By Chris Allen
Coming into the weekend the Dutchmen were ranked #3 in the nation and second in the ECAC. Their first matchup was against Harvard in White Night at the Rink.
The fans certainly got the message, as Messa Arena was full of students, faculty and locals who came dressed in white and ready to support their Dutchmen.
Harvard came out fast with physical play and notched the first goal 4:30 into the first period. The Dutchmen answered 9 minutes later with a goal by Mike Vecchione. Seniors Kevin Sullivan and Matt Hatch were able to find the back of the net in the 2nd period to put the Dutchmen up 3-1. The Crimson made the game interesting with a goal in the third but Matt Hatch put the game away with his second goal of the night in the third. This was a career high night for Hatch who recorded three points on the night.
This win was able to boost Union over Quinnipiac to take control of the first place position in the ECAC. Also with the win the Dutchmen expanded their winning streak to 4 games as they prepared to travel to the Times Union Center to face RPI.
The Mayor’s Cup game between the Engineers proved to be anything but boring. Hobey Baker candidate, Shayne Gostisbehere, put the Dutchmen ahead with a shorthanded goal. The game displayed the rivalry between the two schools, as it was very physical in every zone of the ice.
The Engineers were able to tie it up in the second period and added another in the third that sealed the game. Even with the loss the Dutchmen still maintained the first place position in the ECAC, ahead of Colgate who moved in front of Quinnipiac.
The true signs of tension between the teams came late in the third when captain Mat Bodie and RPI’s Brock Higgs got into a tussle right off a faceoff.
Within seconds the entire RPI bench was on the ice and multiple fights were being played out across the ice. After the refs were able to control the majority of players, Coach Rick Bennett displayed his passion for his team after witnessing RPI players storming the ice as Union players stayed on their bench. When all was said and done there were two players from each team who were issued game disqualification penalties that include an automatic one-game suspension.
Coach Rick Bennett was also suspended by Union for two games; he issued a statement saying, “On behalf of Union College and the men’s hockey team, I apologize for my actions and behavior after last night’s game against RPI. The administration, supporters, and loyal fans of both programs deserve and demand better from me. I’m truly sorry for the events that took place after the game.”
The Dutchmen’s assistant coach Joe Dumais will serve as the acting head coach next weekend as they travel to St. Lawrence and then Clarkson University.
Hopefully Union can keep up this fiery intensity, truly demonstrating the love they have of the game and support of their teammates and coach.
This upcoming weekend will be important as the rest of the games are because they are all against fellow ECAC teams. St. Lawrence is third to last in the ECAC so they will be coming out fast as they have nothing to lose. I would expect a similar game to the Harvard game that was just played. The Clarkson match up will be a tougher test for the Dutchmen as Clarkson is currently 4th in the ECAC. They have a large and physical team, which should make for an exciting game.
We wish our Dutchmen the best of luck as they venture up north and can come away with four important points.