ECAC Hockey roundup: Stevens' 49-save effort sparks Union
If there were a three-star selection at the Union-Yale ECAC Hockey game Friday night at Ingalls Rink, the choice would have been an easy one to make.
Yes, I said choice, not the plural choices. Because it would have been Colin Stevens, Colin Stevens and Colin Stevens.
The junior goalie from Niskayuna made a career-high 49 saves to lead the Cleary Cup-champion and third-ranked Dutchmen to a 2-0 win over 15th-ranked Yale, the defending NCAA champions.
Stevens' previous career high for saves was 40 earlier this season against New Hampshire on Jan. 18. He tied the team record for shutouts in a season, joining Kris Mayotte (2005-06) and Troy Grosenick (2011-12).
"I thought he was excellent tonight," Union coach Rick Bennett said. "It was one of those games where your goaltender bailed you out. I thought that’s what he did tonight for us. I don’t think we played all that bad at times, but it was too far and in between our effort tonight."
Stevens had 13 saves in the first period, 20 in the second and 16 in the third.
"The boys did a good job of keeping them to the outside," said Stevens, who improved to 20-4-2, lowered his goals-against average to 2.02 and increased his save percentage to .927. "They let me see a ton of pucks."
Earlier in the day, Stevens was named one of 18 nominees for the inaugural Mike Richter Award as the nation's top NCAA goalie.
"I didn’t even know about the award, but it’s, obviously, a big honor to be nominated," Stevens said. "I’m in a good group with a ton of goalies."
Union closes out the regular season Saturday at Brown at 4 p.m. Bennett isn’t sure if he will give Stevens the game off and start freshman Alex Sakellaropoulos.
Stevens is tied with Quinnipiac's Michael Garteig for the ECACH lead in GAA at 1.91.
"He’s been on a roll," Bennett said. "It will be a game-time decision with him."
Sam Coatta scored in the first period for the Dutchmen. Daniel Carr had a third-period tally.
Union extended its unbeaten streak to eight games (7-0-1). The 17 league wins ties a team record, first set in 2010-11.
The Dutchmen are 11-0 against Ivy League schools this season.
— RPI clinched home ice for the first round of the ECACH tournament with a 3-0 win over Brown at Meehan Auditorium.
Jacob Laliberte snapped a scoreless tie 5:45 into the third period. Mark Miller and Zach Schroeder also scored, and goalie Scott Diebold stopped 34 shots, including 17 in the third.
The seventh-place Engineers can finish sixth if they beat Yale on Saturday. RPI is a point behind Yale.
The Engineers can fall no lower than seventh. It means RPI and Union won't meet in the quarterfinals.
— Quinnipiac clinched a first-round bye by routing St. Lawrence, 8-0, at Appleton Arena.
Matthew Peca helped the Bobcats snap a three-game losing streak with two goals and four assists. Quinnipiac was 5-for-6 on the power play. Garteig made 24 saves.
Since shutting out RPI, 4-0, last Friday, the Saints have been outscored, 14-2, in their last two games.
— Dartmouth is the second hottest team in ECACH. The Big Green extended their unbeaten streak to five games (4-0-1) with a 1-0 win over Cornell at Lynah Rink.
Goalie Charles Grant made 36 saves, and Tyler Sikura scored the game's only goal early in the second period.
Dartmouth, which a month ago appeared it would battle with Princeton to stay out of the basement, are in a three-way tie for ninth with Harvard and St. Lawrence. All three teams are one point behind eighth-place Brown for the final first-round home-ice berth.
— Harvard kept its home-ice hopes alive by beating Colgate, 2-1, at Starr Rink.
Goalie Steve Michalek made 33 saves for the Crimson, who got goals from Danny Fick and Phil Zielonka.
— Clarkson moved into fifth place with a 3-1 win over Princeton.
Jarrett Burton, Will Frederick and Allan McPherson had a goal and an assist each for the Golden Knights, who are a point behind Cornell for the final first-round bye.