By Tommy Schaffer
The Union Men’s Hockey team (13-10-5, 6-6-4 ECAC Hockey) traveled to the North Country this past weekend to take on Clarkson and St. Lawrence. Union went into the games hoping to extend a nine-game win streak against Clarkson and a seven-game win streak against St. Lawrence. However, Union’s domination over the North Country ended when they fell short in both games.
Union took on Clarkson Friday night in Cheel Arena to start the weekend off. The Golden Knights only managed to produce 18 shots on the Dutchmen; however, this was good enough to score two goals. Sam Labrecque scored the first goal for Clarkson in the first period. Simon Bessette fed Labrecque, who fired a low slap shot from the high slot to beat Union’s junior goalie Troy Grosenick. Union controlled the rest of the first period, but couldn’t put together a goal despite outshooting the Golden Knights 21-9 in the first period.
The Dutchmen, who were playing very well this season on special teams, ended up giving up a power play goal in the second period. Clarkson’s Allan McPherson tacked on the second goal while senior forward Kyle Bodie was in the penalty box for boarding. Grosenick was pulled in favor of sophomore goalie Colin Stevens following the second goal.
Union applied pressure with the game winding down, however it was too late. With the Dutchmen trailing 2-0, junior forward Josh Jooris tallied his seventh goal on the season, bringing Union within one with just over six minutes remaining. Jooris shot a backhand shot after corralling the rebound off a shot by sophomore defender Charlie Vasaturo.
Union had two power play chances in the final period, but could not capitalize on either and only compiled a total of five shots during them. Union would end the game 0-3 in power play opportunities. The Dutchmen would end the game outshooting the Golden Knights 28-18. This was not enough for the Dutchmen as they would be defeated by the score of 2-1. This marked the first loss to Clarkson since Jan. 23, 2009.
Union traveled to Canton on Saturday night to play St. Lawrence hoping to tally a win for the weekend. Unfortunately, another slow start cost the Dutchmen in the end, when they lost 4-2.
St. Lawrence took a 3-0 in the first period, two of which were power play goals. Union allowed three power play goals on the night, since St. Lawrence went three-for-eight on the man-advantage for the game.
Sophomore defender Shayne Gostisbehere was in the penalty box for tripping when St. Lawrence forward Greg Carey broke the scoreless tie with a goal at the 12:19 mark in the first period. Four minutes later, the Saints would add their second goal when Grosenick and Gostisbehere miscommunicated and turned the puck over. The puck ended up in St. Lawrence’s Kyle Essery possession, and he fed Tommy Thompson for their second goal.
Grosenick was replaced by Stevens for the second night in a row. However, Stevens gave up the third goal of the period. Grosenick returned to play at the beginning of the second period.
Juniors Mat Bodie and Daniel Carr added goals to cut the lead from 3-2. Bodie was also credited with an assist for Carr’s goal, giving him two points for the game. With the two points, Bodie tied the school record for career points by a defenseman with 79, matching Lane Caffaro ‘09.
The Saints added their final goal midway through the third period. After Union defenseman Sebastian Gingras ‘16 was called for tripping, St. Lawrence’s Jeremy Wick added the fourth goal of the night.
With the two losses on the weekend, Union dropped in the ECAC rankings. They currently have 16 points, which ties them with St. Lawrence. Dartmouth, RPI and Princeton are ahead of the Dutchmen by one point with 17, while Yale sits at 19 and currently securing second place. Quinnipiac has a comfortable lead with 30 points.
Union needs to climb the ECAC rankings with only six games left if they want a first round bye in the ECAC tournament, since only the top four teams receive the first round bye. This is important because resting the players is essential this late in the season. In the 2012 ECAC tournament the top four seeds (Union, Cornell, Harvard and Colgate) all won their quarterfinal matches after getting the extra weekend off.
The Dutchmen will host four of the final six games. Union returns to Messa Rink this weekend, starting on Friday night with a contest against Yale at 7:00 p.m.