College Hockey Slap Schotts: Union wins at Penn State elicit different moods
The moods of Union coach Rick Bennett this weekend couldn’t be more different, even though the Dutchmen came away with a two-game sweep of Penn State in University Park, Pa.
After Saturday’s 4-3 win, Bennett wasn’t pleased. The Dutchmen, who were playing their first game after final exam break, saw a 3-0 lead evaporate. It took a Max Novak goal to snap the 3-3 tie.
“Coming [back] after break, sometimes you’re not fully engaged,” Bennett said after the game.
But following Sunday’s dramatic 5-4 victory, Bennett was very chipper. He watched his team overcome a 4-1 deficit and win it on Daniel Ciampini’s sick game-winning goal with three seconds left in regulation.
I can understand why Bennett was happier with Sunday’s win in the place nicknamed “Happy Valley” than he was with Saturday’s triumph. Saturday’s contest marked the fifth time this season that the Dutchmen blew a lead. It’s a disturbing trend that the Dutchmen need to stop. When you have teams down by three, you don’t let up, you go for the jugular. That is a lesson Union needs to learn. You thought it would know better after what happened in its only November loss against Colgate, when it blew leads of 2-0 and 3-2 and lost, 5-3.
Sunday’s rematch against the Nittany Lions appeared all but over when Penn State scored twice in a 1:25 span midway through the second period. It ended starting goalie Colin Stevens’ night. Alex Sakellaropoulos replaced the Niskayuna native.
But instead of just playing out the final period and a half, the Dutchmen found their groove. Shayne Gostisbehere scored two power-play goals in the second to make it 4-3. Matt Hatch tied it 6:49 into the third.
The Dutchmen continued to press for the go-ahead goal, but it looked like the game was headed to overtime. Ciampini would make sure the game ended in regulation.
Word can’t describe the goal. Thankfully, there is a video of Ciampini’s goal. To view it, click here.
“It’s just a super, individual, outside-inside move,” Bennett said. “He went hard to the net, went to his backhand and threw it in. I thought it was a big-time play a guy who’s coming on in that department. It’s nice to have a guy that’s really stepping up in that department.”
As for coming back to win the game, Bennett said, “It was awesome. It was a great team win. It was nice. Everybody pitched in. It was a great, solid team effort.”
It’s a win that should inspire the Dutchmen, especially with the slate of games coming up over the next two weeks. They return to ECAC Hockey play Friday when they host Princeton at Messa Rink. The next night, it will be a big test as the second-place Dutchmen host first-place and defending ECACH regular-season champion Quinnipiac.
Next week, the Dutchmen will play three games in four days. They host Dartmouth, a team them beat, 7-2, last month in Hanover, N.H., on Dec. 11. The next day, the Dutchmen will board a plane and travel to Minnesota to face second-ranked St. Cloud State for a two-game series Dec. 13-14.
The Dutchmen need to make sure of two things. The first is when they get a multigoal lead, don’t sit on it. Keep pressing and don’t give the opponent a slight bit of hope to come back.
The other is to remember that you’re never out of a game when down by three. This team is averaging 34.7 shots on goal per game. Just keep applying the offensive pressure, and the Dutchmen will, eventually, wear down the opposition.
I wanted to thank everyone who commented on my Friday blog concerning Sam Gore’s awful play-by-play call of the Wisconsin-Minnesota game on ESPNU. I appreciate everyone reading it, and I also want to thank my new followers on Twitter who read the blog.
I still shake my head in amazement of how bad of a telecast it was. ESPN should be embarrassed.
In case you missed my blog, click here. There is a link to the game broadcast on the blog.
Just a friendly reminder that you can vote for your top college hockey moments of 2013. Email me your choices to Email me at email@example.com. You can send me one choice, two choices or up to 10. In order to be published, you will need to have your name and where you are from attached to it. As always, keep it clean.
In case you are stuck for some ideas, here are some suggestions:
— Yale beats Quinnipiac in all-ECAC Hockey NCAA Frozen Four final for Bulldogs’ first national title and the conference’s first since Harvard in 1989.
— Quinnipiac skates away with ECACH regular-season title.
— Union wins second straight ECACH tournament championship.
— A new era begins in college hockey with Big Ten, NCHC and new-look WCHA.
— Former Yale coach Tim Taylor dies.
— RPI goalie Jason Kasdorf named ECAC Hockey rookie of the year; dislocated shoulder ends sophomore season.
— Two Union players give up senior seasons to turn pro.
— Minnesota women go undefeated en route to NCAA title.
I hope you participate. I am looking to post the results on Dec. 23.
Holy Cross shocks Boston College
Holy Cross of Atlantic Hockey sent shock waves across college hockey when it went to Boston College and upset the seventh-ranked Eagles, 5-4, on Saturday.
