Union-St. Lawrence pregame report
Good evening from Messa Rink, where it’s time to see which Union team shows as the Dutchmen battle for ECAC Hockey tournament positioning as they host St. Lawrence.
The Dutchmen (8-8-4 ECACH, 15-12-5 overall) had a very inconsistent February, going 2-4-1. They looked bad in their four losses, which all came on the road (Clarkson, St. Lawrence, Colgate and Cornell). The two wins at home, against Yale and Brown, the Dutchmen were dominate.
Despite their struggles, the sixth-lace Dutchmen need just a win to clinch a home-ice berth for the first round of the ECACH tournament. They are still in the hunt for a first-round bye. They are three points behind second-place RPI, two behind the third-place Saints and one in back of Dartmouth and Yale, who are tied for fourth. Union will need to win tonight and Saturday against Clarkson and get some help if it wants to get a first-round bye.
The intriguing news this week was the status of Dutchmen senior right winger Wayne Simpson. He was a healthy scratch for last Saturday’s game at Cornell, ending his 151-game consecutive played streak. It was the first time Simpson missed a game.
Simpson is back in the Dutchmen lineup tonight. He leads the Dutchmen with 13 goals and is tied with senior center Kyle Bodie with 29 points. But Union coach Rick Bennett scratched Simpson last Saturday after going scoreless and had a minus-2 defensive rating in the previous night’s 4-1 loss at Colgate.
While Simpson leads the team in scoring, he hasn’t had a multigoal game this season. Since a one-goal, two-assist effort against Merrimack Dec. 30, Simpson has just four goals and six assists in his last 14 games, and only one goal in the last seven games he has played.
“I thought about it and got out of it what I can,” said Simpson, who, this season, became the ninth Union Division I player to record 100 career points. “I’ve put it behind me and trying not to think about it anymore.”
Bennett is confident Simpson got the message.
“Knowing Wayne, he’s a very strong kid,” Bennett said. “For sure, he’s going to shine through.”
Also back in the lineup are left winger Daniel Ciampini and defenseman Sebastien Gingras. Out are forwards Mark Bennett, Nick Cruice and defenseman Tim Boyle.
Defenseman Shawn Stuart remains out of the lineup with an ankle injury.
Here is the Union lineup, starting with the forwards (LW-C-RW):
Daniel Ciampini/Kyle Bodie/Wayne Simpson
Daniel Carr/Josh Jooris/Matt Wilkins
Matt Hatch/Max Novak/Kevin Sullivan
Cole Ikkala/David Roy/Sam Coatta
The defensive pairings are:
Mat Bodie/Charlie Vasaturo
Greg Coburn/Shayne Gostisbehere
Ryan Forgaard/Sebastien Gingras
Troy Grosenick starts in goal.
The Saints (9-7-4, 16-12-4), who earned a 4-2 win over the Dutchmen on Feb. 9 at Appleton Arena, are looking to secure a first-round bye. They will have to do that without senior center Kyle Flanagan. Flanagan, the team’s second-leading scorer with 14 goals and 28 assists, had an emergency appendectomy on Tuesday. Tommy Thompson replaces Flanagan on the Saints’ top line.
Junior forward Greg Carey leads the Saints in scoring with 25 goals and 22 assists. His 47 points are best in the nation.
Here is the St. Lawrence lineup, starting with the forwards:
Greg Carey/Tommy Thompson/Jeremy Wick
Gunnar Hughes/Patrick Doherty/Chris Martin
Sean McGovern/Kyle Essery/Matt Dyer
Justin Bruckel/Ross McMullen/Alex Hagen
The defensive pairings are:
George Hughes/Justin Baker
Mac Stratford/Pat Raley
Riley Austin/Jordan Dewey
Matt Weninger starts in goal.
The referees are Peter Feola and Joe Carusone. Justin Prusak and Andy Petrus 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, #SLUHockey 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!