Sunday, January 31, 2010

Union ties Brown again

It's not a loss, but it feels like one. On a night where the Dutchmen desperately needed a win they blew a two-goal lead and were unable to score on the power-play in overtime. It sounds like Kelly Zajac missed a golden opportunity when Brown goaltender Mike Clemente made a stellar save to preserve the tie. This is the second weekend in a row where Union didn't pick up a win, and if this continues they will drop out of the top four and can kiss their NCAA tournament dreams goodbye as they currently are tied for #17 in the PWR. Next weekend is a huge weekend as they return home to take on St. Lawrence, who is tied with Union in the ECAC standings, and last-place Clarkson. It is an absolute must to pick up at least two points on the weekend. The Dutchmen need to prove to their fans that they're not going to roll over and die.

You can read some recaps on the game on Union Athletics.com, Daily Gazette.com, and Times Union.com.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Union falls from top of ECAC standings

It sounds like the Dutchmen didn't really show up to play and that the score is not a reflection of the game. But, it's great to see Luke Cain playing well and giving his team a boost. Also, congratulations to senior forward Jon Lareau on his first collegiate goal. From the box score it looks like Coach Leaman has separated the Simpson twins. Both of these guys need to get going so I'm all for the separation. These guys really need to step their game up if they want to maintain in the top four spots of the league. The top of the standings is bunched up with many teams who can take a top four position. If Leaman and the Dutchmen can't figure out something soon they might be on the outside looking in. Also note, that Jason Walters' 15 game point streak was snapped.

You can read game recaps from USCHO.com, Union Athletics.com, Daily Gazette.com, Ken Schott's blog, and Times Union.com. Also, check out video of Ken Schott's post-game interviews.


The Dutchmen take on the Brown Bears tonight at 7pm. Check out game notes on the Extra Frame Blog.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Union travels south to take on Yale and Brown

Check out previews on this weekend's series on Concordy.com and Union Athletics.com. Also check out articles on Daily Gazette.com and Times Union.com. There are also game notes for the Yale game on the Extra Frame blog, and an article about the game from the Yale Daily News.

You can also read Ken Schott's predictions from this week on his blog, and see interviews here.

Also, read Ed Weaver's article about playing a Union-RPI game outdoors on Troy Record.com.

Be sure to notice that Union was briefly mentioned on ESPN.com.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Dutchmen fall in rankings

  • Union goes from #13 to #18 in the USCHO.com National Rankings

  • In the USA Today/ USA Hockey Magazine Poll the Dutchmen go from #13 to out of the standings. But, they are the top team for teams receiving votes but are not in the Top 15.

  • Most importantly the team goes from a very promising #7 to #19 in the PairWise Rankings. If the season were to end today there is only a 50/50 shot that they would make the National Tournament.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Union loses to Dartmouth for second loss in a row

What a disappointing weekend! As I said earlier in the week, this was a weekend where the Dutchmen should get four points, but they couldn't even get one. But hey, the Dutchmen are still in first place in the ECAC and Jason Walters extended his point streak to 15 games. But, Union has now dropped from #7 t o#19 in the PWR. This makes next weekend's road trip even more important.

You can read about the game on USCHO.com, Union Athletics.com, Daily Gazette.com, and Times Union.com. Also, check out Ken Schott's blog and video.

Union Hockey mentioned on ESPN's SportsCenter

I was just watching SportsCenter (12:10am) and in the closing remarks the two hosts (not sure of their first names) said a quick thing about college hockey. They first mentioned the Wisconsin-Denver game and then the last line of the show was "I think Union lost though." If I wasn't imagining this then this is absolutely amazing even though it mentioned that Union lost.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Union drops first league game

