Union-RPI postgame report (with 3 videos)
You want rivals to play hard, have some nastiness, but you want to play with respect.
Saturday night’s game between Capital Region rivals Union and RPI got nasty, and dirty. It was not pretty.
Let’s start with what happened at the end of the first period. The score was tied, 1-1, and RPI had the momentum. As RPI coach Seth Appert was walking across the ice when he got into an argument with Union coach Rick Bennett. One of the officials had to step in front Appert and guide him to the locker room.
“I’m having a pizza party tonight, and I wanted to know if he wanted to come over,” Bennett said with tongue firmly in cheek. “He said, ‘No.’”
The game turned in the second period, when RPI defenseman Luke Curadi connected with Union defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere’s head seconds after Gostisbehere took a shot from the slot.
Now, there is a size difference and weight between the two. Curadi is 6-foot-5, 250 pounds. Gostisbehere is 5-11, 170. When you are as big as Curadi, some hits are going to look worse than they really are. Curadi got a five-minute major for contact to the head and game disqualification. That means he is suspended for Friday’s game at Dartmouth.
Yes, Gostisbehere suffered a cut to his nose that required three stitches to close. But when both coaches said the hit wasn’t dirty, then you have to believe it. To Curadi’s credit, he didn’t leave his feet. But his size definitely played a role.
“That guy is 6-5 and 250, and Shayne’s 5-11,” Union coach Rick Bennett said. “He had his head down coming through. I don’t think it looked as bad as it appeared at live speed.”
Said RPI coach Seth Appert: “We saw it on video, and you have to be aware of when your opponent is vulnerable. It was not an intentional, dirty hit. In watching the video, Luke’s arms were flat down in front of him, so there is no extension, no elbow, or anything like that.”
Union would score three power-play goals on what was a three-minute power play — Kyle Bodie got a two-minute roughing penalty defending Gostisbehere — and blow the game open, taking a 5-1 lead. Union would have a 7-2 advantage after two and went on to a 7-3 ECAC Hockey victory.
Did Gostisbehere think it was a dirty hit?
“That’s hockey,” Gostisbehere said.
But what happened midway through the third period must be looked at by the league.
RPI captain CJ Lee, who had a 10-minute misconduct in Friday’s 4-2 loss to Union, took a run at Dutchmen defenseman Charlie Vasaturo, who was facing the Union bench. Lee hit Vasaturo from behind, causing him to go down. That set off a melee, with Union’s Josh Jooris going at it with RPI’s Matt Tinordi. It appeared both players were throwing punches.
When the dust settled, Lee got a five-minute major from checking from behind and a game misconduct. Jooris and Tinordi were given 10-minute misconducts. Union’s Nick Cruice was also given a 10-minute misconduct.
Lee’s hit was worse than Curadi’s and was more deserving of a game disqualification. Jooris and Tinordi got away with fighting. How referees Scott Whittemore and Harry Dumas didn’t give Lee a game DQ and Jooris and Tinordi fighting majors and game DQs is very puzzling.
Union trainer Cheryl Rockwood should be given a lot of credit for getting Gostisbehere back out on the ice quickly. He didn’t miss a shift, and ended up with two assists during the major power play.
“A great job by Cheryl,” Bennett said. “She’s the best in the business.”
Missed penalty shot
Cruice was awarded a penalty shot late in the second period when he was pulled down by Guy Leboeuf on a breakaway. Cruice beat goalie Bryce Merriam, but his shot hit the post.
It was the eighth penalty shot in Union’s Division I history, and the first since Mario Valery-Trabucco got one against Colgate on Dec. 4, 2009. Union has converted on just one penalty shot, Glenn Sanders against Harvard on Jan. 4, 2003.
Union’s six goals in the second period tied a team record and set another. It was the Dutchmen’s first six-goal period since Nov. 1, 1991, when they scored six times in the second period of their 9-6 loss against Merrimack in their Division I debut.
The record set was most goals in a period in ECACH play. The previous mark was five, set three times — Jan. 31, 2004, against Dartmouth in the second period, Feb. 5, 2010, against Clarkson in the second period and Jan. 8, 2011, also against Clarkson, this time in the first period.
Also, Daniel Carr’s first-period power-play goal was the 23rd of his career. That broke the record of 22 set by Jordan Webb from 2001-05.
I have three postgame videos.
To see Bennett's press conference, click here.
To view interviews with Coburn, Gostisbehere and Ciampini, click here.
To watch Appert’s press conference, click here.
My three stars of the game:
1) Daniel Ciampini, Union right winger — Had two goals and an assist.
2) Greg Coburn, Union defenseman — Had a goal and two assists.
3) Shayne Gostisbehere, Union defenseman — Collected three goals and three stitches to his nose.
That’s all from Messa Rink. Look for my College Hockey Slap Schotts blog on Monday
Good Night! Good Hockey! And turn your clocks back a hour!