Union-Quinnipiac postgame report (with 3 videos)
Union came into Friday’s ECAC Hockey matchup against Quinnipiac with a 10-game unbeaten streak in league play. The Dutchmen’s last loss was a 4-0 setback to Yale last Nov. 12.
That was a low point of last season.
Friday’s game went below that.
The eighth-ranked Dutchmen were outhustled, outchecked, outskated, outclassed and thoroughly manhandled by the 16th-ranked Bobcats in their ECAC Hockey showdown. The scoreboard read Quinnipiac 4, Union 0. But it could have been a lot worse.
The surprising return of defenseman and team captain Mat Bodie should have inspired the Dutchmen, who were coming off a lackluster two-game sweep of Penn State last week. Add in a 3-2 loss to Dartmouth Nov. 10, prior to the exam break, the Dutchmen had gone three straight games without an acceptable effort.
Bodie, who broke his left wrist on the first shift of the Nov. 2 game against RPI, was expected to miss six-to-eight weeks. Instead, he missed five games.
But Bodie’s return did nothing to light a fire under the Dutchmen. Now, it’s four straight games in which Union (3-2 ECACH, 8-3-1 overall) has not played inspired hockey.
“It just felt getting Mat back would give us a little life after having three games of coming out a little flat,” Union coach Rick Bennett said after his team lost its second straight ECACH game. “You get your captain back and try to get that swagger back. Well, guess what? It did not work tonight.”
The Dutchmen were outshot, 33-20. They didn’t test goalie Eric Hartzell much after the first period.
This was downright ugly. It was even worse than last season’s Yale game, even though the Dutchmen were down, 4-0, in the first 22:43 of the game. At least they were firing shots on Yale goalie Jeff Malcolm. They had 38 shots over the final two periods of that game.
Against Hartzell, Union managed just eight shots over the final 40 minutes. And that is after the Dutchmen outshot the Bobcats, 12-11, in the first period. But that is even misleading. Quinnipiac had the first eight shots of the game. Union didn’t get its first shot on goal until there was 9:44 left in the period.
“I thought that gave us some life in the first,” Bennett said. “I thought we fed off of that.”
But the Bobcats wore down the Dutchmen. Late second-period goals by Jeremy Langlois and Travis St. Denis gave Quinnipiac a 2-0 lead. The Bobcats went for the kill in the third, with Langlois and Ben Arnt scoring.
And how many shots did Union have on Hartzell in the third period? Three. Three may be a magic number on “Schoolhouse Rock,” but it’s a dreadful number if you are trying to mount a comeback.
“We were immature out there,” Bodie said. “We weren’t getting pucks deep. We weren’t getting pucks out. If I was to use one word to sum how we played, it was immature.”
Now, with a quick turnaround Saturday — Union faces Princeton at 4 p.m. — Bennett will have to figure out what kind of lineup he will put out there. He dressed seven defensemen, one more than usual, and 11 forwards, one less than normal. Will he go back to 12 forwards and six defensemen? Will he dress less forwards?
“I can do a lot of things, and I will,” Bennett said. “You guys will have to just stay tuned.”
It should be intriguing to see what he does.
The Quinnipiac players were certainly having fun. The Bobcats were excited over the smallest play they made.
Bennett noticed, and he was very complimentary of the Bobcats.
“I loved the energy [of Quinnipiac],” Bennett said. “It was like a Stanley Cup [celebration] again with everything they did. My God, they made a good pass, and they went off the deep end.
“Basically, it was an old-time spanking. That’s what it was. My hat’s off to them. They played great. That’s a top-notch team.”
St. Denis out
The Bobcats lost the services of St. Denis for Saturday’s game at RPI because he was given a five-minute major and game disqualification for facemasking late in the third period.
St. Denis got involved with Dutchmen defenseman Charlie Vasaturo in front of the Union net. If anything, Vasaturo initiated the scrum. And it was St. Denis who was helmetless after the two were separated.
Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold was angry. He didn’t comment on it after the game, but when he was on the bench, he screamed to referee Bryan Hicks that the call was “horsehockey.”
Well, he didn’t say horsehockey. I can’t accurately quote him, but the fans that were still around heard what he said.
Speaking of expletives, Bobcats defenseman Mike Dalhuisen dropped a few F-bombs on Bodie after Bodie was engaged with another Quinnipiac player.
“Pick on somebody your own size,” Dalhuisen screamed. That is the clean version.
It was easy to hear everything because the 1,607 fans in attendance treated Messa Rink like a library. Yes, the students are done for the first trimester, so the Dutchmen lose that enthusiasm.
But that’s no excuse for the fans to keep quiet. You’re supposed to cheer for your team and intimidate the opposition.
I have three postgame videos.
To see Bennett's press conference, click here.
To view Bodie’s postgame remarks, click here.
To watch Quinnipiac’s press conference with Langlois and Pecknold, click here.
My three stars of the game:
1) Jeremy Langlois, Quinnipiac center — Had two goals and an assist.
2) Eric Hartzell, Quinnipiac goalie — Made 20 saves for his third shutout of the season.
3) Russell Goodman, Quinnipiac right winger — Collected three assists.
That’s all from Messa Rink. I’ll be back with you Saturday afternoon for the Union-Princeton game.
Good Night! Good Hockey!