Monday, November 30, 2009

Kinkaid named ECAC Goaltender of the Week again

For the second time in three weeks freshman goaltender Keith Kinkaid has been named ECAC Goaltender of the Week. Technically this is his second award in three weeks, but in the week where he did not win the award the Dutchmen did not play. He helped lead Union to the RPI Tournament championship this past weekend. He was named the tournament's top goaltender as he made 30 saves (including three in the shootout) against LSSU in a 1-0 shootout win (his first career shutout), and then made 25 saves against RPI in a 5-4 overtime win.

I think it's pretty safe to say that Kinkiad has jumped over Milan and is now Union's top goaltender.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dutchmen win RPI Tournament with 5-4 overtime victory

Sounds like this game was an absolute classic! I wish I could have seen it. Even though Union blew a 3-0 lead and then a two goal lead with 3 minutes to go you have to give them credit for overcoming adversity and pulling it out in overtime. The play of senior captain and tournament MVP Jason Walters was also a great sign considering he was suspended for last nights game. With two goals (including the game-winner) and two assists tonight he basically put the shorthanded Dutchmen on his back and led them to victory. This could be a big stepping stone for the Dutchmen as they proved that they could win without their top 4 scorers and overcome a game-tying goal with no time remaining. Coach Leaman can't be happy with the penalties and the late RPI comeback, but he must be happy with the effort of his depleted team.

For those who do not know, after Leaman benched Walters and Buote last night for violating team rules he benched four of his top scorers tonight for the same infraction. Each Mario Valery-Trabucco (5-9-14), Adam Presizniuk (4-7-11), John Simpson (2-7-9), and Brian Yanovitch (4-4-8) watched tonight's game from the stands. So, the Dutch played with 11 forwards and 7 defensemen. You would figure that without over 33% of their team scoring out of the lineup tonight that the Dutchmen would have some trouble scoring, especially since they couldn't score a goal last night, but thanks to likes of Walters, Zajac, and Boileau they were able to score 5 goals.

I give Leaman a lot of credit for having the gall to do this for a tournament championship (especially against RPI), and for being able to pull his team together to win. I still haven't had any word on what the team violation was, but if I had to guess based on the guys suspended and the time of year I'd say that it might have to do with some type of "freshman initiation," which is common in Division I sports. The reason I predict this is because 3 seniors, 2 juniors, and 1 sophomore were suspended for violations that occurred last week where the Dutchmen had no games, and minimal practices due to finals. This formula creates a lot of free time for the players. I doubt these are academic infractions considering it's usually freshman who have trouble handling their academics since they're new to the scene. I could be totally wrong on this, it's just speculation.

All in all this was one memorable night with a lot of story lines. The most important being that the Dutchmen won their second tournament championship in as many years, both in which they had to beat RPI in the tournament. Should be one heck of a game when the Dutchmen and Engineers faceoff when it counts on December 9th.

After a unbeaten month of November (3-0-3) the Dutchmen will start the final month of the calender year with two HUGE league games at home against Colgate and Cornell, who tied Boston University last night at a sold out Madison Square Garden. Then just four days (Wednesday, December 9) after the meeting with Cornell the Dutch will take on RPI at Houston Field House for the third time this season.

Here's the game recap from UnionAthletics.com: http://www.unionathletics.com/news/2009/11/28/MICE_1128092118.aspx

Here's Ken Schott's thoughts on the game: http://www.dailygazette.com/weblogs/schott/2009/nov/29/union-rpi-postgame-report/

Post-game reactions courtesy of Ken Schott:
http://www.dailygazette.com/videos/2009/nov/29/322/

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Leaman hates the shootout

After Union's victory over Lake Superior State on Friday Coach Leaman didn't sound too happy. Why would he upset after a win that sends his team to a championship game you ask? Well it's because he is against the idea of ending a game by shootout.

