After not winning its three previous trips to the Whittemore Center, Union is coming back to Schenectady with a two-game sweep of New Hampshire.
Junior goalie Colin Stevens overcame getting knocked into in the second period to make a career-high 40 saves, and Max Novak scored the tiebreaking goal late in the second to lift the sixth-ranked Dutchmen to a 3-1 non-conference win over the No. 17 Wildcats on Saturday.
The Dutchmen (15-4-3) won by that same score Friday. They have won three straight and are 12-1-1 in their last 14 games.
“There are maybe three or four guys on this [coaching] staff that have played in here before and never found a way to win,” said Union coach Rick Bennett, who played at Providence College, a Hockey East rival of the Wildcats, with a chuckle. “It was good that these guys found a way to win. The coaching staff is happy about that. We are proud of their effort.”
Stevens, a Niskayuna native, had a previous high of 38 saves against Dartmouth on Dec. 11, and tied that mark in Friday’s win. In the two-game series against UNH (13-12-1), Stevens made 77 saves.
“I’m just pretty pleased with all the guys right now,” said Stevens, who lowered his goals-against average to 1.98 and increased his save percentage to .927. “Everyone beared down this weekend. It’s great to come away from a road weekend with four points.”
There was a scary moment in the second when UNH forward Kyle Smith slid into Stevens’ right leg. He was down for a few minutes, then slowly skated around before staying the game.
It brought back memories of Union’s season-opening game Oct. 11, when Stevens was knocked out of the contest with a concussion after he was drilled by Bowling Green’s Bryce Williamson midway through the first period.
“It was kind of a weird play,” Stevens said. “There’s nothing to worry about.”
Mark Bennett gave Union a 1-0 lead when, with his back to the net to the left of it, he put a backhander past goalie Casey DeSmith with 4:55 left in the first period. Tyler Kell-eher tied it 2:21 later.
Novak broke the tie with 3:53 left in the second, on assists by Daniel Ciampini and David Roy.
“It was a good chip by Dave to ‘Champ,’ ” Novak said. “He drove wide, and I was driving the net. He made a perfect pass onto my tape, and I was able to put it through [DeSmith’s] legs.”
Mat Bodie sealed the deal on an empty-net goal with 1:03 left in the game.
Union 1 1 1 — 3
New Hampshire 1 0 0 — 1
First Period — 1, Union, Bennett 2 (Ikkala, Coatta), 15:05. 2, New Hampshire, Kelleher 3 (Smith, Trush), 17:26. Penalties — Lichtenwald, Uni (hitting after whistle), 12:35; Downing, UNH (hitting after whistle), 12:35.
Second Period — 3, Union, Novak 5 (Ciampini, Roy), 16:07. Penalties — Lichtenwald, Uni (slashing), 4:28; Ciampini, Uni (tripping), 8:51; Knodel, UNH (tripping), 8:51.
Third Period — 4, Union, Bodie 3, 18:57. Penalty — Cleland, UNH (holding), 1:56.
Shots on Goal — Union 11-13-15 — 39. New Hampshire 18-11-12 — 41.
Power-play opportunities — Union 0 of 1; New Hampshire 0 of 1.
Goalies — Union, Stevens 12-2-1 (41 shots-40 saves). New Hampshire, DeSmith 11-10-0 (39-37).
A — 4,837. T — 2:05.
Referees —Thomas Fryer, David Hansen. Linesmen — Jeremy Lovett, Joe Ross.
rpi 3, union 0
SCHENECTADY — Lauren Wash continued her torrid goal scoring by tallying twice, and the Engineers shut down the nation’s fifth-best power play in beating the Dutchwomen in an ECAC Hockey game at Messa Rink.
The win completed a weekend sweep for RPI (6-5-1 ECACH, 10-11-2 overall). The Engineers won, 4-1, Friday at Houston Field House.
Wash scored both of her goals in the second period. Her first one came on the power play with 8:25 left. She added her 11th goal of the year, an even-strength tally, with 2:34 to go.
Wash has scored seven goals in her last five games.
Meanwhile, RPI killed off all eight Union power-play chances. The Dutchwomen (3-9, 8-15-1) came into the game with a power play that was clicking at 21.7 percent (20-for-92).
RPI goalie Kelly O’Brien stopped 18 shots to earn her third shutout of the season. Jordan Smelker scored an empty-net goal with 30 seconds left in the game.
RPI 0 2 1 — 3
Union 0 0 0 — 0
First Period — None. Penalties — Horwood, RPI (checking), 2:04; McGrath, Uni (hooking), 8:31; Thomson, Uni (checking), 15:52; Mahoney, RPI (roughing), 15:56; Marzario, RPI (checking), 19:27; Thomson, Uni (slashing), 19:52.
Second Period — 1, RPI, Wash 10, 11:35 (pp). 2, RPI, Wash 11, 17:26. Penalties —
Godin, RPI (cross-checking), 2:16; Godin, RPI (roughing), 9:09; Thomson, Uni (roughing), 9:09; Norton, Uni (interference), 9:33; Lundberg, Uni, served by McGrath (tripping), 9:59; Behounek, RPI (checking), 16:34; Thomson, Uni (holding), 17:05; Mankey, RPI (slashing), 19:03.
Third Period — 3, RPI, Smelker 4 (Schilter), 19:30 (en). Penalties — Smelker, RPI (hooking), 3:55; Banks, RPI (interference), 17:12.
Shots on Goal — RPI 5-9-8 — 22. Union 4-7-7 — 18.
Power-play opportunities — RPI 1 of 6; Union 0 of 8.
Goalies — RPI, O’Brien 10-9-1 (18 shots-18 saves). Union, Lundberg 8-15-0 (21-19).
A — 486. T — 2:05.
Referees — Bill Bredin, Andrew Suhovic. Linesmen — Paul Crosta, John Kilmer.