Union preparing for rival

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By Andrew Stinchfield

After a two-week hiatus, the Union College Men’s Hockey team (3-1-1) blew out American International College 8-0 and tied the University of Connecticut 2-2 last weekend.

Against AIC, senior forward Kyle Bodie matched a career high with four points (two goals, two assists) and sophomore goaltender Colin Stevens made 25 saves for his first career shutout.

Union attacked AIC early-and-often in the game, netting four goals in the first period alone to put the contest out of reach early. Junior forward Matt Hatch started things off for the Dutchmen, scoring his first goal of the season after beating AIC goaltender Ben Meisner from a shot in the slot after receiving a pass from Bodie.

Union kicked it into high gear with 10 minutes remaining in the first period, where the team scored three goals to give the Dutchmen a commanding 4-0 lead. Freshman forward Nick Cruice scored his first career goal after firing a shot over Mesiner’s shoulder. Senior forward Wayne Simpson and Kyle Bodie also contributed with first period goals.

The Dutchmen showed no signs of slowing down as the team scored two quick goals at the start of the second period to put the game further out of reach.

Junior forward Josh Jooris scored his second goal of the season on a wrist shot from the right circle. Sophomore forward Sam Coatta forced Mesiner to be benched after scoring a goal on a pass from junior forward Cole Ikkala. The Dutchmen had their way with Mesiner, who allowed six goals and only made nine saves.

Kyle Bodie and sophomore Max Novak scored the final two goals for the Dutchmen to give the team a huge 8-0 win. The team had an astounding 38 shots on net.

The following night the team took on the University of Connecticut. In their last meeting on October 28, 2010, Connecticut held a three-goal lead and the Dutchmen had to rally back to tie the contest 3-3. Saturday night’s game would be a similar story.

Union took an early lead thanks to a nice goal from senior forward Wayne Simpson. However, Connecticut quickly responded with a goal of their own on a 2-on-1. The Huskies later broke the 1-1 tie in the third when UConn’s Brant Harris scored on a wrap-around.

With time winding down and Union pressing for the tying score, Jooris won an offensive zone face-off back to senior defenseman Greg Coburn, who fired a long wrist shot over the shoulder of UConn goaltender Garret Bartus to even the score at 2-2.

After the goal, Union continued to apply pressure but was unable to turn scoring chances into goals. Union out shot UConn 22-5 in the third period and 41-23 for the game. However, they could not capitalize on any of these chances during regulation or overtime.

The Dutchmen are fortunate to have come back and tied UConn, but they are certainly not happy. UConn, who is still winless this season, is a team that they should have beaten easily. To have out shot UConn 22-5 in the third period and only produce one goal seems impossible after the team’s 8-0 beat down on AIC the night before.

However, the team must move forward as they open up ECAC play against their rivals RPI this weekend. RPI is coming off a weekend where they played two overtime games against number 10 ranked Minnesota State, one in which they tied and the other they lost. The Engineers have shown that they have the ability to play against the best teams in the country, and they certainly will be playing with a chip on their shoulder after losing in such bitter fashion. Expect the Union-RPI games to be fast, ferocious, and entertaining. Last season a game was so heated that the refs did not allow the teams to shake hands at the end.

Union and RPI will play a home and home series this weekend with Friday’s game at Troy. On Saturday, the Dutchmen will return home to Messa Rink to play in just their second home game of the season. Both games are scheduled to start at 7 p.m..

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