Union men’s hockey reflects on shocking 10-1 loss to Cornell

Two hockey players get tangled up on a play

Union men's hockey's Carter Korpi, right, collides with RPI's TJ Walsh during the first period of the Capital District Mayor's Cup game Jan. 28 at MVP Arena.

SCHENECTADY — The shock of Saturday’s 10-1 loss to Cornell at Lynah Rink has worn off for the Union men’s hockey team. The Dutchmen know it’s time to look ahead, not back.

The Dutchmen can’t let the effects of that rout hinder them as they try to secure home ice for the ECAC Hockey tournament sudden-death first-round game. Union (5-10-1 ECACH, 17 points, 11-15-2 overall) is tied with RPI for the eighth and final home-ice berth, but the Dutchmen are also close to last place, where Dartmouth sits with 13 points.

This weekend, the Dutchmen will host two of the teams that are chasing them. Yale (4-10-2, 16 points; 5-14-4) comes to Messa Rink at 7 p.m. Friday. Brown (4-10-2, 16 points; 8-13-2) visits at 4 p.m. Saturday. 

During Tuesday’s media availability at Messa Rink, the Dutchmen had a chance to reflect on what transpired against the Big Red. Union gave up 10 goals in a regular-season game for the first time in Division I program history. The Dutchmen surrendered 10 goals to Penn State in the 2017 NCAA hockey tournament Midwest Regional.

Cornell scored six first-period goals, including five power-play tallies. Four of those power-play goals came during a five-minute contact to the head major on freshman defenseman Nick Young. Cornell finished 6 for 7 on the power play, the most power-play goals Union has ever allowed, surpassing the five it gave up against Colgate on Nov. 5, 1999, a game the Dutchmen won 8-6.

“It was a frustrating game,” said Union senior goalie Conner Murphy, who allowed five of those goals before being replaced by Kyle Chauvette. “Six goals in the first period is obviously never good. I think it’s just one of those things where it came down to preparation [and] being prepared for the start of the game. Obviously, the penalties kind of killed us there, but it’s on us to try to kill those off whenever they happen.”

Union entered the game having killed off 22 of 23 opposition power plays, including 11 in a row.

“I’m not going to panic about the penalty kill having a bad night,” Union head coach Josh Hauge said. “… I’m super confident that on Friday night, if we take a penalty, we’re going to kill it off and we’ll be ready to go.”

While they won’t be dwelling on the loss, the Dutchmen know they must be prepared when the puck drops to start the game every time, especially with six games left in the regular season and a home-ice berth at stake.

“You’ve got to be ready going down the stretch here in playoff time,” Union freshman defenseman John Prokop said. “We’ve got to be ready from the start all the way through the end of it.”

Young learned a big lesson with his penalty.

After following through on a shot from the right point, Young brought his stick up on a Cornell player at 7:31 of the first period. Initially, no penalty was called. Cornell head coach Mike Schafer requested a video review, and it was determined to be a major penalty.

“It happened fast,” Young said. “I was trying to just protect myself. What I learned is just keep my hands down and turn myself so I don’t get myself in that situation and just let him hit my shoulder and keep my hands out of it.”

Young was a central figure, in a positive way, in Union’s 3-1 victory over Colgate the previous night.

Union was up 1-0 with 2.8 seconds left in the second period. With a faceoff in the Union left circle, Colgate coach Don Vaughan pulled goalie Carter Gylander for an extra attacker with the hope of trying to get a tying goal.

Instead, Owen Farris cleanly won the faceoff back to Young at the goal line. Young quickly fired the puck down the ice and into the vacated Colgate net with 0.5 seconds left to give Union a 2-0 lead. It ended up being the game-winning goal.

“I was laughing the entire time it happened,” Young said. “We originally were just going to fall on the puck and just let the time run out. We saw the goalie pulled, and Coach Hauge said, ‘Rip it.’ I just buried my head and took a hard shot.”

Union played Yale to a scoreless tie Jan. 14 at Ingalls Rink in New Haven, Connecticut, but won the shootout 1-0 to earn two points. The Dutchmen will be facing a Bulldogs squad that has struggled to score — Yale is averaging 1.7 goals per game and has been shut out eight times — but is coming off back-to-back 4-0 wins over Clarkson and St. Lawrence.

“They were very good when we played them,” Hauge said. “They’ll be ready. They’re really well coached, they play a really structured [system] and they’re defensively sound. We’ll have to be at our best to beat them.”

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

Categories: College Sports, Sports, Union College

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