Freshman forward Michael Pontarelli looks like he will live up to the hype of his offensive output from junior hockey.
Junior defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere gave Philadelphia Flyers fans another reason to anticipate his arrival to the NHL.
Pontarelli scored the first two goals of his collegiate career, and Gostisbehere, with two officials from the Flyers watching, dazzled with three assists Saturday to lead the 16th-ranked Dutchmen to a 5-2 non-conference college hockey win over Bowling Green before a standing-room-only crowd of 2,198 at Messa Rink.
The victory gave the Dutchmen a 1-0-1 record for the two-game weekend series against the Falcons.
Pontarelli, a late addition to the Union recruit class after Josh Jooris gave up his senior year to sign with the Calgary Flames in late July, came to the Dutchmen with a reputation as a scorer. He had 52 goals and 55 assists for the Central Canada Hockey League’s Cornwall Colts. He was the CCHL MVP.
In Friday’s 3-3 tie, Pontarelli had two assists. On Saturday, he scored two third-period power-play goals that gave Union a 5-1 lead and, effectively, sealed the team’s first win of the season.
“It’s very exciting,” Pontarelli said. “Every time you jump a level and you get your first points, it’s really exciting. It’s something brand new. That’s just bonus. Getting our first win of the season in that fashion is the most important thing.”
Pontarelli’s first goal came off an incredible pass from Gostisbehere. He skated down the left wing, centered the puck between the skates of a Bowling Green defenseman and over to Pontarelli on the right side. Pontarelli fired it past goalie Tomas Sholl 51 seconds into the third period for Union’s third power-play goal of the game.
“Typical ‘Ghost,’ ” Pontarelli said. “He’s unbelievable. He makes something happen out of nothing. That goal was because of him. The goalie was sliding across. I had an empty net, pretty much. That was all Shayne.”
That had to impress Flyers assistant general manager Ron Hextall and Kjell Samuelsson, a member of the team’s player development staff. They were seen speaking with Gostisbehere after the game.
“The Flyers are here, so he was on the same level that we are,” Union coach Rick Bennett said.
Gostisbehere, who was the Flyers’ third-round pick in the 2012 NHL draft, deflected all the praise.
“It was definitely a team effort [by] all the boys,” said Gostisbehere, who had two shots hit the post in Friday’s game. “It was good that we were ready to go from the get-go. It was good to see all the boys going tonight.”
Gostisbehere also had a great pass to set up Daniel Ciampini’s goal 1:24 into the game. Gostisbehere skated down the right wing and sent the puck to the net. Ciampini, camped out in the low slot, tipped it past Sholl.
Gostisbehere also assisted on Daniel Carr’s power-play goal that snapped the 1-1 tie at 6:50 of the second period.
Pontarelli’s second goal came during a two-man advantage at 7:53 of the third. He was camped out to the left of the net when he fired home a pass from Kevin Sullivan, who was at the top of the right circle.
“Mike Pontarelli feeds off offense,” Bennett said. “It’s not a big secret, as you see his stats coming from juniors. When he’s on a roll, he’s on a roll. [The goals] were nice tic-tac-toe plays, too. He was on tonight.”
The play of the night belonged to Ciampini. The junior left winger threw a behind-the-back pass from the right of the net to Nick Cruice on the left side. Cruice fired it past a helpless Sholl for a power-play goal and a 3-1 Union lead midway through the second period.
Freshman defenseman and Clifton Park native Jeff Taylor sent the puck to Ciampini after keeping it in at the left point. It was Taylor’s first collegiate point.
“It actually came so slow from [Taylor] that I had time to look up and see where Cruice was coming from,” Ciampini said. “I knew he was supposed to drive the net there, so I was hoping he was going to be where I put it. I think I found a little spot between the guy’s shin pad, and fed it through him.”
Bowling Green 1 0 1 — 2
Union 1 2 2 — 5
First Period — 1, Union, Ciampini 1 (Gostisbehere), 1:24. 2, Bowling Green, Pohlkamp 1, 12:12. Penalties — Perrier, BG (charging), 9:47; DiPauli, Uni (goaltender interference), 9:47; Walker, BG (interference), 12:34; Walker, BG (interference), 15:04; Hatch, Uni (slashing), 19:37.
Second Period — 3, Union, Carr 2 (Sullivan, Gostisbehere), 6:50 (pp). 4, Union, Cruice 1 (Ciampini, Taylor), 11:29 (pp). Penalties — Freibergs, BG (interference), 6:43; Freibergs, BG (slashing), 10:42; Bowling Green bench, served by Dufour (too many men), 17:21; Walker, BG (cross-checking), 19:41.
Third Period — 5, Union, Pontarelli 1 (Gostisbehere), :51 (pp). 6, Union, Pontarelli 2 (Sullivan, Bodie), 7:53 (pp). 7, Bowling Green, Cooper 1 (Walker), 10:28 (pp). Penalties — Vasaturo, Uni (holding), 3:08; Freibergs, BG (roughing), 3:52; Gostisbehere, Uni (roughing), 3:52; Perrier, BG (high-sticking), 6:42; Walker, BG (cross-checking), 6:42; Ikkala, Uni (tripping), 9:06; Hatch, Uni (tripping), 9:36; Murphy, BG (high-sticking), 11:00; Ciampini, Uni (holding), 16:29; Willamson, BG (hooking), 19:19.
Shots on Goal — Bowling Green 6-7-9 — 22. Union 14-10-5 — 29.
Power-play opportunities — Bowling Green 1 of 5; Union 4 of 10.
Goalies — Bowling Green, Sholl 0-1-0 (29 shots-24 saves). Union, Sakellaropoulos 0-0-1 (22-20).
A — 2,198. T — 2:10.
Referees — Bryan Hicks, Bob Ritchie. Linesmen — Andrew Suhovic, Mike Emanatian.