The No. 2-ranked Union “Flying” Dutchmen took the ice against No. 9 St. Cloud State in a top-10 matchup this past weekend at Messa Rink, on both Friday and Saturday nights.
In what was sure to be a tough matchup between two hockey powerhouses, the Dutchmen continued their excellence on the ice as they won Friday night’s contest by a huge margin with a 5-1 victory, but suffered their first loss of the season by a score of 3-2 the following night.
On Friday, the Dutchmen came out with guns blazing, as they scored three goals in the opening nine minutes of the game to chase St. Cloud’s starting goalkeeper out of the game.
Michael Pontarelli ’17 started the scoring for Union with a power-play goal just 1:51 into the period. A few minutes later, defenseman Sebastien Gingras ’16 buried a loose puck in front of the net to make it 2-0 Dutchmen. Forward Mark Bennett ’15 added to the lead by banking a shot off the back heel of St. Cloud goaltender Charlie Lindgren, giving Union a 3-0 lead.
Sam Coatta ’15 and Max Novak ’15 added goals of their own later in the game to seal the win for Union.
The following night, the Dutchmen suffered their first loss of the season and saw their NCAA-leading unbeaten streak, which dated back to last season, snap in a 3-2 loss to St. Cloud State.
The Huskies of St. Cloud heavily out-shot Union with a 39-24 advantage and managed to score the only goal of the third period at 8:18, which proved to be the game winner.
Spencer Foo ’18 scored Union’s first goal on assists from Daniel Ciampini ’15 and J.C. Brassard ’18 late into the first period. St. Cloud responded with two goals of their own in the second period before Mike Vecchione ’17 buried a penalty shot to even the score at 2-2. The goal was also Vecchione’s team-leading fourth goal of the season and extended his points streak to six consecutive games.
Goaltender Alex Sakellaropoulos ’17 made an impressive 36 saves in his first start of the season between the pipes for Union.
The Dutchmen open their ECAC Hockey play next weekend and look to bounce back from the loss against St. Cloud with a home-and-home series against cross-town rival Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Friday night’s game will be away at RPI in Troy at 7 p.m. and Saturday night’s contest will be in Messa Rink at 7 p.m.