Union-Lake Superior State postgame report (Saturday edition, with 3 videos)
A look back at Lake Superior State’s 3-2 victory over 16th-ranked Union on Saturday.
Dominating, just not winning
The shots on goal read Union 48, Lake Superior State 17. But they don’t give out “W’s” for winning the shots on goal battle.
The Dutchmen didn’t lose this game because of a lack of effort. They did everything they could to get pucks past Lakers goalie Kevin Kapalka. It just wasn’t their night.
“Forty-eight to 17 in shots,” Union coach Rick Bennett said. “You tell me [if the effort was better]. That was pretty impressive. I mentioned that to them. I’ve been through some ups and downs here. I’ve been here when we’ve finished in last place, and I’ve been here when we’ve finished in first. That was one of the more impressive performances that I’ve seen from a team from Union, so we are very happy.”
The Dutchmen aren’t hanging their heads.
“I thought guys played hard,” Union senior defenseman Mat Bodie said. “[Just] a couple of bad bounces, but we kept going right to the very end. I thought that showed character. It’s early in the season, so right now we’re focused on how we’re playing, not necessarily the results.”
Lakers coach Jim Roque probably put it best.
“There’s going to be nights when you play great like Union did tonight and don’t win,” Roque said. “And other nights, you don’t deserve to win. Those work themselves out over the season.
“I thought they were the better team tonight.”
It was a rough weekend for Dutchmen freshman goalie Alex Sakellaropoulos.
He gave up six goals on 23 shots in Friday’s 6-5 overtime loss to the Lakers. On Saturday, he allowed three goals on 11 shots.
Sakellaropoulos was pulled with 7:04 left in the second period after Colin Campbell’s goal made it 3-1. Junior Dillon Pieri replaced him, and he stopped all six shots he faced.
It was just Pieri’s second appearance of his Union career. He made a save in the final 3:52 of Union’s 7-3 win over Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Nov. 3, 2012.
“I was [nervous] just a little bit when I heard my name on the bench,” Pieri said. “But, realistically, it’s just another game. Just try to go in there, have fun and give the guys a chance to win.”
But does Union have a back-up goalie controversy?
With the status of No. 1 goalie and Niskayuna native Colin Stevens up in the air because of the upper-body injury he suffered last Friday against Bowling Green, Pieri and Sakellaropoulos will battle in practice this week to see who gets the start Friday at UConn, Union’s final non-conference game before the start of ECAC Hockey play Nov. 1.
“[Assistant coach] Jason Tapp is going to work with the goalies like he always does,” Bennett said. “We’re going to see who is the best this week and see who gets the shot on Friday night.”
I can’t totally blame Sakellaropoulos for the three goals Saturday. Eric Drapluk took a Dan Radke drop pass at the right circle and fired a shot off the post and past Sakellaropoulos with 37.2 left in the first period to make it 1-0. Daniel Vernance was allowed to come out from the left-wing corner and skate to the net on his goal at 8:23 of the second to give the Lakers a 2-0 lead.
Just 1:37 after Matt Wilkins cut the Lakers’ lead to 2-1, Campbell was allowed to park in front of the net and tip in a Pete Spratte left-point shot.
I asked Bennett if he faulted Sakellaropoulos on the goals.
“It was a little bit of both,” Bennett said. “It was just one of those things where, sometimes, you don’t have it. But it’s easy to throw it on the goalie. We’re not throwing it on Alex. It’s a team game. What about the guy who let the guy tip it in?
“It’s everybody. We’re not going to blame one guy.”
Bennett can be very interesting with his quotes.
The last question asked of him was if defenseman Sebastien Gingras sitting out both games this weekend as a healthy scratch.
“Nope. He was using the maintenance room,” Bennett said.
Translation: Yes, Gingras was a healthy scratch.
Slap Schotts Tidbits
— The last time Union lost a two-game weekend series at Messa was Nov. 11-12, 2011, when Brown and Yale won. The last time the Dutchmen went winless on the weekend was Nov. 30-Dec. 1 of last year, when they lost to Quinnipiac and tied Princeton.
— The last time Union started the season 1-2-1 was the 2008-09 season.
— Michael Pontarelli scored a power-play goal late in the second period. It was his fourth goal of the season, all coming on the power play.
— Dutchmen senior right winger Kevin Sullivan picked up his team-leading eighth assist of the season on Pontarelli’s goal.
— The Lakers blocked 13 shots, compared to Union’s six.
— The Dutchmen won 32 of 61 faceoffs. Daniel Carr was 14-for-21 to lead the way. Mike Vecchione was 9-for-17.
— Former Union center Jermey Welsh was recalled from the Utica Comets by the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday. He could be in the lineup for Sunday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
I have three postgame videos.
To see Bennett’s press conference, click here.
To see the press conference with Bodie and Pieri, click here.
To see Roque’s press conference, click here.
My three stars of the game:
1) Kevin Kapalka, LSSU goalie — Made 45 saves, including 19 in the third period to preserve the Lakers’ lead.
2) Mat Bodie, Union defenseman — Had two assists.
3) Colin Campbell, LSSU right winger — Scored game-winning goal.
That is all from Messa Rink. This is my final postgame blog as a 49 year old. I turn 50 on Thursday. Man, I’m old.
Look for my College Hockey Slap Schotts blog on Monday. Thanks to all of you who were following my coverage on Twitter and here on the website.
Good Night! Good Hockey!