Everything was solid about Union’s effort Friday against Princeton at Messa Rink.
From the aggressive play of goalie Colin Stevens to the offense keeping up the pressure to defenseman Mat Bodie achieving a milestone, there wasn’t much the 11th-ranked Dutchmen did wrong.
The final score was 3-0 in Union’s favor, but it could have been much worse against a depleted Tigers squad that had eight players missing from the lineup, including their top two scorers from last season, Andrew Caloff and Tyler Maugeri.
In winning its sixth straight game, Union (6-1 ECAC Hockey, 9-3-2 overall) outshot Princeton, 34-20. Kevin Sullivan and Daniel Ciampini scored first-period power-play goals. The Dutchmen continued to pressure the Tigers (2-7, 3-11). They didn’t sit on the lead. In five games this season, including last Saturday’s contest at Penn State, the Dutchmen blew leads.
That wasn’t the case against Princeton. Credit Tigers goalie Colton Phinney for keeping the game close. He made 31 saves.
The Dutchmen had four shots hit the post, including three in the second period. Mike Vecchione was victimized twice.
“That’s something we learned from this past weekend at Penn State in the first game, when we were up, 3-0, and gave up the lead,” Sullivan said. “We’re learning a little bit to start putting teams away, and stick to our game and get shots on net.”
Stevens, a Niskayuna native, made 20 saves. He only faced four shots in the second period, but no save was bigger than the one he made while Union was on the power play with 13:36 left.
Dutchmen defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere lost control of the puck at the right point in the Princeton zone. Jonathan Liau scooped it up and went in on a breakaway.
Stevens came out on top of his crease, waited for Liau to make the first move and then make a glove save on a wrist shot.
“I just tried to get out of my net and challenge as much as possible, and then match his speed coming back in,” Stevens said. “I was able to make the save, which was nice.”
Stevens earned his second shutout of the season, and fifth of his career. It was a much-needed bounce-back effort for the junior, who was pulled midway through the second period from last Sunday’s start against Penn State after allowing four goals on 12 shots.
“It was great to see Colin Stevens rebound,” Union coach Rick Bennett said. “That’s what good goaltenders do, and he did a great job of that. I thought he created a sense of calm for us when it got a little scramblely out there.”
Bodie became the first Union
defenseman, and 11th player overall in the program’s Division I history, to reach 100 points. He got his 99th point assisting on Sullivan’s goal, a power-play tally.
The milestone point came on Bodie’s first goal of the season, a soft wrist shot from the top of the right circle that beat a screened Phinney with 1:06 left in the game.
“It was great to land Mat Bodie at the time because he could have [gone] anywhere in the country,” Bennett said. “He wanted to be part of this building process. He’s become almost a catalyst of it. It’s great to see him get 100 points here, and to do some great things here.”
Bodie has 21 goals and 79 assists in 128 career games.
“It’s pretty cool,” Bodie said. “There’s a lot of people for me to thank for reaching that. We had some very good goal scorers where you just put it on their stick and they do the rest. It’s a cool achievement, but later in life, I’ll be able to look back on it. Tonight, I’m just happy with the two points and looking ahead to tomorrow.”
And now, the Dutchmen can focus on tonight’s showdown with ECACH-leading and fifth-ranked Quinnipiac, which skated to a 3-3 tie at Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute. The Bobcats won all three meetings with the Dutchmen last season, including a 5-1 triumph in the NCAA tournament East
Princeton 0 0 0 — 0
Union 2 0 1 — 3
First Period — 1, Union, Sullivan 2 (Bodie, Carr), 7:49 (pp). 2, Union, Ciampini 8 (Novak), 12:07. Penalty — Liau, Pri (tripping), 6:28.
Second Period — None. Penalties — Brockett, Pri (hooking), Gingras, Uni (interference), 8:20; Ammon, Pri, major-game misconduct (hitting from behind), 14:38; Carr, Uni (tripping), 16:55.
Third Period — 3, Union, Bodie 1 (Wilkins, Lichtenwald), 18:54. Penalty — Rush, Pri (tripping), 12:37.
Shots on Goal — Princeton 11-4-5 — 20. Union 13-14-7 — 34.
Power-play opportunities — Princeton 0 of 1; Union 1 of 4.
Goalies — Princeton, Bonar (0 shots-0 saves), Phinney 1-5-0 (:53 first, 34 shots-31 saves). Union, Stevens 7-1-0 (20-20).
A — 1,741. T — 2:10.
Referees — Bryan Hicks, Scott Wheeler. Linesmen — Mike Emanatian, Ryan Knapp.