Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Vecchione again ECACH Player of the Week

By Ryan Fay

Union sophomore center Mike Vecchione was named ECAC Hockey Player of the Week, the league announced Tuesday.

It's the second consecutive week that Vecchione earned the honor, marking the first time that a Union player picked up the award in back-to-back weeks since Mario Valery-Trabucco in Dec. 2009.

Vecchione piled up five points during Union's weekend sweep of Maine. He had a goal and an assist in Friday's 3-0 shutout. On Saturday, he recorded a career-high three assists to aid Union's 5-2 win. Vecchione was named No. 2 star of the game both nights.

The 20-year-old has registered at least two points in each of Union's first four games, all wins. It's the longest multi-point game streak of his career. He's tied with Nebraska-Omaha's Jake Guentzel for the national lead in points with three goals and six assists.

Vecchione will look to keep it rolling when the second-ranked Dutchmen host ninth-ranked St. Cloud State Oct. 24-25.

Monday, October 20, 2014

VIDEO: Dutchmen goals at Maine - 10/18/14

by Ryan Fay

Check out Union's goals from Saturday's 5-2 win at Maine.

Two of the goals were milestones. The goals scored by freshman forward Ryan Scarfo (0:15 in the video) and freshman defenseman JC Brassard (0:28) were their first collegiate tallies.

Video courtesy of Maine athletics.

Dutchmen hold steady in polls

by Ryan Fay

Union held steady at second in the latest USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine college hockey polls.

The Dutchmen collected 11 of 50 first-place votes in the USCHO poll, an increase of eight over last week. In the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll, the Dutchmen recorded 10 of 34 first-place votes after not receiving any last week.

The Dutchmen picked up a road sweep of Maine over the weekend, winning 3-0 on Friday and 5-2 on Saturday.

Minnesota, which was off over the weekend, remained first in both polls. 

The Dutchmen return to action Oct. 24-25 when they host ninth-ranked St. Cloud State.

USCHO.com poll
Team (First Place Votes) Record Points Last Poll

1 Minnesota (39) 2- 0-0 989 1
2 Union (11) 4- 0-0 950 2
3 North Dakota 3- 1-0 853 3
4 Colgate 3- 1-0 810 6
5 Providence 1- 1-0 734 5
6 Boston College 1- 1-0 682 7
7 Massachusetts-Lowell 2- 0-1 675 9
8 Ferris State 2- 1-0 663 4
9 St. Cloud State 1- 1-0 605 8
10 Miami 3- 1-0 562 11
11 Denver 2- 0-0 372 16
12 Boston University 1- 0-0 369 14
13 Minnesota State 2- 2-0 357 12
14 Michigan 1- 2-0 296 10
15 Quinnipiac 1- 1-1 278 13
16 Alaska 4- 0-0 267 19
17 Vermont 3- 0-0 209 NR
18 Cornell 0- 0-0 199 15
19 Minnesota-Duluth 2- 2-0 119 20
20 Alaska-Anchorage 3- 0-1 86 NR
Others receiving votes: Nebraska-Omaha 78, Robert Morris 67, Notre Dame 62, Bowling Green 47, Michigan Tech 36, Merrimack 27, Northern Michigan 24, New Hampshire 21, Princeton 17, Ohio State 14, Yale 10, Dartmouth 6, Harvard 6, Northeastern 6, Bemidji State 2, Clarkson 1, Mercyhurst 1.

USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll
(First-place votes in parentheses)
Rank School Last Week’s Ranking

1. University of Minnesota, 499 (23) 1
2. Union College, 449 (10) 2
3. University of North Dakota, 428 (1) 3
4. Colgate University, 397 4
5. Providence College, 340 5
6. Boston College, 308 8
7. Ferris State University, 275 6
8. UMass Lowell, 263 9
9. St. Cloud State University, 257 7
10. Miami University, 231 11
11. Boston University, 131 13
12. Minnesota State University, 95 12
13. University of Denver, 93 NR
14. University of Michigan, 60 10
15. Quinnipiac University, 49 14
Others receiving votes: University of Alaska, 45; University of Vermont, 33; Cornell University, 27; University of Notre Dame, 18; Robert Morris University, 15; University of Minnesota Duluth, 14; University of Nebraska Omaha, 14; Yale University, 9; University of Alaska Anchorage, 8; Bowling Green State University, 6; Merrimack College, 6; Michigan Tech University, 5; Ohio State University, 3; University of New Hampshire, 1; Bemidji State University, 1.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dutchmen complete perfect weekend, 5-2

