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Hanson, Union blank Yale 3-0

Hanson, Union blank Yale 3-0

Goalie stops 33 shots, Dutchmen make up for two shutouts by Yale during the regular season to take Game 1
Hanson, Union blank Yale 3-0
Union goalie Darion Hanson (34) tries to cover the puck during a scramble on his left post at Yale on Friday night.
Photographer: STEVE MUSCO PHOTO

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- So that's what a puck past Corbin Kaczperski looks like.

It took all of 5:31 for the Union men's hockey team to score on the Yale senior goalie on Friday night, the same guy who had shut the Dutchmen out twice this season.

Then the No. 10-seeded Dutchmen did it again, at which point their own goalie, Darion Hanson, turned the tables on No. 7 Yale and stopped all 33 shots on goal he faced to give Union a 3-0 victory at Ingalls Rink in Game 1 of the ECAC Hockey tournament first round.

Yale (13-15-2) blanked Union (8-23-4) 2-0 at Messa Rink and 5-0 at Ingalls during the regular season, but goals by Gabriel Seger in the first period, Brandon Estes in the second and an empty-netter by Sean Harrison with 1:34 left in the game gives the Dutchmen the upper hand in the best-of-3 series, which resumes at 7 p.m. Saturday.

It also gives them a boost, knowing that they can find a way to beat Kaczperski.

"It was like all the jitters fade away," Estes said. "You get one in and everyone is like, 'Yeah, we can do this. We're good to go now. Just play hockey.'"

"You could tell. It's nice to play downhill sometimes," Union head coach Rick Bennett said. "We got the first one, we haven't scored on that guy in two games, and once that happens, sometimes the dam breaks and one leads to two."

Hanson benefited from two Yale shots that got behind him and banged off the iron out of harm's way, but was alert and sharp with his reflexes, no moreso than when he preserved a 2-0 lead with 4:30 left in the game.

With Union's defensive spacing leaving a large patch of open ice between the circles, Yale's Cole Donhauser rolled down the middle and got the puck with plenty of time to pick a target. The lefthander tried to hit the upper right corner, but Hanson flipped his left shoulder up and deflected the puck away with his elbow.

"I kind of saw it coming," Hanson said. "We kind of bunched up at the blueline, he was diving in, so I kind of saw that play develop where he was going to have a lot of time. So, for me, what it is is you see that puck gets to him, you try and get some depth and then stay patient. He could've skated all the way over, so I tried to keep my feet, I did, and luckily that allowed me to get my elbow up there and I got a piece of it."

"He made some big saves, especially that one with that guy walking right down the middle," Estes said. "And I know there's a couple more that got thrown through traffic that I don't know how he sees them."

"He had poise. Composure," Bennett said. "He came back to the bench [during a third-period timeout] and was a positive influence on everybody, telling them, 'Hey, take it easy. Deep breaths.' He was an absolute leader tonight. We had a lot of guys who really battled hard tonight. And I'm not saying some didn't, but we had some serious warriors out there, which was fun to see."

The Dutchmen went ahead 1-0 at 5:31 of the first period when Seger finished off a rush into the Yale zone for his seventh goal of the season.

Anthony Rinaldi brought the puck in, turned and dropped it back to Seger between the circles, and although Yale defenseman Billy Sweezey stick-checked Seger, Seger was able to fling it inside the right post with no follow-through on his shot.

The Bulldogs nearly tied it during the only power play for either team in the period, but Dante Palecco's wrist shot rang off the crossbar with 1:10 left in the first.

Hanson got some more help in the second period, when Graham Lillibridge's slap shot got past the goalie but banged off the right post during a power play with 2:42 left.

"Sometimes, as a goalie, it hits the post and you know it's going in," Hanson said with a rueful laugh. "Tonight there was one time -- actually, I should say it was both times -- it is a very happy sound. I don't think those are bounces we've gotten all that much this year. What better time to have that happen."

By the time Lillibridge was denied, the Dutchmen were up 2-0 on Estes' power-play goal at 12:38, as he was able to slide the puck past Kaczperski during a scramble in front of the net.

"The puck just kind of squirted out," Estes said. "I tried to pull it out of the pile and throw it toward the net, and it went in.

"You try to keep playing the way you are. It gives a team a little more breathing room. It lets us be a little more relaxed -- I shouldn't say 'relaxed' -- but, in a sense, yeah. It gives us some breathing space."

"You come here, you're the lower seed, on the road, and all we're seeing and hearing is, 'Oh, you guys didn't score on them all year, how are you going to beat them in the playoffs?'" Hanson said. "To get one by them, all that goes right out the window. It lets us settle down and play our game."

"We were OK today; we have to be very good tomorrow night," Yale head coach Keith Allain said. "OK is not going to get it done. We’ll see what happens tomorrow."

Union 1 1 1 -- 3

Yale 0 0 0 -- 0

First period -- 1, Union, Seger (Rinaldi, Foo), 5:31. Penalties -- Ryan, U (cross-checking), 17:16.

Second period -- 2, Union, Estes 3 (Harrison, Kolias), 12:38 (pp). Penalties -- Campolieto, U (goaltender interference), 7:29; Hall, Y (tripping), 11:16; Stevens, Y (interference), 13:27; Campolieto, U (slashing), 15:27; Seger, U (holding), 18:08.

Third period -- 3, Union, Harrison 6 (Rinaldi), 18:26 (en). Penalties -- Fineman, U (cross-checking), 6:16; Rowan, Y (charging), 20:00.

Shots on goal -- Union 7-10-8 -- 25. Yale 10-10-13 -- 33.

Goalies -- Union, Hanson W, 7-22-4 (33 shots-33 saves). Yale, Kaczperski L, 12-13-2 (24-22).

T -- 2:25. A -- 700.

Referees -- Chris Pitoscia, Douglas Place Jr. Linesmen -- Dan Taggart, Ryan Knapp.

Reach Mike MacAdam at 518-395-3146 or [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @Mike_MacAdam.

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