SCHENECTADY — One player was liberated.
Another put Quinnipiac in hockey jail.
Sophomore Luc Brown, who has one of the best shots on the Union men's hockey team, scored two goals and assisted on another as the Dutchmen defeated Quinnipiac 4-1 on Saturday night at Messa Rink.
The Union coaches practically beg Brown to shoot, and have even been using him on the point during power plays.
After a scoring drought that amounted to one assist in seven games to start the season, he ripped a wrist shot from a tight angle to give Union a 3-0 lead in the second period and added a power-play goal to produce the final score with 2:07 left in what was a breakout performance heading into final exam break.
Brown also had an assist on Anthony Rinaldi's goal in the first period.
The victory, coupled with a 4-3 overtime win over Princeton on Friday in which Brown had an assist, the first-place Dutchmen are 5-1-0 in ECAC Hockey and 7-6-0 overall after an 0-5-0 start to the season.
"It was good to get the first one there, a monkey off the back," Brown said. "It was just a big weekend overall, a sweep in the ECAC and more points at the top of the standings.
"I just need to find open ice. The big thing tonight was getting shots through. In the past, they were getting blocked, sticks on pucks, things like that."
"It was nice to get Luc off the schneid there," Union head coach Rick Bennett said. "He has one of the best shots on the team, and I think you saw that. We want him shooting. We say it almost every practice. You've got a shot like that, you might as well use it."
The game probably would have been much closer if not for the stellar play of freshman goalie Darion Hanson, who was back in the lineup after Bennett used Jake Kupsky on Friday.
He wasn't forced to make many difficult saves, compliments of a sharp performance by Union's defense, but Hanson, who improved to 6-1-0 as the starter, quickly covered everything near him to prevent the Bobcats from getting second chances.
That confined Quinnipiac to low-percentage shots from the outside, as Hanson's crease became a very stable, non-chaotic place.
"He put a sense of calm back there, the way he smothered pucks, so he didn't keep plays alive for Quinnipiac," Bennett said. "That deadens plays for us."
"Having good rebound control is huge, because then you don't have to worry about other things as much as just focusing on our guy," senior defenseman J.C. Brassard said. "Knowing he's back there is big. You can take a few more risks and do more with the puck because we know our back is going to be covered by Hanson."
Bennett turned down another media request to interview Hanson and explained that he wants the freshmen on the team to get through final exam week with minimal distractions, after which they'll be available to the media in December.
Meanwhile, so much for preseason polls. Quinnipiac was picked second, but fell to 0-4-0 in the ECACH and 3-5-1 overall.
Union went ahead 2-0 in the first period on two of the easier goals a player could enjoy.
In the first period, Cole Maier's shot from the right circle was stopped by Andrew Shortridge, but the rebound followed an angle right to Ryan Scarfo, who buried it at 5:17.
"I was just hoping I didn't miss it there," Scarfo said. "I had a lot of net to shoot at. It starts with a great play by J.C., just a simple pass to a simple play, Cole throws it on net and I just banged it home."
If anything, Anthony Rinaldi's goal at 16:25 was easier.
Brett Supinski rushed the offensive zone on the right wing, used a slight hesitation move to get around Brogan Rafferty and centered the puck past the sliding defenseman Karlis Cukste to Rinaldi for a one-timer into an open net.
Supinski and Rinaldi each have six-game points streaks, and Supinski has at least one point in 11 of Union's 13 games. He assisted on three of the four goals against the Bobcats.
Brown, who had the secondary assist on Rinaldi's goal, made it 3-0 at 5:50 of the second period with a sharp wrist shot from a sharp angle in the right circle.
That goal came with seven seconds left on a roughing penalty on Quinnipiac's Brogan Rafferty.
Last year, Brown led Union's freshman in goals (6) and points (15), but he points were hard tio come by in his first seven games this season.
"I thought his feet were better this weekend," Bennett said. "When you're feet are better, you give yourself a little more shot to get your shots off. It's all got to be quicker. When we're getting our shots blocked and they're getting sticks on pucks, we're not too plugged in."
Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold pulled Shortridge for freshman Keith Petruzzelli at 8:13 of the second.
The Bobcats got one back at 4:51 of the third period on Chase Priskie's fourth goal of the season while Joseph Campolieto was in the penalty box for tripping.
Quinnipiac 0 0 1 — 1
Union 2 1 1 — 4
First period — 1, Union, Scarfo 6 (Maier, Brassard), 5:17. 2, Rinaldi 8 (Supinski, Brown), 16:25. Penalties -- Smith, Q (tripping), 14:15; Rinaldi, Union (hooking), 18:38.
Second period — 3, Union, Brown 1 (Campbell, Supinski), 5:50 (pp). Penalties -- Rafferty, Q (roughing), 3:57; McKernan, Q (10-minute misconduct, unsportsmanlike conduct); Emelifeonwu, Union (boarding), 7:30; Fortunato, Q (tripping), 8:07; Furgele, Q (slashing), 8:42; Foo, Union (interference), 13:53.
Third period — 4, Quinnipiac, Priskie 4 (Cukste), 4:51 (pp). 5, Brown 2 (Supinski), 17:53 (pp). Penalties -- Campolieto, Union (tripping), 2:53; Davidson, Q (boarding), 17:48.
Shots on goal — Quinnipiac 11-9-13 — 29; Union 13-5-6 — 28.
Power play opportunities — Quinnipiac 1 of 4; Union 2 of 5.
Goalies — Quinnipiac, Shortridge 2-4-1 (31:37, 18 shots-15 saves), Petruzzelli (10-9); Union, Hanson 6-1-0 (29-28).
T — 2:20. A — 2,242.
Referees — Chip McDonald, Tom Steinel. Linesmen — Ryan Knapp, Dmitry Antipin.