Center Mike Barrett had two goals and an assist, and right winger Matt Vidal added a goal and two assists as the Crusaders built a 5-1 lead after two periods.
BC scored three times in the third on goals by Ryan Fitzgerald, Michael Sit and Kevin Hayes. The last two goals came 27 seconds apart late in the third. But the Crusaders held on.
Holy Cross goalie Matt Ginn made 34 saves, including 14 in the third when BC outshot the Crusaders, 17-3.
“It’s pretty big,” Holy Cross coach Paul Pearl said after the game. “They’re an excellent team, excellent program, they do things right. It’s kind of like the way we want to model ourselves. To come in here and beat them is special.”
Holy Cross isn’t a stranger to huge upsets. In the 2006 NCAA tournament, the 15th-seeded Crusaders knocked off second-seeded Minnesota, 4-3, in the West Regional semifinals.
Union up, RPI out
After two victories at Penn State over the weekend, Union moved up in the USCHO.com/NCAA top-20 poll Monday.
The Dutchmen (8-3-2) moved up from 15th to 11th in the poll. They extended their winning streak to five games with the wins over Nittany Lions.
Union will have a showdown with fifth-ranked and ECAC Hockey-leading Quinnipiac at 7 p.m. Saturday at Messa Rink.
The Dutchmen are 14th in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine top-15 poll. They weren’t in last week’s poll.
Meanwhile, RPI (7-5-2) dropped out of the USCHO poll. The Engineers, who had the weekend off, got 102 points, most among other teams receiving votes.
Team (First Place Votes) Record Points Last Poll
1 Minnesota (41) 11- 2-1 988 1
2 St. Cloud State (8) 9- 1-2 940 2
3 Michigan 9- 2-1 883 3
4 Providence 11- 2-2 843 4
5 Quinnipiac 13- 2-2 817 5
6 Ferris State (1) 11- 2-2 754 6
7 Massachusetts-Lowell 10- 4-0 683 8
8 Yale 6- 2-2 628 9
9 Boston College 8- 4-2 583 7
10 Clarkson 10- 3-1 552 10
11 Union 8- 3-2 430 15
12 Miami 8- 6-2 421 13
13 Notre Dame 9- 6-1 404 11
14 Lake Superior 9- 4-1 353 16
15 Cornell 7- 4-1 251 14
16 Nebraska-Omaha 8- 6-0 228 17
17 Wisconsin 4- 5-1 179 12
18 New Hampshire 9- 7-1 134 20
19 Northeastern 9- 5-1 131 NR
20 Minnesota-Duluth 6- 5-1 122 18
Others receiving votes: RPI 102, Ohio State 29, Boston University 13, Denver 13, Vermont 7, St. Lawrence 5, Maine 3, North Dakota 2, Air Force 1, Minnesota State 1.
USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll
(First-place votes in parentheses)
Rank School Last Week’s Ranking
1. Minnesota, 508 (31) 1
2. St. Cloud State, 457 (2) 2
3. Michigan, 433 3
4. Providence, 402 4
5. Quinnipiac, 388 5
6. UMass Lowell, 348 8
7. Ferris State, 336 7
8. Yale, 247 9
9. Boston College, 226 6
10. Clarkson, 208 11
11. Notre Dame, 115 10
12. Miami, 104 12
13. Lake Superior State, 89 RV
14. Union, 88 RV
15. Cornell, 43 14
Others receiving votes: Nebraska-Omaha, 33; Wisconsin, 23; RPI, 12; New Hampshire, 6; Northeastern, 6; Minnesota Duluth, 4; North Dakota, 3.
I have a vote in the USCHO.com poll. Here is how I voted.
2) St. Cloud
6) Ferris State
10) Boston College
13) Notre Dame
14) Lake Superior
19) Minn. Duluth
Daily Gazette/ECACH Four Stars
Time for my four stars of the week.
Player of the Week — Greg Carey, St. Lawrence
The senior forward had a goal and three assists in the Saints’ 5-2 win over North Dakota on Friday. Carey scored a goal in Saturday’s 3-2 loss in the rematch.
Goalie of the Week — Mitch Gillam, Cornell
The freshman netminder not only stopped 25 shots in last Tuesday’s 4-2 victory over Niagara, but he scored an empty-net goal with nine seconds left in the game. Mitch Gillam became the third NCAA goalie to shoot and score a goal.
Rookie of the Week — Sam Anas, Quinnipiac
The freshman forward and leading candidate for ECACH Rookie of the Year had a goal and an assist in last Wednesday’s 3-3 tie against Providence, and repeated that effort in a 6-1 win Saturday over UMass.
Team of the Week — Dartmouth
The Big Green earned their first win of the season by beating Harvard, 2-1, on Saturday.
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Good Monday! Good Hockey!
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