Union passes big test
SCHENECTADY Senior captain Mat Bodie was on campus last weekend while the Union Dutchmen were up north playing St. Lawrence and Clarkson.
Watching the livestream with schoolmates, he didn’t like the view, but liked what he saw.
Any speculation that Union would suffer a setback of any sort from the multiple suspensions in the wake of the Mayor’s Cup fiasco against RPI two weeks ago was silenced on Saturday night.
Head coach Rick Bennett will be back behind the bench next weekend at Cornell and Colgate after getting slapped with two games by the school and two more by ECAC Hockey for his role in the post-game brawl.
When he does, he’ll rejoin a team that has not only smoothly shaken off the hangover from the Mayor’s Cup, but has hit its stride despite losing Bodie for two games and Eli Lichtenwald and Daniel Ciampini for one each.
The defending national champion Yale Bulldogs were at Messa Rink on Saturday, and were thoroughly outplayed by the Dutchmen in the third period of what should’ve been a 5-2 win, but was 5-3 by virtue of a goal with 12 seconds left.
With assistant Joe Dumais serving as head coach for Bennett for the last four games, Union was 3-1, outscoring three opponents, 13-9, after a 2-1 loss to St. Lawrence with the three players suspended.
The stretch not only included beating the national champs, but also a tough 4-3 win at Clarkson that Bodie said could eventually look like a turning point in the season.
“It’s a lot more fun being out there than watching,” Bodie said. “We faced a lot of adversity in that game and overcame it. That’s just character. You’re going to face a lot of adversity throughout the season, and they’re tests. I think for the most part we passed those tests.”
The No. 4 Dutchmen certainly get an A for the win over No. 13 Yale.
The Daniel Carr-Mike Vecchione-Daniel Ciampini line was a terror all night, and although Niskayuna native Colin Stevens gave up three goals, he made a spectacular glove save with less than a second left in the first period, denying a three-on-one and sucking the life out of what would have been a momentum shift in the Bulldogs’ favor.
The last time the teams’ played each other, Union beat Yale, 5-0, in the ECAC semifinals, only to watch the Bulldogs’ win the national championship a few weeks later.
“We have a goal to be there this year, and we have something to prove every time we play them,” Carr said. “Pretty much every time we play everyone else, too, but it’s good when they come in here. You get extra pumped up for it a little bit. Like the coaching staff said, they shouldn’t have to pump us up for this one.”
Bodie said the team is looking forward to having Bennett, who has been conducting practice, behind the bench again. But this team is dialed in right now no matter who’s back there.