Union-Colgate postgame report (with 2 videos)
I can understand where Union coach Rick Bennett was coming from.
After hearing question after question from the media about why his Dutchmen can’t protect leads in the third period, he admitted something.
“That’s all I keep hearing is this team’s been hanging on,” Bennett said. “I’m here to tell you that I’m sick of those questions. They were answered tonight.”
The Dutchmen provided those answers, and kept the reporters searching for new questions, when they took a 2-1 lead into the third period against Colgate on Saturday. Although the Dutchmen didn’t score in the third, they didn’t give one up, either, and earned a much-needed ECAC Hockey victory.
Union (5-4-3 ECACH, 11-8-4 overall) came into the game having blown third-period leads in two straight games, and four of their previous five ECACH contests. The low points came in the last two games, with the Dutchmen wasting a 2-0 lead against Quinnipiac in a 3-2 loss, and Friday night against Cornell, when a 2-1 Union advantage turned into a 3-2 Big Red win. The other two games that Union lost the lead, at Brown and Yale Dec. 7-8, ended up in ties.
The important aspect is that the Dutchmen did against the Raiders (3-6-1, 11-9-2) that they didn’t do in the other games was play a solid third period. Instead of being timid, they were attacking. The Dutchmen outshot the Raiders, 15-8, in the final 20 minutes.
“They’re jumping up and down in [the locker room],” Bennett said. “It was a great team win, and I emphasize the word team. We’ve faced a lot of adversity here. It’s just nice to see them come back and get a win.”
This was a much-needed win for the Dutchmen. It was their first home win since Nov. 25 against Penn State. The Dutchmen had gone 0-2-1 in their last three home games. They hadn’t experienced a four-game home winless since the 2009-10 season.
After two straight tough losses, the Dutchmen needed a game like this. I thought that they had a lot of jump throughout the game. And they were especially strong in the third period. That was the type of third period Dutchmen fans are used to seeing.
“Like I said last night, we never lost confidence,” said goalie Troy Grosenick, who made 25 saves. “We’ve always had that confidence. That was there tonight. I think we played with a lot of heart and got the job done.”
The Dutchmen snapped a 1-1 tie, thanks to freshman forward Nick Cruice. He was in the penalty box when Colgate’s Jeremy Price scored a power-play goal midway through the second period.
Cruice made up for that with his second goal of the year, a shot from the left circle that knuckled over goalie Spencer Finney’s glove at 13:07 of the second.
“It kind of happened fast,” said Cruice, who scored his second goal of the season. “It all started with our forecheck, especially with our fourth line. Our job tonight was definitely get the bodies going and getting [pucks] deep. Give-and-go was an option cutting through the middle.
“I’ve got to give a lot of credit to [freshman forward] Dave Roy. He’s the one that told me to shoot because it was at the end of our shift. I was trying to get pucks on net. Fortunately, it went in.”
The goal made up for a contact to the head-elbowing penalty Cruice took.
“It was a relief,” Cruice said. “I took that penalty, and it was dumb on my part. It was definitely good to get it back for the team.”
And it was a good for the Dutchmen to get back in track. Now, they need to build off of that and put away Harvard on Tuesday at Messa and keep the media from asking the same questions about blowing third-period leads. At least Bennett was nice about it.
Need to count
One thing Bennett wasn’t happy about was the Dutchmen were caught with too many men on the ice for the second straight game.
Early in the third period, there were four Dutchmen in the neutral zone, and forwards Daniel Ciampini and Matt Wilkins in the Colgate zone. That’s one too many skaters.
It was Union’s sixth bench minor of the season. It had four all of last year.
“Watch it on tape twice, talk to the six that are back there,” said Bennett when asked what needs to be done to correct that. “Know who’s up, know who you’re taking off and jumping out. You learn that in mite hockey, and that’s something we’re going to curb. The coaching staff, along with those players who took the too many men penalty, will be skating.”
Hicks makes awful embellishment call
ECACH Bryan Hicks has had some infamous moments at Messa.
He was the central figure in two games during the 2010-11 season, when he waved off a potential RPI goal late in a game, and failed to call an interference penalty against Colgate when Wayne Simpson was knocked down, and it lead to a game-winning overtime goal that helped the 12th-seeded Raiders eliminate the top-seeded Dutchmen in the ECACH tournament quarterfinals.
Hicks was at it again Saturday when he called Ciampini for embellishing a holding penalty on John Lidgett with 6:07 left in the third.
Lidgett had his stick wedged into Ciampini, and that forced Ciampini to fall on his back. How the heck is that embellishment?
I normally don’t criticize the officiating, but Hicks blew that call big time. No way was Ciampini trying to sell the call.
I have two postgame videos.
To see Bennett’s press conference, click here.
To hear the thoughts of Cruice and Grosenick, click here.
My three stars of the game:
1) Nick Cruice, Union forward — Scored game-winning goal.
2) Troy Grosenick, Union goalie — Made 25 saves.
3) Spencer Finney, Colgate goalie — Stopped 32 shots.
That’s all from Messa Rink. It’ll a busy early week, with my Monday College Hockey Slap Schotts blog and Tuesday’s Union-Harvard game.
Good Night! Good Hockey!