The Union Men’s hockey team (1-1) earned a split in a pair of road games against the University of Michigan, one of the top ranked teams in the nation, on October 7 and 8 to open the 2016-2017 season.
In Friday’s opener, the Dutchmen grabbed a thrilling 4-3 victory, scoring two goals in a span of 2:28 late in the third period to stun the home crowd at Michigan’s Yost Ice Arena.
After Mike Vecchione ’17 tied the game with a power-play goal, Union’s second of the game, defenseman Jeff Taylor ’17 scored the go-ahead goal with 2:09 left on a slap shot from just inside the right faceoff circle.
On the goal, Sebastian Vidmar ’19, made a nice play to receive a hard pass by Taylor and enter the offensive zone cleanly before sliding a backhanded pass over to Spencer Foo ’18.
Foo, who had already scored twice, drew the defenders towards him and sent a cross-ice pass to an open Taylor who fired home the winning goal right underneath the crossbar.
The game got off to a rocky start for the Dutchmen, as Michigan took an early 2-0 lead in the first period thanks to a power play goal by Sam Piazza and a shorthanded goal by Tony Calderone.
The Dutchmen responded quickly, however, with a power play goal of their own by Foo at 15:10 of the opening period.
Just over three minutes later, Foo found the back of the net again, finishing off a pass from Brett Supinski ’19 to tie the game. Supinski did well to hold onto the puck behind Michigan’s net, and his no-look pass deflected off a few skates right to Foo in the slot.
Union’s top forward line of Vidmar, Vecchione, and Foo was dangerous all game. In addition to his three points Foo had a team-high six shots, while Vecchione and Vidmar each had two assists and three shots.
Michigan forward Will Lockwood scored the second period’s only goal, sending a wrist shot past goalie Alex Sakellaropoulos ’17 on an odd-man rush, giving the Wolverines a 3-2 lead.
Sakellaropoulos stopped 23 shots for the Dutchmen, who outshot their hosts 40-26.
On Saturday night, goals by Niko Porikos and Piazza opened up a two-goal lead for Michigan in the first period again.
This time, the Dutchmen were unable to come back, and Michigan forward James Sanchez added goals in the second and third period to seal the 4-0 win. Union applied pressure in the third, outshooting Michigan 13-7, but goalie Hayden Lavigne held on for a 31-save shutout.
Jake Kupsky ‘19 got the start in net for Union, and made 23 saves on 27 shots.
Vas Kolias ’20, Anthony Rinaldi ’20, Luc Brown ’20, and Ben Newhouse ’20 all made their Union debuts in the season-opening series against Michigan.
The hockey team will be back on the road this weekend when they face off against American International College and Sacred Heart University.