The Union Men’s Hockey team continued its early-season non-conference slate this past weekend with a pair of matchups against No. 11-ranked Michigan and UNH.
Union entered the weekend ranked inside the top 20 nationally by USCHO.com for the first time all season, coming in at No. 18.
Friday night’s bout against Michigan marked not only Michigan’s first trip to Messa Rink, but also the first time the two teams have ever faced off. The talented Michigan squad features two 2015 NHL 1st-round draft picks: Zach Werenski and Kyle Connor.
Union came ready to play in the weekend’s first game, with Mark Dufor ’19 getting it started early by stealing a puck from the Michigan point and putting a backhand shot over Michigan goalie Steve Racine’s right shoulder to give Union a 1-0 lead. It was Dufor’s first collegiate goal.
The Dutchmen held their early 1-0 lead into the second period, only to watch Michigan player Nolan De Jong throw a shot off of fellow teammate Alex Kile, which wound up in the back of the net to tie the game up at one.
Ryan Scarfo ’18 answered back with a shorthanded goal, and then Dufor capped off the period with a wrister that found the back of the net in the final fourteen seconds to regain the Union lead.
Michigan responded in the third, with goals from Tyler Motte and Justin Selman that tied the game at three with 15 minutes to play.
From there, things got wild; first, Michigan tallied its third straight goal to make it 4-3. Then Mike Pontarelli ’17 capitalized on a Michigan turnover and once again knotted the game up at four.
Roman Ammirato ’18 added a fifth goal for Union, but the Dutchmen lost their lead once again with under 30 seconds left to play thanks to Michigan’s JT Compher.
This would send the game into overtime, where amazingly enough both teams failed to score, and the game ended in a 5-5 tie.
The following night, Union put its undefeated record up against the UNH Wildcats. After the Dutchmen defense’s solid play in their early games this season, the group looked to have a bounce-back performance after allowing five goals to Michigan the previous night.
Union once again started out strong, taking an early 1-0 lead on a Spencer Foo ’18 goal. UNH answered back with an equalizer from Dan Correale, but Union jumped back in front on Scarfo’s second goal of the weekend which made it 2-1.
Things went downhill from there: UNH’s Maxim Gaudreault tied it and his teammate Tyler Kelleher converted a 2-on-1 to give UNH a 3-2 lead in the second.
Then, Wildcats’ Andrew Poturalski scored a power-play goal 59 seconds into the third period and gave UNH a much-needed insurance goal, while completely taking the Messa Rink crowd out of the game.
In the third, UNH player Richard Boyd iced the puck for an empty-netter goal late in the game that made it 5-2. The score would hold up to be final and UNH gave Union its first loss of the season.
The Dutchmen take on archrival RPI next weekend.