Union-Brown postgame report (with 4 videos)
A recap of Union’s 4-3 win over Brown on Friday at Messa Rink.
It’s funny the things you learn in postgame press conferences. Sometimes, it makes a reporter’s job much easier.
So, the Capital District media would like to thank Union junior center Max Novak for making our stories of the game a breeze to write.
Novak scored the game-winning goal 61 seconds into the third period with a quick snap shot that caught everyone, including Brown goalie Tyler Steel and Union acting head coach Joe Dumais, off guard.
And, much like his surprising shot, Novak stunned the reporters with this revelation — he applied to Brown, and got rejected.
“I was looking at Brown as I was looking at Union, too,” said Novak, who has scored three goals in his last two games. “I applied, and I didn’t get in. It wasn’t the best situation. Everything happens for a reason.”
He stopped short of calling it revenge. However, when you consider he has four goals and one assist in six games against Brown, maybe there is something that burns inside of Novak. He was the hero in last year’s 3-1 victory over Brown in the ECAC Hockey tournament championship game with two goals, including the game-winner.
“He seems to be pretty good against us,” Brown coach Brendan Whittet said.
Novak’s shot came out of nowhere. After getting a pass from Shayne Gostisbehere, Novak skated to the Brown right circle. Without warning, he fired a shot from the faceoff dot that beat Steel to his left side.
“It was a pretty normal set breakout,” Novak said. “Shayne gave me a nice pass. I just took it wide. I don’t think the goalie was really expecting to shoot it from where I was. It caught him short side.”
Even Dumais, who was in his third game running the team in place of suspended head coach Rick Bennett, was caught off guard by Novak’s goal.
“I was talking to one of the players on the bench, and I heard the [puck hit] the post,” Dumais said. “I said, ‘That must be a good sign,’”
PK comes through in clutch
Union saw it’s streak of killing off opponent’s power plays end at 23 when it allowed two in a span of 15 seconds midway through the first period. Those came on a major to Charlie Vasaturo, who was tossed from the contest for contact to the head. That left Union with five defensemen.
Brown got a power play with 8:40 left in the game after Gostisbehere was called for elbowing. That left Union with four defensemen to help kill it off.
And the Dutchmen kept the Bears off the board. Mat Bodie, Jeff Taylor, Matt Krug and Sebastien Gingras were the four defensemen who helped out.
“We probably had a 45-second lapse on the penalty kill, and it cost us two goals,” said Bodie, who gave Union a 1-0 lead on a first-period power-play goal. “Other than that, I thought the guys really battled hard. With ‘Ghost’ going into the box, other D-men stepped up, getting some PK time they normally don’t get it. That’s what it takes to win. You have to have guys step up in tough spots.”
“It was a huge kill,” Dumais said. “Guys battled hard. I know Sam Coatta had a couple of big blocks on that kill. Other guys battled, as well. It was a huge turning point, I thought.”
Usually, games between Brown and Union are tight, grind-it-out kind of games. A lot of times, they make you fall asleep.
But Friday’s contest was much different. The teams skated up and down the ice. They had good scoring chances. There wasn’t any clutching and grabbing.
I like what I see in Brown. There is some good talent there. The Bears are going to be a dangerous team come playoff time.
I have four postgame videos.
To see Dumais’ press conference, click here.
To see the Novak’s press conference, click here.
To see the Bodie’s press conference, click here.
To see the Whittet’s press conference, click here.
My three stars of the game:
1) Max Novak, Union center — Scored game-winning goal.
2) Nick Lappin, Brown right winger — One goal, one assist.
3) Daniel Carr, Union left winger — Had two assists.
That is all from Messa Rink. I’ll be back with you Saturday night for Union’s Saturday Showdown with defending NCAA hockey-champion Yale.
Good Night! Good Hockey!