game, belted Nixon and knocked his helmet off.
Each player was given a five-minute major and game misconduct. The five-minute majors were put on the board, which Hauge questioned. He thought that if each player received a five-minute major, those penalties don’t go on the board.
“I asked the official that,” Hauge said. “He seemed extremely adamant that [putting the penalties on the board] was the case because I am used to the NHL rule. It’s definitely something that I’m going to be looking into tonight. But overall, we’re both kind of given the same hand, and we have to play better 4 on 4.”
The Crimson (6-0-0, 17 points; 6-0-0 overall), ranked 12th in the USA Hockey Magazine/USA Today poll and 13th in the USCHO.com poll, expanded on their 2-1 lead during the 4-on-4.
First, Sean Farrell, who scored a shorthanded goal in the first period, beat Murphy with a wrister glove side with 3:23 left for his second of the game. Then Matt Coronato one-timed a Henry Thrun pass into the net with 43.5 seconds remaining in the period.
“It’s big,” Coronato said. “I think we did a good job keeping our composure. There’s a lot of chippiness, so I think our group did a good job keeping it together and we found a way to win.”
“I think there was a time earlier in the game where we felt like we were getting a lot of zone time and some chances, but we didn’t get any separation in the game,” Harvard head coach Ted Donato said. “To get the two goals 4-on-4 were helpful to us. Some great plays by some great players and [that] allowed us to get a little separation.”
Union defenseman Nic Petruolo was on the ice for both of those goals.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say it was any more difficult than playing against other teams,” Petruolo said. “I think it was just some minor breakdowns, and that’s a team where you have a minor breakdown in a 4-on-4 where you have a ton of ice to make plays, they’re going to make you pay.”
The only good thing for Union was that it was 5-for-5 on the penalty kill. However, going 0-for 2 on its power play, combined with allowing a shorthanded goal and two tallies during the 4 on 4 doomed Union.
“I think we’ve played a good game 5-on-5,” Union senior forward Owen Farris said. “Special teams killed us, to be honest, so that’s something we’re going to look at here in the next two weeks. Obviously, untimely goals back-to-back during the five-minute major 4-on-4. They’re a skilled team. That’s the type of game they want to play, and they play chippy in between the whistles, hoping to get offsetting [penalties] so they can get into that style of game. We’ve got to keep our heads a little bit and stay out of those [situations].
Harvard 1 3 1 — 5
Union 0 1 0 — 1
First Period — 1, Harvard, Farrell 2, 10:26 (sh). Penalties — Young, Uni (boarding), 6:42; Langenbrunner, Har (holding), 10:06; Farrell, Har (slashing), 19:16; Snell, Uni (roughing), 19:16.
Second Period — 2, Harvard, Miller 2 (Coronato), 6:40. 3, Union, Hanley 3 (Nixon), 7:47. 4, Harvard, Farrell 3 (Coronato), 16:37. 5, Harvard, Coronato 4 (Thrun, Healey), 19:17. Penalties — Theodore, Uni (cross-checking), 10:44; Snell, Uni (roughing), 12:56; Bar, Har, major-game misconduct (contact to head), 16:08; Nixon, Uni, major-game misconduct (hitting from behind), 16:08.
Third Period — 6, Harvard, Shore 1 (Farrell, Miller), 13:56. Penalties — Japchen, Uni (cross-checking), 7:00; Langenbrunner, Har (holding), 9:54; Ferguson, Uni (hooking), 15:20.
Shots on Goal — Harvard 14-11-11 — 36. Union 6-5-10 — 21.
Power-play opportunities — Harvard 0 of 5; Union 0 of 1.
Goalies — Harvard, Mullahy 2-0-0 (21 shots-20 saves). Union, Murphy 5-6-1 (26-22), Chauvette (5:42 third, 10-9).
A — 1,793. T — 2:29.
Referees — Anthony Dapuzzo, Kevin Graber. Linesmen — Adam Wood, Dan Taggart.
RPI 2, DARTMOUTH 1
Jack Beaton scored with 28 seconds left in the third period to snap a 1-1 tie and give the Engineers a win over the Big Green at Houston Field House to snap a four-game losing streak.
Luke Haymes gave Dartmouth a 1-0 lead midway through the second period. Ryan Mahshie tied it for RPI late in the second.
Dartmouth 0 1 0 — 1
RPI 0 1 1 — 2
First Period — None. Penalties — None.
Second Period — 1, Dartmouth, Haymes (McRae, Campbell), 9:24. 2, RPI, Mahshie (Hallbauer, Smolinski), 16:29. Penalties — Musa, Dar (hooking), 1:50; Musa, Dar (boarding), 5:52; Lee, RPI (tripping), 12:12; MacDonald, Dart (tripping), 12:47.
Third Period — 3, RPI, Beaton (Hallbauer, Heidemann), 19:32. Penalties — Lee, RPI (holding), 12:58; Ciccarello, RPI (slashing), 13:26.
Shots on Goal — Dartmouth 5-5-6 — 16. RPI 6-11-10 — 27.
Power-play opportunities — Dartmouth 0 of 3; RPI 0 of 3.
Goalies — Dartmouth, Black (27 shots-25 saves). RPI, Watson (16-15).
A — 1,810.
Referees — CJ Hanafin, Tyler Loftus. Linesmen — Mike Montagna, Patrick Philbin.