Read Ken Schott's clip about Leaman and his thoughts about the shootout:
http://www.dailygazette.com/weblogs/schott/2009/nov/27/union-lake-superior-state-postgame-report/

Personally in this case I happen to agree because it was in a tournament. No tournament game should be ended in a skills competition since no points are at stake, and the team that scores the most goals is the better team that night and deserves to advance to the next round. But, in regular season games I would like to see the NCAA adopt the NHL' s overtime policy where there is a 5 minute 4-on-4 overtime, which is then followed by a five man shootout to decide the winner. The 4-on-4 overtime opens up the ice for the two teams, which allows for greater scoring opportunities. Also, shootouts are also fun for the fans. I feel that the NHL's new overtime policies was one of the best rule changes in the post-lockout era.

Union to face rival RPI in tournament championship

After the Dutchmen pulled out a shootout victory over Lake Superior State, RPI took the ice and beat Bentley 5-2. The championship game will take place tonight at 7pm at the Houston Field House.

It looks like RPI got exactly what they wanted when they scheduled their first round game against Bentley, the weakest team in the tournament. The Engineers out shot their opponent 34-17.

Here's the game summary from the RPI site:
http://www.rpiathletics.com/news/2009/11/27/MHOCK_1127094208.aspx

Read Ken Schott's thoughts on the game and the championship matchup:
http://www.dailygazette.com/weblogs/schott/2009/nov/27/rpi-bentley-postgame-report/

Friday, November 27, 2009

Union advances to RPI Tournament championship game with shootout win

After a scoreless 65 minutes Mario Valery-Trabucco scored the only goal of the shootout to send the Dutchmen to the championship game where they will face the winner of the RPI-Bentley game. Freshman goaltender Keith Kinkaid made 30 saves for his first career shutout, along with stopping all three of Lake State's shooters in the shootout. The game will officially go down as a tie. LSSU's Kyle Haynes had a great opportunity to win the game for the Lakers with under one minutes left in overtime, but whiffed on his shot with an open net.

Even though I was not at the game (I'm enjoying my winter break at home), I did get to listen to the majority of the game on the radio. From what I can tell it was a pretty unexciting and sluggish game even though each team had a combined 60 shots on net. But, you have to be happy with the way Kinkaid played (it looks like most of you got what you wanted in goal), and advancing to the championship game. Hopefully this will repeat scenario of what happened in last year's Governor's Cup where Union advanced to the championship game with a shootout victory over RPI, and then won the tournament with a win over Colgate. Personally, I'd like to see RPI win tonight because Union-RPI games are always fun and it would be a stronger test for the Dutchmen considering RPI is better than Bentley on paper.

For those who haven't heard or didn't notice during the game senior captains Jason Walters and Andrew Buote did not dress tonight due to team violations. Supposedly more players violated the rule and will not play tomorrow. I haven't heard any word on what the infraction was. It is interesting that both of the players who sat out tonight were senior captains. Maybe Wakita, Schreiber, Matheson, and/or Presizniuk will be out tomorrow.

If RPI wins the Dutchmen will play at 7pm tomorrow, but if Bentley wins they will play for the championship at 4pm.

Here's the game recap from UnionAthletics.com:
http://www.unionathletics.com/news/2009/11/27/MICE_1127093453.aspx

Here's video of the shooout along with post-game interviews:
http://www.dailygazette.com/videos/2009/nov/27/319/

Thursday, November 26, 2009

RPI hasn't won their own tournament since 2002

Ed Weaver of The Saratogian speaks about RPI and how they haven't won the RPI Thanksgiving Tournament, the oldest in the nation, since 2002:
http://www.saratogian.com/articles/2009/11/25/sports/doc4b0dce4fa79a0906467079.txt

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Looking into the RPI Tournament

The Dutchmen come into the tournament having swept the weekend in the North Country for the first time since 2002-03 two weeks ago and having just finished their finals, so the team should be very refreshed and have no academic distractions. Union will face Lake Superior State in the first round on Friday at 4pm. This will be the first meeting between the two programs. Depending on the outcome against the Lakers the Dutchmen will either face RPI or Bentley. The Dutchmen have gone unbeaten in their past five outings at the Houston Field House dating back to November 2004.

