The rough start of October doesn’t look so bad now for the Union College hockey team.
A hot November erased the memories of the 1-2-2 record the Dutchmen posted last month. They head into the first trimester exam break with a three-game winning streak and wins in four of their last five games.
The Dutchmen (5-1 ECAC Hockey, 6-3-2 overall) completed another two-game sweep of Route 7 rival Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute last weekend. They will return to action next Saturday, their final game of the month, when they travel to State College, Pa., to face Penn State.
The Dutchmen are in second place, one point behind Quinnipiac. Union’s hot play put the team back in the national rankings after a four-week absence. The Dutchmen are 15th in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine top-15 poll, and 17th in the USCHO.com/NCAA hockey top-20 poll.
Dutchmen coach Rick Bennett likes where the team is after 11 games.
“We’re a little nicked up, just like every other team at this stage after 11 games,” Bennett said. “Obviously, we like our conference record. The guys feel good, which is good going into exams.”
One of the important aspects to the Dutchmen’s resurgence this month has been the return of key players.
Junior goalie Colin Stevens and freshman center Eli Lichtenwald were injured in the opening game of the season against Bowling Green Oct. 11. Stevens, the Niskayuna native, came back Nov. 1 against Dartmouth, and is 5-1 with a 2.00 goals-against average and one shutout.
The 6-foot-6 Lichtenwald, who scored in the Bowling Green game, returned Nov. 9 against Cornell and collected two assists in the Dutchmen’s 3-0 win. He scored a goal in each of the games against RPI.
Junior center Max Novak, who was recovering from offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip, made his season debut against Dartmouth and scored in the game. The next night against Harvard, he had two assists.
“Getting through October and getting players back was very big for us, I thought,” Bennett said.
RPI visits Mercyhurst
The 14th-ranked Engineers (6-4-2) look to rebound from last weekend’s losses when they visit Mercyhurst for a two-game non-conference series starting tonight at 7:05. The two teams will also faceoff at 7:05 p.m. Saturday.
RPI and Mercyhurst met a year ago at Houston Field House. RPI swept the two-game series by scores of 4-2 and 4-1.
The Lakers (3-1 Atlantic Hockey, 4-6-1 overall) are coming off Tuesday’s 4-2 over Niagara. Senior forward Daniel O’Donoghue and junior forward Matthew Zay lead the team in scoring with 11 points each. O’Donoghue has six goals and five assists, while Zay has five goals and six assists.
Lakers junior goalie Jimmy Sarjeant is 4-2-1 with a 2.59 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage.
DeSimone to union
Another offensive defenseman is headed to Union.
The Dutchmen have received a commitment from the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Buffalo Junior Sabres defenseman Nick DeSimone for next season.
“Proud to say I’ve committed to Union College for the 2014 season,” DeSimone wrote on his Twitter account earlier this week.
DeSimone, who turned 19 on Thursday, is the Junior Sabres’ second-leading scorer with eight goals and 19 assists in 23 games. He has two power-play goals and 12 power-play assists.
The Dutchmen will lose at least one defenseman — senior Mat Bodie — after the season. They could lose a second one if junior Shayne Gostisbehere decides to forego his senior year and sign with the Philadelphia Flyers after the season ends.
Ruling the poll
The ECACH has the most teams in the USCHO.com/NCAA top-20 poll with six. Quinnipiac leads the way at No. 4, followed by Yale (No. 9), Clarkson (No. 11), RPI, Union and Cornell (No. 19).
Hockey East is next with five teams in the poll, followed by the NCHC (four), Big Ten (three) and WCHA (two).
Bourbonais off roster
The player who scored the game-winning goal for Yale in last season’s NCAA Frozen Four championship game against Quinnipiac is no longer with the team.
Senior forward Clinton Bourbonais was removed from the team roster before Saturday’s game against Sacred Heart. Bulldogs coach Keith Allain didn’t give a reason, according to the Yale Daily News and the New Haven Register.
Bourbonais scored with just under four seconds left in the second period to snap a scoreless tie against their New Haven-area rival in last year’s championship game. The Bulldogs went on to a 4-0 victory to capture their first NCAA title, and the first for an ECACH team since Harvard in 1989, Bourbonais was named to the all-tournament team.
He played in Yale’s exhibition game against Ontario IT and had a goal and an assist. He only dressed for one regular-season game, ironically, against Quinnipiac Nov. 9. He didn’t have a point.
Hockey East admitted on Saturday that it’s officiating crew made the wrong call in last Thursday’s game between Boston College and Massachusetts.
The Minutemen appeared to tie the score, 2-2, but BC coach Jerry York asked the on-ice officials to check the video because he thought UMass was offside. The video confirmed that, and the goal was waved off.
However, the game wasn’t being televised, so the officials couldn’t use video replay to overturn the goal because of an offsides. Steve Piotrowski, the secretary-rules editor for the NCAA men’s and women’s ice hockey rules committee, sent out a memo Friday to clarify its position.
“During NCAA competition that is televised and where a video replay official is in use, game officials may use replay to correct an error on calling an offside or too many players on the ice that directly leads to a goal,” Piotrowski said.
“The rules committee discussed this rule at length during the June 2013 meetings and has approved the extension of use of this rule to televised games during the regular season.
The next day, Hockey East said the officials — referees Jeff Bunyon and Kevin Keenan and linesmen Chris Aughe and Chris Low — were wrong in three ways.
“First, coaches can only request reviews of those specific situations listed under page 83, section 93.2 of the rule book,” the statement read. “Second, offsides can only be reviewed in games that are televised, an expansion of the existing rule that previously limited review of offside and too many men on the ice to post-season championships only. The rule was extended to cover regular season televised games per a July memo from the NCAA. This game was not televised. And third, the offside situation must be ]egregious’ in nature, which this situation was not.
“While the Massachusetts goal should not have been called back in the manner that it was, there is no league protocol by which the situation can be overturned.”
The league added that future assignments for the four officials would be reviewed.
Union fans may remember that in the Dutchmen’s 4-2 victory over UMass-Lowell in the 2012 NCAA tournament East Regional final, there was a Union player still in the River Hawks’ zone when Kyle Bodie scored an empty-net goal with 40.6 seconds left in the game. Video review couldn’t be used to overturn the call because it wasn’t in the rules.