Union-Brown pregame report
Good evening from Messa Rink, where it’s time to start the ECAC Hockey regular-season stretch drive as first-place and fourth-ranked Union (11-3 ECACH, 17-6-3 overall) take on seventh-place Brown (6-7-1, 9-9-3).
Here’s a look at both teams.
The big news for the Dutchmen is they get senior defenseman and team captain Mat Bodie back. Bodie missed last weekend’s North Country trip because of the two-game suspension he received for his role in the Mayor’s Cup brawl with RPI.
“It [stunk],” Bodie said. “I did it once last year when I was injured. Anytime you’re not playing, it’s not fun.”
The only person left serving a suspension is Dutchmen coach Rick Bennett. After sitting out last weekend’s games with a school-imposed suspension, Bennett begins serving a two-game banishment from the ECACH. Unlike last weekend, when he was ineligible to travel with the team, Bennett can be in the building for tonight’s game, as well as tomorrow’s matchup with defending NCAA-champion Yale. However, when I asked Bennett on Wednesday if he would be in Messa, he declined comment.
The Dutchmen will look to continue their excellent penalty killing of late. They have not allowed a power-play goal in their last 23 short-handed situations in the last eight games. The last power-play goal they allowed came late in the Dec. 14 game at St. Cloud State.
Union’s power-play broke out of a slump in last Saturday’s 4-3 win at Clarkson. When Max Novak scored on the power-play midway through the third period, it snapped an 0-for-15 slide.
The Bears will always give teams fits. They have for years with Union, and RPI knows it, as well, since the Bears knocked them out of the ECACH tournament last season, winning the quarterfinals in three games.
Sophomore forward Mark Naclerio is Brown’s leading scorer with 14 goals and 15 assists. He won a couple of ECACH honors this week, claiming player of the week and player of the month for January. Naclerio had eight goals and six assists in eight January games.
The Bears have been getting good goaltending from freshman Tyler Steel, who is 7-4-3 with a 2.71 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage.
A Brown player who has been a thorn in Union’s side is junior forward Massimo Lamacchia. He has scored two goals and three assists in four games against the Dutchmen.
Senior defenseman Dennis Robinson had five assists in five games versus Union.
The last time these two teams saw each other was in the ECACH tournament championship game in Atlantic City, N.J., last March. Max Novak scored twice, and tournament most outstanding player Troy Groesnick stopped 32 shots as the Dutchmen claimed their second Whitelaw Cup with a 3-1 victory.
Freshman center Eli Lichtenwald, who sat out last weekend’s games, returns to the lineup. Lichtenwald was suspended for the St. Lawrence contest because of his fight in the Mayor’s Cup game. He sat out the next night’s game at Clarkson because of an injury.
Senior left winger Cole Ikkala will miss his second straight game. Ikkala was hurt blocking two shots during a third-period Saints’ power play. He sat out the Clarkson game.
Retruning to the lineup is right winger Michael Pontarelli, who was a healthy scratch against Clarkson.
Daniel Carr/Mike Vecchione/Daniel Ciampini
Matt Hatch/Max Novak/Kevin Sullivan
Matt Wilkins/Eli Lichtenwald/Michael Pontarelli
Theo DiPauli/David Roy/Sam Coatta
Mat Bodie/Charlie Vasaturo
Shayne Gostisbehere/Jeff Taylor
Mark Krug/Sebastien Gingras
Colin Stevens starts in goal
Brown is dressing 13 forwards and five defensemen.
Mike Juola.Mark Naclerio/Nick Lappin
Zack Pryzbek/Matt Lorito/Garnet Hathaway
Ryan Jacobson/Massimo Lamacchia/Kyle Kramer
Matt Harlow/Davey Middleton/Joe Prescott
Mark Hourihan is the extra forward
Dennis Robertson/Jake Goldberg
Aleksi Rossi/Matt Wahl
Steel starts in goal.
Peter Feola and Mike Baker are the referees. Mike Emanatian and Ryan Knapp are the linesmen.
Twitter and hashtags
Follow me on Twitter @slapschotts. The hashtags for the game are #UnionHockey, #BrownHockey and #ECACHockey. If you have questions before, during and after the game, please ask. I will try to reply as quickly as possible.
Enjoy the game!