LSSU (6-7-1 overall, 3-6-1-0 CCHA) currently sits in 8th place in the CCHA, which is only 2 points out from last place. Offensively the Lakers are 8th in the league averaging 2.64 goals per game. The offense is led by junior forward Chad Nehring (8-3-11), junior forward Rick Schofield (5-6-11), and senior forward Zac MacVoy (2-9-11). Nehring leads the team with 5 power-play goals, which is also tied for tops in the CCHA. Junior Brian Mahoney-Wilson has started in goal for the Lakers in 13 of their 14 games and has posted a 6-6-1 record with a 2.79 GAA and .911 save percentage. The Lakers have been a team of streaks this year. They won 5 of their first 6 games to start the season, but then went on to go 6 games without a win. In their past three games they have won two games having beat Nebraska-Omaha on the 14th and then split a weekend series with Alaska-Fairbanks last weekend. Last year LSSU went 2-1 against ECAC opponents beating Harvard 6-2 and then splitting games with Colgate as they lost 5-4 and then won 6-1. The Lakers have won the NCAA championship 3 times (1988, 1992, 1994) and were the runners up in 1993.

Here's a link to a preview for the tournament from UnionAthletics.com:
http://www.unionathletics.com/news/2009/11/23/MICE_1123094548.aspx

Dutchmen serve Thanksgiving dinner at Schenectady YMCA

Monday's dinner was the fifth year in a row the Men's Hockey team participated in this event.

Here's a link with a picture of Captain Mike Wakita from UnionAthletics.com:
http://www.unionathletics.com/news/2009/11/23/MICE_1123093446.aspx

Monday, November 23, 2009

Congratulations to Coach Leaman

Yesterday Coach Leaman's wife Alice gave birth to the couple's first child, a boy named Ty Walker, who came in at 6 pounds, 4 ounces. What great timing for Leaman as the Dutchmen are just about to end their off week.

Congrats to Nate and the rest of his family!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Recap of ECAC games last night

  • #13 Quinnipiac beats #5 Cornell 3-2... Quinnipiac remains undefeated in ECAC play
  • Colgate upsets #19 Princeton 5-4 in overtime... Francois Brisebois scores the game-winner
  • Dartmouth over St. Lawrence 3-2... Dartmouth's first win in ECAC play
  • Clarkson and Harvard tie 2-2... Clarkson scores twice within 32 seconds late in the third
  • #9 Yale beats last-place Brown 6-5 in overtime... Broc Little scores the game-winner

Quinnipiac (12pts), Colgate (9pts), and Cornell (8pts) are on top of the ECAC standings, each having played 6 ECAC games. Union (4 ECAC games played), RPI (4 games), Yale (5 games), and St. Lawrence (6 games) are all tied for fourth with 6 points each.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Dutchmen add Josh Jooris to 2010 recruting class

According to Chris Heisenberg Union has added Josh Jooris, a 6 foot 180lb forward, to their 2010 recruiting class.

Here's what I can gather on Jooris:

He plays on the Burlington Cougars of the Central Canadian Hockey League (CCHL) where he has 50 points (10 goals, 40 assists) in 22 games this season, which is good for first on his team and third in the league. His 40 assists is best in the league, and also leads the league in plus/minus with +29. The Cougars are in second place in the CCHL West Division.

Here's an article about Jooris and his father, a former hockey player, in the Hamilton Spectator: http://www.thespec.com/article/384929

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton also recalls TJ Fox

A few days after the W-B/S Penguins recalled Lane Caffaro they recalled former Union forward TJ Fox from the Wheeling Nailers. Fox, one of the greatest forwards in Union's history, has scored 11 points in 10 games for the Nailers this season.

