The Union College hockey team fired just 17 shots on goal against Quinnipiac on Saturday night at High Point Solutions Arena.
But the Dutchmen made those shots count, especially in the second period. And they got outstanding goaltending from senior Alex Sakellaropoulos.
Nick DeSimone scored two of Union’s three second-period goals, and Sakellaropoulos made 52 saves as the 18th-ranked Dutchmen knocked off the No. 5 Bobcats 5-2 in ECAC Hockey.
“That’s a pretty happy group in there, but they also know that was far from the type of hockey that we actually want to play,” Union coach Rick Bennett said. “After a big win at Princeton [Friday], we’ve got to put that behind us quick and we just didn’t do that tonight. We’re not going to apologize for winning, but to be perfectly frank, they deserved a better fate tonight. I could’ve sworn we were the team that went to Ireland the week before.”
Quinnipiac played in the Friendship Four tournament in Belfast last weekend.
“Sometimes, a goaltender is going to steal you a game,” Bennett said. “Really proud of Alex, and the guys did buckle down on some small things in the second that turned into some big things for us.”
Union (6-1-1 ECACH, 10-3-2 overall) won its first regular-season game at Quinnipiac since Feb. 5, 2011. But it wasn’t easy.
The Bobcats (6-2-1, 10-5-2) outshot the Dutchmen 19-4 in the first period and took a 1-0 lead on Kevin Duane’s power-play goal late in the stanza.
The Dutchmen only had five shots on goal in the second
period, but they cashed in on 60 percent of them.
DeSimone tied the score on a power-play goal less than 41⁄2 minutes into the period. Clifton park native Jeff Taylor broke the tie with a power-play goal at 12:02. DeSimone got his second of the game with 3:01 left in the period.
“We came out pretty flat in the first,” DeSimone said. “We couldn’t get the puck out, and they were all over us. In the intermission, coach just kind of let us know and we rallied together. We knew we had to be better, and after that, we were just trying to play a simpler game. Just getting pucks out and, eventually, we got our chances and when we did we took advantage.”
Sakellaropoulos was especially sharp in the third
period. He made 20 saves. Only Karlis Custe was able to beat him with 7:08 left.
“The first couple shots were from the outside, so it allowed me to get a good feel for the game,” Sakellaropoulos said. “You always know it’s going to be a high-intensity game when you play here. They’re a very skilled hockey club, and we know that. We just tried to contain them to the outside, and I thought our ‘D’ and forwards did a great job of that.
“Yeah, I did make some key saves, but that’s my job. I thought the guys responded well in the second and third to help push us to that win tonight.”
In between, Cole Maier gave Union a 4-1 lead 6:15 into the third. Mike Vecchione sealed the deal on an empty-net goal with 1:52 remaining.
Union 0 3 2 — 5
Quinnipiac 1 0 1 — 2
First Period — 1, Quinnipiac, Duane 1 (C. Clifton, D. Smith), 16:44 (pp). Penalties — L. Smith, Qui (hooking), 8:29; Walker, Uni (hooking), 15:01.
Second Period — 2, Union, DeSimone 4 (Walker, Scarfo), 4:25 (pp). 3, Union, J. Taylor 4 (Foo, Vecchione), 12:02 (pp). 4, Union, DeSimone 5 (Foo, Krug), 16:59. Penalties — Krug, Uni (roughing), :38; Duane, Qui (hooking), 2:29; Brassard, Uni (holding), 7:24; T. Clifton, Qui (hitting from behind), 10:40; Taverner, Qui (interference), 13:10; Walker, Uni (hooking), 17:07.
Third Period — 5, Union, Maier 5 (Walker), 6:15. 6, Quinnipiac, Cukste 4 (Taverner, Whelan), 12:52. 7, Union, Vecchione 16, 18:08 (en). Penalties — Krug, Uni (interference), 9:26.
Shots on Goal — Union 4-5-8 — 17. Quinnipiac 19-14-21 — 54.
Power-play opportunities — Union 2 of 4; Quinnipiac 1 of 5.
Goalies — Union, Sakellaropoulos 9-1-1 (54 shots-52 saves). Quinnipiac, Truehl 8-3-2 (12-8), Shortridge (6:15 third, 4-4).
A — 3,303. T — 2:22.
Referees — Chip McDonald, Marty Hughes. Linesmen — Ryan Knapp, Michael Zyla.