Union-Yale pregame report
Good evening from Messa Rink, where Union tries to rediscover the ability to score even-strength goals as it faces No. 10 Yale.
One thing that you will notice missing before Union (6-6-4 ECAC Hockey, 13-10-5 overall) in the sentence above is a poll ranking. The Dutchmen’s run in the USCHO.com/NCAA hockey top-20 poll ended at 81 straight weeks Monday. The lack of even-strength goals contributed to this. The slide has dropped Union into a tie for sixth with St. Lawrence. The Dutchmen are just a point out of third and a first-round bye for the ECACH tournament.
As I wrote in today’s game advance, the Dutchmen have scored 37 goals, but only 18 of those have come at even strength. The lack of scoring at even strength has resulted in a 5-8-4 and the slide out of the polls after losing to Clarkson and St. Lawrence last weekend.
In the games last weekend, Union scored four goals. Only one came even strength.
“It’s been a struggle for most of the year,” said junior center Josh Jooris, who scored the even-strength goal in the Clarkson game. “We’ve just got to get back to basics. I think we’re trying to do too much and trying to be too fancy. It’s got to be a work-ethic mentality, and getting to that net and taking pucks hard to the net.”
Junior left winger Daniel Carr believes that once Union gets some even-strength goals, the team will gain confidence.
“I think we’re right on the verge of getting a big offensive outbreak here,” Carr said. “As long as we stick to the process, keep throwing pucks to the net and keep going to the net, good things are going to happen.
When Union and Yale met back on Dec. 8 in New Haven, Conn., the Dutchmen scored two power-play goals in a 2-2 tie. That was one of six games in which the Dutchmen failed to score an even-strength goal.
“You look at any league, most goals are scored within 10 feet of the net. As long as we keep going to those areas, it’s going to start to go in.”
There were other two questions that were asked this week — who will start in goal for Union, and will injured defenseman Shawn Stuart play?
The answer to the first question is Troy Grosenick is starting in goal. Grosenick was pulled in the first period of both games last weekend, though he returned in the second period of the St. Lawrence game.
Stuart (sprained ankle) is out. He was injured in the Clarkson game and missed the next night. It’s the second injury he’s suffered in a month. Stuart had a shoulder injury against Quinnipiac Jan. 12, which kept him out of four games.
Left winger Daniel Ciampini returns to the lineup, going back on the line with center Kyle Bodie and right winger Wayne Simpson. Matt Wilkins, who played on that line against St. Lawrence, joins Daniel Carr and Josh Jooris on a line.
Nick Cruice is out.
Here is the Union lineup, starting with the forwards (LW-C-RW):
Daniel Ciampini/Kyle Bodie/Wayne Simpson
Daniel Carr/Josh Jooris/Matt Wilkins
Cole Ikkala/David Roy/Sam Coatta
Matt Hatch/Max Novak/Kevin Sullivan
The defensive pairings are:
Mat Bodie/Charlie Vasaturo
Greg Coburn/Shayne Gostisbehere
Ryan Forgaard/Sebastien Gingras
Yale (9-6-1, 13-7-3) is in second place, two points ahead of Dartmouth, Princeton and RPI and three ahead of Union and St. Lawrence. The Bulldogs will be playing their second game in four days. Thanks to Winter Storm Nemo, their game at Brown as moved from last Saturday to Sunday, and then postponed again until Tuesday. Despite firing 44 shots, the Bulldogs dropped a 1-0 decision.
Junior forward Kenny Agostino leads Yale in scoring with 12 goals and 15 assists. Senior forward Antoine Laganiere is next with 12 goals and 11 assists, and fellow senior forward Andrew Miller is next with 10 goals and 13 assists.
Senior goalie Jeff Malcolm, who is 11-4-2 with a 2.45 goals against average, is out with an arm injury he suffered when he was run into against Princeton two weeks ago. Senior Nick Maricic will start. He has a 2-3-1 record with a 3.13 GAA. The Dutchmen need to attack Maricic with shots, score goals and shake his confidence.
Here is the Yale lineup, starting with the foe
Charles Orzetti/Carson Cooper/Anthony Day
Josh Balch/Clinton Bourbonais/Antoine Laganiere
Trent Ruffolo/Jesse Root/Nicholas Weberg
Kenny Agostino/Andrew Miller/Stu Wilson
The defensive pairings are:
Gus Young/Rob O’Gara
Tommy Fallen/Ryan Obuchowski
Colin Dueck/Matt Killian
The referees are Tim Kotyra and Chris Ciamaga. Mike Emanatian and Justin Prusak are the linesmen.
I’ll have updates on the on Twitter. If you’re not following me, my Twitter handle is @slapschotts. The hashtags I will use for this game are #UnionHockey, #YaleHockey and #ECACHockey. If you have any questions during the game, feel free to ask.
I’ll update my Parting Schotts blog after each period, and have more description of the game.
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Enjoy the game!