Here's the clip from ECACHockey.com: http://www.ecachockey.com/men/members/union/20091911_FoxWBSRecall

No games this weekend, Finals Week

For those of you who don't know today (Thursday) is the beginning of Finals Week at Union, which is the reason (I assume) that the Dutch will not have any games this weekend. The Fall 09 finals last from Thursday to next Tuesday.

Last season 11 current Dutchmen (14 if you include Potts, Caffaro, and Cook) made the ECAC All- Academic Team: Stephane Boileau, Andrew Buote, Luke Cain, Jeff Christansen, Nolan Julseth-White, Jon Lareau, Brock Matheson, Justin Pallos, Taylor Reid, Jason Shaffer, and John Simpson.

Good Luck to all the players and the rest of the student body!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Caffaro featured in the Citizens Voice

Jonathan Bombulie features Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins defenseman and former Union captain Lane Caffaro. The article speaks about how Caffaro is getting his chance to play in the AHL and is trying as hard as he can to stay there.

http://www.citizensvoice.com/sports/injuries_call-ups_give_caffaro_ice_time

Monday, November 16, 2009

Kinkaid named ECAC Rookie of the Week

The ECAC has just announced that Union goaltender Keith Kinkaid is this weeks ECAC Rookie of the Week for his play against St. Lawrence and Clarkson. In the win against the Saints he made 20 saves for his first career win, and on the following night he made 18 saves against the Golden Knights for the win. Kinkaid is 2-1-0 on the season.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Union 5, Clarkson 1

Wow a sweep in the North Country! The Dutch just proved many people, including myself, very wrong.

The fourth line were the stars as each Buote, Shaffer, and Lareau all picked up points in the victory. Nice to see Kinkaid play another solid game in between the pipes and Zajac and Mario extending the scoring streaks.

There are two questions that come out of this weekend: 1) Should Kinkaid should become the starting goaltender? and 2) Was moving Prez onto the Simpson line a really good idea?

When it comes to the goaltending question I'd first say that it's great that Kinkaid is able to play solid in ECAC games, especially on the road. I would definitely give him at least one start in the RPI Thanksgiving Tournament, but you cannot just forget about Milan. It's only one weekend and Corey should still get more chances to prove himself. I have a feeling that this could turn into a platoon like the Mrazek-Milan tandem from two years ago. But, either way this is a huge step for Kinkaid and he will definitely get more opportunities to prove himself because of this weekend.

With the Prez-Simpsons situation I feel that something has to be changed. I have questioned this move since it happened, and as of this moment I seem to be right. In the four games since the change neither Prez, John, or Wayne have scored a goal. During the two weekend span Prez has 4 assists (3 of which were on the PP), and each Wayne and John have just one assist. When your best player and your two hottest scorers from the beginning of the season have a combined no goals and 3 non-PP assists there is a problem. All 3 of these guys were lighting up the score sheet early, but now they seem pretty invisible. I hope this changes because it would give the Dutch 3 high-flying offensive lines. But on the contrary, ever since Yanovitch switched to Zajac's line, Kelly has been a goal scoring machine. Maybe it's Yanovitch who is lighting the spark and the other guys are reaping the benefits. We will all see what happens soon enough.

Note: St. Lawrence beat RPI tonight 2-1... Union is tied for 3rd place in the ECAC with Cornell and RPI... Quinnipiac is in first after starting the ECAC season 4-0-0 and Colgate is in second having gone 3-0-1

Here's Ken Schott's thoughts on the game:
http://www.dailygazette.com/weblogs/schott/2009/nov/14/union-clarkson-postgame-report/
Here's the recap from UnionAthletics.com:
http://www.unionathletics.com/news/2009/11/14/MICE_1114094319.aspx

Here's freelance writer Cap Carey's recap of the game courtesy of the Times Union:
http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=865975&category=SPORTS

Union 4, St. Lawrence 3

Finally the Dutchmen won a close game! Sounds like they almost blew it, but a win is a win. Nice to see Kinkaid get his first ECAC win, and from what looks like he was pretty solid as two of the goals seemed as pretty hard shots to stop. It's also good to see Zajac keeping the scoring touch as he scored the game-winner. Early it seemed like he was going to fall into a sophomore slump, but hopefully he's come out of that.

