SCHENECTADY — Union men’s hockey first-year goalie Kyle Chauvette grew up in Goffstown, New Hampshire, an hour west of the University of New Hampshire in Durham. He was a fan of the Wildcats growing up.
“That’s how I got into college hockey,” Chauvette said. “I went to UNH games, and it was really fun. I remember, when I was little, we’d get out of school early sometimes on Fridays and go out to Durham to watch UNH games. So it’s pretty cool.”
On Saturday, in his first home start for the Dutchmen, Chauvette faced the team he grew up supporting. And he played a starring role in the Dutchmen’s 3-2 non-conference victory over the Wildcats at Messa Rink that completed a weekend sweep. Union (8-10-1) won Friday’s game 4-3.
Chauvette made 34 saves in his first collegiate win.
“I was pumped,” Chauvette said. “It was a special feeling definitely, especially against UNH. It was really exciting, and I’m just happy to get the first [win].”
It was Chauvette’s sixth appearance of the season, and just his second start. His four other appearances came in relief of senior goalie Connor Murphy, including an appearance in a 5-1 home-ice loss to Harvard on Nov. 12.
“He was outstanding,” Union head coach Josh Hauge said. “I think he’s the biggest reason we won the game. He made some incredible saves and was very composed for a first-year player.”
And he needed to be sharp because, after taking a 3-0 first-period lead, the Dutchmen’s offense shut down. They had only four shots over the final two periods and finished with 10 for the game. They went 22:45 between Liam Robertson’s shot on goal with 17:15 left in the second period to Matt Allen’s shot on goal with 14:30 remaining in the third.
“I thought we ran out of gas a little bit there in the second and third,” Hauge said. “He was there to bail us out whenever we needed it. It was big for us.”
Chauvette earned praise from his teammates.
“He was outstanding tonight for us,” said freshman defenseman John Prokop, who opened the scoring in the first period, scoring a goal in his second straight game. “Playing in front of him was not risky at all, I don’t think, and he battled and he deserved every part of the win.”
“He kept us in the game,” said forward Liam Robertson, who scored Union’s second goal, when a Nick Young shot hit his elbow and bounced past UNH goalie Tyler Muszelik. “He gave us a chance, especially there in the third.”
It did get a little hairy in the final minute after Muszelik was pulled for an extra attacker. A puck laid the crease, and for a second, Chauvette didn’t know where it was. But he got help from a teammate, who shoved the puck under him for a stoppage in play.
“It actually was under the arm,” Chauvette said. “It just kind of squeaked through. Luckily, whoever the defenseman was there at the time cleared it out for me and helped me out. It was just a little mistake there, but I’m happy it didn’t didn’t cost us.”
Mason Snell gave Union a 3-0 lead with 5:40 left in the period. Of course, just like in Friday’s game when the Dutchmen were ahead 3-0, UNH (4-16-1) mounted a comeback. Liam Devlin scored twice in the second period, the first coming on the power play — the Wildcats’ fourth of the weekend. The other goal was UNH’s only even-strength goal of the series.
The only difference Saturday was UNH couldn’t get the tying goal.
The victory, Union’s second straight, was a good way to close out 2022.
“We’ll take it,” Hauge said. “We never want to be too upset about a win. But I think it’s going to be a good learning game for us.”
New Hampshire 0 2 0 — 2
Union 3 0 0 — 3
First Period — 1, Union, Prokop (Allen), 2:34. 2, Union, Robertson 5 (Young, Snell), 12:11. 3, Union, Snell 3 (Young, Benz), 14:10. Penalties — Prokop, Uni, double minor (interference, boarding), 18:05.
Second Period — 4, New Hampshire, Devlin 6 (Huard, Carfagna), 11:03 (pp). 5, New Hampshire, Devlin 7 (Jenson), 14:31. Penalties — Tupker, Uni (hooking), 10:13.
Third Period — None. Penalties — Jenson, UNH (tripping), 8:28; Huard, UNH (holding), 12:03.
Shots on Goal — New Hampshire 12-13-11 — 36. Union 6-1-3 — 10.
Power-play opportunities — New Hampshire 1 of 3; Union 0 of 2.
Goalies — New Hampshire, Muszelik 2-6-1 (10 shots-7 saves). Union, Chauvette 1-2-0 (36-34).
A — 1,784. T — 2:21.
Referees — William Brennan, Anthony Dapuzzo. Linesmen — Tim Daley, Mark McGinnis.
Contact Ken Schott by email at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @slapschotts.
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