by Ryan Fay
Second-ranked Union scored three early goals and went on to defeat ninth-ranked St. Cloud, 5-1, in front of a standing-room only crowd of 2,295 Friday at Messa Rink.
With the win, the Dutchmen (5-0) extended their school-record winning streak to 17 games, and their home winning streak to 15 games. Both streaks date back to last season.
The Dutchmen wasted little time taking control of the Huskies. Michael Pontrarelli knocked in a loose rebound on the power-play at 1:51 of the first period to give the Dutchmen a 1-0 lead.
Just over two minutes later, Sebastien Gingras pushed the lead 2-0. Huskies goalie Charlie Lindgren stopped Max Novak's shot, but Gingras came flying in unseen from the right point and sent the puck into the back of the net.
The Dutchmen chased Lindgren from the game at 8:57 after Mark Bennett gave Union a 3-0 lead. Bennett was behind the goal line when he put the puck on net. It bounced off the pad of Lindgren and in.
Sam Coatta lengthened Union's lead to 4-0 at 6:53 of the third after burying a rebound following a wraparound try by Bennett. Novak, playing in his first game following a five-game suspension for violating team rules, scored a power-play goal at 16:55 that extended Union's cushion to 5-0.
Ben Storm spoiled Colin Stevens' shutout bid with 4.5 seconds left in the game with a slapshot from the point. Stevens finished with 35 saves, including three on breakaways.
He was more focused on getting the win than losing the shutout, which would have been his second of the season. He blanked Maine, 3-0, last Friday.
Union head coach Rick Bennett didn't shake off the goal as easily.
Bennett, who will have a video session with the team this morning, was particularly displeased with the Dutchmen's neutral-zone play.
When Union faces off with St. Cloud (1-1) again tonight at 7, Bennett said the Dutchmen need to come with a better effort.
"If we play that way [tonight], that team is going to hammer us, plain and simple."
End notes... Mike Vecchione kept his point streak alive with an assist on Coatta's goal; he now has at least a point in all five games this season... Jeff Taylor and Roman Ammirato each had two assists... after Lindgren was yanked for allowing three goals on nine shots, Rasmus Reijola came in and stopped 16-of-18 the rest of the way.
Union head coach Rick Bennett
Union's Colin Stevens, Sebastien Gingras and Mark Bennett