The two points in the North Country is HUGE! As of this moment I'd be pretty content coming home with two points, but since the team won the first won they should just go ahead and win the second. It would be quite a feat considering the Dutch haven't swept a season in the North Country since the 2002-03 season.

Note: Tonight Yale beat Cornell 4-2, and RPI beat Clarkson 5-2

Here's Ken Schott's thoughts on the game: http://www.dailygazette.com/weblogs/schott/2009/nov/13/union-st-lawrence-postgame-report/

Here's the recap from UnionAthletics.com: http://www.unionathletics.com/news/2009/11/13/MICE_1113093622.aspx

Here's the Times Union's Daniel Cassavaugh's recap:
http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=865675&category=SPORTS

Friday, November 13, 2009

Looking into the weekend in the North Country

This is going to be a tough weekend for the Dutchmen --- just like every trip to the North Country is. Considering this I feel it will be a successful weekend if the Dutch come home with two points, but I don't think this will happen and I think that they will be lucky to get one point from the weekend. I do feel that each game will be close, and considering the way the four past games have gone I wouldn't be surprised if one (or both for that matter) go into overtime. Ken Schott predicts that Union will lose both games in overtime.

The team has to prove to the fans and themselves that they can play an entire 60 minutes (or 65 minutes as it has been lately) without taking any shifts off. They prove that the team can be in sync in all aspects of the game throughout the whole game. Recently there have been occasions where the Dutch PK has been awful but the PP has been great and vice-versa. Other times the offense has been poor and the defense has been top notch and vice-versa.

But, the one thing that the team absolutely needs to win is good goaltending. No matter who is in net this weekend there can't be any weak goals allowed or big rebounds. I hope Milan gets a chance to prove his critics wrong this weekend, but would also be interested to see how Kinkaid reacts to playing in a league game, especially in one on the road. But either way... I just want to win.

I will also be interested to see if Prez stays on the Simpson line again, and if so if he is able to produce. Last weekend he didn't seem as productive as he was when he was with Wally and Mario. But, it was their first weekend together and they've had a whole week to gain some more chemistry. I personally am not a huge fan of the move as of this moment since Pres was scoring in the first place, and the Simpsons-Yanovitch connection was on fire to start the season. I mean the team is one of the highest scoring teams in the nation so why fix something that isn't broken?

Check out the clip from UnionAtletics.com which discusses the games with St. Lawrence and Clarkson: http://www.unionathletics.com/news/2009/11/11/MICE_1111092549.aspx

If you can't make it to the game tonight make sure to follow it on Live Stats or on the radio at WRUC 89.7 pm (links on UnionAthletics.com)

Caffaro recalled by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

Hopefully he stays there all season and gets a chance to get called up later in the season.
Here's the clip from ecachockey.com: http://www.ecachockey.com/men/members/union/20091111_CaffaroWBSRecall

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Union 3, Yale 3

Another night, another disappointing tie. It just seems like the Dutchmen find new ways to lose every night. One night it's penalties, another its the penalty kill, and tonight they just couldn't seal the deal as Yale was able to score with 6 seconds left. Union even got a powerplay opportunity in overtime, but nothing came out of it. The team played really well for the first two periods, but were completely blown off the ice in the third as they only were able to get 3 or 4 shots the entire period. All I know things have to start changing in order for this team to start winning. When you have 4 overtime games in a row at home and you can't win any of them it really does say something about the chemistry and feeling of the team.

Coach Leaman said he's looking for the right chemistry and as of right now there isn't any, and personally I think Leaman ruined it this weekend by separating the Mario-Wally-Prez line. This was their top line last year and were off to a good start this year. After moving Prez to the Simpson line he looked a little invisible, and the Simpsons were not as noticeable this weekend. You really shouldn't mess with success.

