SCHENECTADY -- It's usually not a good sign when a team leans on both the faucet metaphor and the light switch metaphor after a game.
The Union men's hockey team served up both on Saturday night, turning everything on full blast only after the second intermission, and still finding a way to let a close game to Brown trickle away, fade out, what have you.
Michael Maloney scored his second goal of the season at 16:28 of the third to give the Bears an important 3-2 victory over Union at Messa Rink.
The Dutchmen, by their own admission, were outplayed for two periods and were still in a position to pull out a point in the ECAC Hockey standings with a tie, but Maloney thwarted that by burying the puck with plenty of net to shoot at from the left circle.
Union was on the power play for the final 1:08 of the game and went with two extra skaters by pulling goalie Jake Kupsky with just over a minute left, but couldn't get a handle on anything approaching a good scoring chance from there.
The loss dropped the Dutchmen (5-6-1 ECACH, 12-7-4 overall) to eighth place in the 12-team conference, and the Bears (5-5-3, 8-9-3) took over sole possession of seventh with 13 points. Union has 11 points and a game in hand on Brown, which has beaten the Dutchmen twice and tied once this season.
"Our question as a coaching staff is how come we can't put together another couple periods like that?" Union head coach Rick Bennett said. "We realize we're not going to have three phenomenal periods against a great team like that. We just need more effort. On a consistent basis.
"It can't be a faucet."
Sophomore Liam Morgan -- who was benched for Union's 4-3 overtime win against Yale Friday, then scored 22 seconds into the Brown game -- supplied the electrical switch analogy.
"It's too late in the game just to flip a switch and do that against a good team like that," he said. "They've given us trouble already this year. They're a great hockey team, but we made it a little easier on them by not competing the whole 60 [minutes]."
Either way, the Dutchmen had a solid opportunity to squeeze two points out of this game, and came away with nothing.
They applied tremendous pressure on Brown goalie Gavin Nieto in the third, outshooting the Bears 14-4 and tying it at 2-2 on Jack Adams' seventh goal of the season 4:13 into the period.
Union kept up the pressure, with nothing to show for it, then gave up a goal that could've been avoided if Morgan had handled a puck that slid between the circles to Maloney.
Kupsky couldn't shift from his left, where the play started, to his right in time to stop the shot.
"The guy came down the halfwall, I made a save, committed to that post, it went to the other post and by the time I got out to the top of the paint, he just beat me. That's about it," Kupsky said.
"Yeah, definitely, that one was more on me than anyone else on our team," Morgan said. "It looked like it was a bouncing puck on me, and I should've just cleared it out of harm's way. That one's my fault, 100 percent."
Morgan was in street clothes for the Yale game after committing a spearing penalty that also drew a game misconduct in the second period of a 4-3 win at St. Lawrence on Jan. 12.
Likewise, Parker Foo was out of the lineup for the Brown game after committing a contact-to-the-head penalty and game misconduct against Yale.
Because they weren't game disqualifications, either player could have played in the following games, but Bennett chose not to use them.
Not singling anyone out, he said: "It's this simple: I don't care about your name. I care about what you did. That's all I care about, is what value are you bringing this team? And it can't be playing hard when you want to play hard. You've got to play hard all the time. And some of these guys saying they want to be pro hockey players ... well, they are far from it."
After Morgan's goal on the first shift of the game, Brown tied it at 10:53 of the first on what appeared to be a harmless dump-in from the left point by Will Scherer that filtered through off the stick of Jake Harris in front of Kupsky.
There weren't many good scoring chances for either team in the second, but the Bears took a 2-1 lead on Colin Burston's second goal of the season off a goalmouth scramble at 15:11.
Union's Anthony Rinaldi had a rush down right wing later in the period that was reminiscent of his game-winning play in overtime against Yale Friday night.
He tried to take it deep and cut in front of goalie Gavin Nieto, but was disrupted by defenseman Zach Giuttari at the last second.
Adams tied it in the third on a heads-up play by Brendan Taylor, who jumped to glove a flipped clearing attempt by Brown, got the puck on his stick blade and shoved it cross-ice to Adams for an easy one-timer from the left circle.
"I thought for two periods we outplayed them pretty good," Brown head coach Brendan Whittet said. "They had a pushback in the third, and we weathered it and found a way to score the game-winner. We're a team that's young, but we're growing as the season progresses. We're learning how to win."
Senior-heavy Union, on the other hand, is lurching through a frustrating, inconsistent season.
"It's more mental than anything," Kupsky said. "I'm not sure why, but we're looking for those answers, and like Liam said, I think we're going to find them, and we're going to find them soon. We have to stick to our process, and hopefully it'll click."
Brown 1 1 1 -- 3
Union 1 0 1 -- 2
First period -- 1, Union, Morgan 6 (ua), :22. 2, Brown, Harris 2 (Scherer, Brink), 10:53. Penalties -- Harrison, U (delay of game), 10:55; Ferrario, B (holding), 16:11.
Second period -- 3, Brown, Burston 2 (Gessert, Be. Taylor), 15:11. Penalties -- Marchin, B (roughing), 3:13; Campbell, U (roughing), 3:13.
Third period -- 4, Union, Adams 7 (Br. Taylor), 4:13. 5, Brown, Maloney 2 (Crozier, Harris), 16:28. Penalties -- Dawson, B (hooking), 5:12; Vidmar, U (holding), 16:52; Jallen, B (holding), 18:36.
Shots on goal -- Brown 11-6-4 -- 21. Union 6-8-14 -- 28.
Power-play opportunities -- Brown 0 of 2. Union 0 of 3.
Goaltenders -- Brown, Nieto W, 7-5-1 (28 shots-26 saves). Union, Kupsky L, 6-3-1 (21-18).
T -- 2:21. A -- 1,892.
Referees -- Joe Carusone, Kevin Graber. Linesmen -- Jason Shattie, Robert Lemnah.