Box Score

by Ryan Fay

Second-ranked Union used a three-goal second period to pull away from Maine, 5-2, in a non-conference game Saturday at Alfond Arena.

The victory completed a perfect weekend for Union, which beat Maine, 3-0, on Friday. The win moved Union to 4-0 on the season, marking the first time the Dutchmen opened a season 4-0 since 2003-04. Maine fell to 0-4.

Going back to last season, Union has won 16 consecutive games and is 20-0-1 over its last 21 contests.

With the game even at 1-1, sophomore forward Michael Pontarelli scored a power-play goal at 5:48 of the second when he banged his own rebound between the pads of Maine goalie Sean Romeo.

Just under two minutes later, freshman forward Ryan Scarfo recorded his first collegiate goal when he beat Romeo with a blast from the right circle to put Union ahead 3-1. The goal chased Romeo from the game.

Maine backup goalie Matt Morris didn't fare much better. Senior forward Daniel Ciampini's second goal of the game extended Union's lead to 4-1 at 12:47. Ciampini was in front of the net when he redirected a centering pass from Mike Vecchione, who finished with three assists and his fourth consecutive multi-point game to start the season.

Freshman defenseman JC Brassard increased Union's edge to 5-1 at 8:44 of the third when he unleashed a slap shot from just inside the blueline. The power-play tally was his first goal at the collegiate level.

Union grabbed a quick 1-0 lead after Ciampini lit the lamp just 51 seconds into the game on a give-and-go with sophomore defenseman Jeff Taylor. Maine's Cam Brown evened the score at 3:57 of the second with a power-play goal and later added a harmless goal at 17:38 of the third.

Senior goaltender Colin Stevens finished with 27 saves before being replaced by sophomore Alex Sakellaropoulos midway through the third. Stevens record his 41st career win with Union, moving the Niskayuna native past Troy Grosenick and into second place on the program's Division I era goalie wins list.

The game was unusually chippy with the teams combining for 45 penalty minutes. Maine's Nolan Vesey accounted for 15 of them after he was ejected from the game for spearing Union senior forward Sam Coatta at 13:51 of the second.

End notes... Stevens picked up his first collegiate point (an assist) on Scarfo's goal... Stevens also recorded his first collegiate penalty on a cross-checking call at 14:39 of the second... the win pushed Union's winning streak against Hockey East opponents to 10 games dating back to Dec. 2012.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Dutchmen lines vs Maine - 10/18/14

by Ryan Fay

Second-ranked Union has released its line chart for tonight's non-conference game at Maine.

There are two changes from last night. Up front, David Roy is in for Tyler Hynes. On defense, Noah Henry is in for Matt Krug.

The Dutchmen are going for the weekend sweep, having beat Maine 3-0 last night.

The puck drops at 7.

Jooris scores a goal in NHL debut (with video)

by Ryan Fay

It took former Union forward Josh Jooris all of one game into his NHL career to score his first goal.

He accomplished the feat in the Calgary Flames' 3-2 road loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday.

With the Flames trailing 3-1, Jooris received a 125-foot pass from defenseman Mark Giardino. He skated up the ice, moved in on Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, and roofed a shot into the upper right corner of the net at 11:43 of the third period for his first NHL tally.

“I was just thinking ‘put this in’,” Jooris told reporters after the game. “I don’t know actually what I was thinking at the time. It happened so quick. It was just a great play by [Giordano] there. He let me know what to do right before hand. That’s what happened. He told me to bust through the middle and he was going to hit me and he did. I’m just happy it went in.

