Union didn’t have an answer in trying to stop Yale’s offense in the first 23 minutes of Saturday’s ECAC Hockey game.
The Dutchmen also spent the entire game trying to solve Bulldogs goalie Jeff Malcolm. That failed, too.
Thirteenth-ranked Yale scored four goals in the first 22:43 of the game, and Malcolm stopped 45 shots for his third straight shutout as the Bulldogs cruised to a 4-0 victory over the ninth-ranked Dutchmen at Messa Rink.
It’s the second straight loss for the defending ECACH regular-season champion Dutchmen (2-2, 5-3-3), who dropped a 2-1 decision to Brown on Friday. The last time Union lost two straight at Messa in the regular season was Jan. 22-23, 2010, when it lost to Dartmouth and Harvard. The Dutchmen lost two straight to Colgate in last March’s ECACH tournament quarterfinal series.
It’s also the first time Union has been blanked at home since St. Lawrence did it in a 2-0 triumph Feb. 27, 2009. The Dutchmen now have gone 119 minutes, 28 seconds, without a score since Daniel Carr scored 32 seconds into the Brown game.
Union struggled in the final two periods against Brown. Unfortunately for the Dutchmen, that carried over against the Bulldogs (3-1, 4-1-1). The Dutchmen, who played without suspended center Jeremy Welsh, were outshot, 16-7, and trailed, 3-0. Welsh was out because of a game disqualification penalty he got at the end of the Brown game for grasping the facemask of Bobby Farnham.
“We just, like last night, shot ourselves in the foot,” Union defenseman and captain Nolan Julseth-White said. “Turnovers, giving them the puck, we played right into their game. Their transition to offense is top-notch, and we can’t allow that.”
Brian O’Neill scored a power-play goal 4:38 into the game, beating goalie Troy Grosenick, the reigning ECACH goalie of the week, on a one-timer from the left circle. Dan Otto and Charles Brockett scored 16 seconds apart late in the first.
“That was, obviously, a tough one,” Union coach Rick Bennett said. “We just didn’t come out. We weren’t ready. A couple of errant plays, and it’s in the back of the net. That’s how dangerous they are.”
Yale hadn’t been very dangerous on offense in its first five games. The four goals the Bulldogs scored against the Dutchmen were a season high. They had scored two goals in each of their first five games.
“It was huge, obviously,” Yale coach Keith Allain said. “We realized that Union is a strong starting team. Fourteen or 16 of their 33 goals coming into tonight were scored in the first period. We knew a big start was important. Obviously, the guys stepped up.”
Otto’s second goal, at 2:43 of the second, chased Grosenick from the game. The shot from just inside the blue line along the right wing beat him over the glove. Grosenick, who was replaced by Niskayuna native Colin Stevens, appeared to stab at the puck, and missed it.
“This game can humble you,” Bennett said. “One week, you’re goalie of the week. The next week, he got pulled. But he’s a strong kid, and he’s going to be just fine. Sometimes, you have to go through this stuff. People forget that Keith Kinkaid was pulled from his first game.”
After the goalie change, the Dutchmen began to exert more pressure on Malcolm. But the junior netminder continued his hot streak. He had to be strong on seven Union power plays. The Dutchmen had 14 shots on goal on those opportunities.
Malcom extended his shutout streak to 182:51. He previously blanked RPI on Friday and Colgate last Saturday.
“I don’t think it was the hardest one by the shot number,” Malcolm said. “Like Keith said, it’s three different games. You have to prepare yourself three different ways. We know our game plan coming in, and just try and have fun, battle, make the saves and try and help your team win.”
If there is one thing Bennett can be happy about as the Dutchmen prepare for Tuesday’s game at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is that they were getting scoring chances. They didn’t have many over the final two periods against Brown.
“I like how we responded in the second and third,” Bennett said. “To me, that’s a positive. That’s what we’re going to have to build on.”
Yale 3 1 0 — 4
Union 0 0 0 — 0
First Period — 1, Yale, O’Neill 2 (Fallen, Peel), 4:38 (pp). 2, Yale, Otto 1 (Weberg), 16:24. 3, Yale, Brockett 1 (Agostino), 16:40. Penalties — M. Bodie, Uni (tripping), 4:00; Fallen, Yale (slashing), 5:18; Ikkala, Uni (slashing), 7:52; Ziegler, Yale (roughing), 9:09.
Second Period — 4, Yale, Otto 2 (Root), 2:43. Penalties — Mingoia, Uni (hooking), 16:01; Jaskowiak, Yale (hitting after whistle), 19:03.
Third Period — None. Penalties — O’Neill, Yale (kneeing), 1:55; O’Neill, Yale (slashing), 6:57; Dueck, Yale (kneeing), 8:18; Hatch, Uni (slashing), 12:05; Weberg, Yale (tripping), 15:03.
Shots on Goal — Yale 16-6-4 — 26. Union 7-21-17 — 45.
Power-play opportunities — Yale 1 of 4; Union 0 of 7.
Goalies — Yale, Malcolm 4-1-1 (45 shots-45 saves). Union, Grosenick 4-2-2 (18-14), Stevens (2:43 second, 8-8).
A — 1,901. T — 2:15.
Referees — Nick Litterio, Andy O’Brien. Linesmen — Mike Emanatian, William Lyons.