Union men’s hockey has interesting goalie dilemma

Union goalie Kyle Chauvette keeps his eyes on New Hampshire forward Liam Devlin during a Dec. 31 game at Messa Rink.

Union goalie Kyle Chauvette keeps his eyes on New Hampshire forward Liam Devlin during a Dec. 31 game at Messa Rink.

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SCHENECTADY — Union men’s hockey has goaltending issue, one that head coach Josh Hauge doesn’t mind having.

Freshman netminder Kyle Chauvette gave Hauge plenty of thought to possibly splitting the starting duties with senior Connor Murphy after his performance last Saturday against Yale. Chauvette stopped all 30 shots he faced in 65 minutes of play, and then turned aside another four shots in the shootout round that gave Union a 1-0 ECAC Hockey victory at Ingalls Rink in New Haven, Connecticut.

While it counts as a win and two for Union in ECACH play, the game is considered a 0-0 tie for NCAA purposes because shootout outcomes aren’t recognized as a way of deciding games.

It was Chauvette’s first conference game start, and it came a night after Union was routed 6-1 by Brown.

“I think we have the ability that we have two really good goaltenders,” Hauge said during the team’s media availability Tuesday at Messa Rink. “They have a really good relationship, and they work well together. And I know Kyle is learning from Connor, and Connor is learning from Kyle. It’s great to have. They’re going to battle for the net every single week. We’re excited about having two really good goalies.”

Chauvette has made three starts and has relieved Murphy in five other games. He has a 1-2-1 record with a 2.52. Goals-against average and a .922 save percentage. There were some nerves for Chauvette prior to the game, but that is typical for any goalie.

“I wasn’t necessarily looking at it as any different than [a] conference [or] non-conference game,” Chauvette said. “You still want to approach it the same way. Obviously, it’s an important game, but you’re going to prepare the same way, and that’s what I did for that night.”

Chauvette got some advice from Murphy prior to facing Yale.

“I get to room with him on the road,” Chauvette said. “He just told me to just relax and just have fun with it. It was really helpful just to be able to spend some time with him before the game and just get me in a good mindset.”

Murphy was impressed with Chauvette’s performance.

“I thought he was stellar,” Murphy said. “It was his [third] start, and he looked extremely confident. “Everybody on the team had full faith in him. He looked like he belonged in there, and he does. It was really great to see. I’m really happy for him, and there’s a lot more to come.”

It has been a difficult year for Murphy. After setting the program record for saves in a season last year with 1,060 stops, the Hudson Falls native has a 7-11-1 record with a 3.70 GAA and an .885 save percentage.

Murphy has also been dealing with cramping issues all season long. He had to leave two games because of it. It also kept him from starting an Oct. 8 game at UConn that ended his 61-game consecutive starts streak.

Murphy won’t have a problem if Hauge decided to rotate the starts between Chauvette and him.

“It’s the coach’s decision, ultimately,” Murphy said. “Whatever happens, we’re going to be happy. It’s just the nature of the game. It’s a business. Whatever he decides, I think it’s best for the team. If we split, I think it’s great. Both of us get a chance to showcase our skills. It just helps the team that much more.”

Hauge hasn’t made a decision who will start Friday’s game against St. Lawrence at Messa Rink.

“At this point, I think we have a plan moving forward as to how we want to operate,” Hauge said. “I think Connor just having a night off is good from time to time, and Kyle is going to continue to push and earn as much [playing time] as he can.”


Union senior forward Matt Allen has entered the NCAA transfer portal.

Allen wants to continue his college education and earn either a masters or graduate degree, something he can’t do at Union. He also would like to play one more year of college hockey. Allen has a year of NCAA eligibility remaining because Union canceled its 2020-21 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s definitely exciting, especially because the guys who entered last year are doing so well,” Allen said. “It’s just nice to see. I’ll get the opportunity to see what else is out there. The COVID year, we kind of got screwed over with that, so it’s nice to be able to play for four years.”

Allen has four goals and 12 assists in 62 career games. This season, Allen has two assists in eight games.

Contact Ken Schott by email at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @slapschotts.

Categories: High School Sports, Sports, Union College

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