Jooris in action during his NHL debut
on Friday.
Photo: Calgary Flames
“I kind of blacked out there when I scored. I think when I sit back and see it again it’ll be nice.”

With the goal, Jooris became only the second former Union player to score an NHL goal. The other was Jeremy Welsh, who potted one last season with the Vancouver Canucks. Ironically, Welsh's goal also came against Columbus and Bobrovsky.

Jooris, who gave up his senior year at Union when he signed with the Flames in July 2013, played right wing on a line with center Sean Monahan and left winger Jiri Hudler. Jooris finished with the goal, a blocked shot and a plus-1 rating in 15:29 of ice time.

Jooris was recalled from the AHL's Adirondack Flames on Wednesday after Calgary placed winger David Jones on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. Jooris' promotion came on the heels of an impressive training camp with Calgary. He had a goal and two assists in six preseason games and was one of the final cuts made before the season.

“I was very impressed of Josh during training camp and we saw the same young man [on Friday],” Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley said. “He’s on the puck, he has speed. This game is about speed. You need to skate if you want to contribute in today’s game. He’s a good young man. He wants to learn. He brings a lot.

“He’s responsible defensively and he gave us a big goal, his first goal in the NHL. I’m very proud of him.”

Jooris had plenty of support in the stands. His parents, JoAnn and Mark, and sister Alexa were on hand for the debut. While Jooris is expected to remain with the Flames when they travel to Winnipeg on Sunday, the puck from his first goal is going back home with family to Burlington, Ontario.

“I’m going to give it to my parents for sure to take home,” Jooris said. “It’s going to be nice to keep. It’s going to be a good keepsake.”

In addition to Jooris and Welsh, four other former Union players have appeared in an NHL game. The others are goalie Steve Baker (New York Rangers, 1979-83), forward Mario Gaiallonardo (Colorado Rockies, 1979-81), defenseman Duane Joyce (Dallas Stars, 1993-94) and goalie Keith Kinkaid (New Jersey Devils, 2012-13).

See the goal:

Friday, October 17, 2014

Dutchmen blank Black Bears, 3-0

Box Score

by Ryan Fay

Senior goaltender Colin Stevens made 29 saves to lift second-ranked Union to a 3-0 shutout of Maine in a non-conference game Friday at Alfond Arena.

Union improved to 3-0 while Maine fell to 0-3.

A strange play led to Union taking a 1-0 lead at 6:26 of the opening period. Sophomore forward Mike Vecchione fired a shot from center ice, but it tipped off the glove of Maine goalie Matt Morris and into the back of the net.

The score stayed that way until 5:31 of the third. Junior forward Matt Wilkins was crashing the cage when he banged home a centering feed from freshman forward Kevin Shier to push Union's edge to 2-0. The assist was Shier's first collegiate point.

Union gave Maine back-to-back power-play opportunities midway through the third, but the Black Bears couldn't capitalize. Freshman forward Spencer Foo iced the win with an empty-netter at 18:49 of the third.

Vecchione, the reigning ECAC Hockey Player of the Week, added an assist on Foo's empty-netter and paced the Dutchmen with 17 faceoff wins. He has a goal and an assist in each of Union's first three regular season games.

Junior defenseman Sebastien Gingras, who originally committed to Maine, assisted on Vecchione's goal and registered team-best plus-3 rating.

Union will go for the weekend sweep of Maine at 7 p.m. Saturday.

End Notes...  The shutout was the 10th of Stevens' career ... Union has won nine straight contests against Hockey East opponents dating to Dec. 2012.

Dutchmen line chart vs Maine - 10/17/14

by Ryan Fay

Second-ranked Union has released its line chart for tonight's non-conference game at Maine.

Matt Wilkins returns from a three-game suspension for violating team rules and he replaces David Roy up front. Nick Cruice, who was also eligible to return from a three-game suspension for violating team rules, isn't playing tonight. Matt Krug is in for Noah Henry on defense.

The puck drops at 7:30 on Fox College Sports Pacific.