But on a good note Shaffer looked good again, and I hope he gets more opportunities to play this year. Also on a bright side, we did get 2 points out of the weekend, and if you told me that going into the weekend I would've been ok with that.

Here's Evan Slavit's recap from USCHO.com: http://www.uscho.com/recaps/20092010/m/11/07/yu-uc.php

Here's the Times Union's Sean Martin's view of the game:
http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=863204&category=SPORTS

Here's the post-game press conference courtesy of Ken Schott:
http://www.dailygazette.com/videos/2009/nov/08/301/

Friday, November 6, 2009

Union 3, Brown 3

Schreiber scores twice including the game-tying goal with 6:39 left in regulation.
I'm pretty 50/50 on what to think about the game. On one hand the Dutchmen only earned one point at home against last season's worst ECAC team. Also, letting up two cheap shorthanded goals within a few minutes is pretty pathetic. But, it was nice to see the team come back to tie the game, and see the penalty kill shutdown the Bears power-play unit. This just makes tomorrow's game that much more important.

Other notes from the game:
  • Presizniuk switched lines as he moved from playing with Walters and Valery-Trabucco to playing with the Simpson brothers. Leaman said that he is trying to find a right fit for Presizniuk and the Simpson line might be a good fit.
  • Along with this Leaman is trying to find someone to play with Walters and Valery-Trabucco. Tonight it was Welsh, who brings size to the line. Leaman also said that Yanovitch, who was benched tonight, could fit in nicely into that line because he is a great shooter.
  • Senior Jason Shaffer played tonight and played very well, and was praised by Leaman in the post-game press conference. Personally, I think Shaffer should play more. Everytime I see him he is always making nice plays and causing some havoc on the offensive side of the puck. Leaman said he was unsure if he could sit down Shaffer and Jon Lareau after their performance tonight.
  • Leaman also said that each Yanovitch and Boileau will return to the lineup tomorrow against Yale

    Here's my recap from USCHO.com: http://www.uscho.com/recaps/20092010/m/11/06/bn-uc.php

Tonight's Lineups

Union:
Welsh - Walters - Valery-Trabucco
Presizniuk - J. Simpson - W. Simpson
Buote - Zajac - Cain
Bodie - Lareau - Shaffer

Wakita - Coburn
Matheson - Julseth-White
Schreiber - Stuart

Milan

Brown:
Zolnierczyk - Maclellan - Pietrus
Volpatti - McMonagle - Zaires
Senecal - Timberlake - Fratkin
Farnham - Smyth - Smith

Russell - Wolff
Crowley - Buvinow
Van der Linden - Connauton

Clemente

Dutchmen to play Clarkson on National Television

The February 5th game against the Golden Knights will be shown nationally on the NHL Network. It will also be shown locally on Time Warner Cable Channel 3. The start time of the game should move from 7pm to 7:30pm.

Brian Sullivan previews this week of ECAC Hockey on USCHO.com

He predicts Union winning 3-2 on Friday against Brown, but notes that he wouldn't be surprised if the Bears pulled out a victory. On Saturday he sees Yale beating Union 3-2. I agree with him on the Brown game, but I see Yale winning by a bigger margin over the Dutchmen this weekend.

http://www.uscho.com/news/college-hockey/id,17409/ThisWeekinECACHockeyNov52009.html

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Yanovitch and Boileau each benched for Brown game

According to Ken Schott, each Yanovitch and Boileau will not dress for the team's first ECAC game against Brown this Friday. This is a punishment for ill-timed penalties against RPI last week in the team's 4-3 overtime loss. Each player has played very well so far this season, but it looks like Coach Leaman is sending a message to his team that anybody can get benched for hurting the team. There is no word who will replace these two for the game, but they surely will be missed. My guess is that either Cain, Pallos, or Shaffer will get the nod. Maybe senior Jeff Christansen will get a chance to make his final mark on his last season in Schenectady.

http://www.dailygazette.com/weblogs/schott/2009/nov/04/leaman-benches-boileau-yanovitch/