Well, you can't win them all. With last night's 4-1 loss to Harvard, Union became the last team in the nation to lose a league game. Even Coach Leaman recognized that in the post-game press conference. And honestly, a loss like this could be a blessing and could take some pressure off the players. I would much rather lose my first league game in January than in February while heading into the playoffs. Also, it's not like the Dutchmen played an awful game. It was basically a 2-1 game with two empty-netters. It is true that they weren't crisp with their passing or decisions with the puck, but they got a decent amount of scoring chances and threw 48 shots on net. They just happened to run into a goaltender who made a bunch of big stops and finished the game with a career high in saves (47), along with Union barely missing some golden opportunities in the third period (Presizniuk, Bodie). Harvard is starting to find their identity as a team and their highly praised freshman class is beginning to adapt to the college game. Each Louis Leblanc and Danny Biega were very impressive last night. The Dutchmen just have to go out tonight against Dartmouth, salvage two points on the weekend, and maintain their first place standing. Also, with the loss Union moves down to #13 in the PWR, which still is the best for any ECAC team. One positive thing to come out of last night's game was that Jason Walters extended his scoring street to 14 games.

Read some reviews of last night's game on:
USCHO.com (by myself)
Daily Gazette.com (by Ken Schott)
Times Union.com (by Tim Wilkin)
Union Athletics.com
You can also see Ken Schott's post-game thoughts and video.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Tonight's Lineups (1/22/10)

It's not as crowded as the RPI game but still very full. The Union Pep Band is also in attendance.
Union:
Presizniuk - Walters - Valery-Trabucco
Welsh - J. Simpson - W. Simpson
Buote - Zajac - Boileau
Bodie - Lareau - Cain
Schreiber - Stuart
Matheson - Forgaard
Wakita - Coburn
Kinkaid
Milan

Harvard:
M. Biega - Leblanc - Killorn
Morrison - Fallstrom - Kroshus
Greiner - Moore - Valek
Everson - Michaud - Del Mauro

Morin - A. Biega
Huxley - D. Biega
Grimshaw - Christian

Carroll
Richter
Yep, that's not a typo there are 3 Biega's on the Crimson. Alex is a senior and is the team captain while Michael, a junior, is a first line winger, and Danny is a freshman defenseman. You can read about the trio on a website dedicated to them here. The brothers were also on the front cover of the New England Hockey Journal, and you can read the feature from the journal here. They have currently been featured in the Harvard Magazine. The brothers were even getting major attention in 2006 when they were featured on Canada.com and were compared to the Staal brothers who are currently tearing up the NHL.

Dutchmen to face Crimson and Big Green this weekend

Union fans should expect the Dutchmen to take four points a way from this weekend considering both Harvard and Dartmouth are in the lower half of the ECAC standings. Harvard has been on a nice winning streak lately so they could be dangerous, especially with freshman standout Louis Leblanc starting to heat up. The game against the Crimson should be the tightest game of the weekend but you should still favor the Dutchmen. The Dartmouth game should not be that close. The Big Green are currently second to last in the ECAC standings and do not have the offensive talent to keep up with Union's high flying offense. Also, Dartmouth goaltender Jody O'Neill has not put up the prettiest numbers this year. If everything goes as it should the Dutchmen should still be undefeated in league play and on top of the ECAC standings.

You can read some clips about the Dutchmen on Concordy.com, Union Athletics.com, Times Union.com, and Daily Gazette.com.

Be sure to also read Brian Sullivan's ECAC Midseason Report on USCHO.com where he names Mario Valery-Trabucco MVP and Top Forward, and Coach Leaman as Top Coach. Sullivan also names Union as a team most likely to take a tumble.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Dutchmen headline College Hockey News

In this article CHN asks "Who are these guys?" They take note of the beginnings of D1 Union Hockey and how they've quitely moved up the rankings this year. Check out the article here.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Union Hockey News: January 18th

  • Union stays at #13 in the USCHO.com national rankings and the USA Today poll.
  • The Dutchmen move up three spots to #11 in the INCH rankings.
  • Read about RPI Coach Seth Appert saying that he doesn't believe the Dutchmen are better than his team on Troy Record.com.
  • Read an interview with Jason Walters on Times Union.com.
  • Harvard topped Dartmouth 4-1 tonight. The Crimson and Big Green will be traveling to Schenectady this weekend to take on the Dutchmen. You can read the game summary on USCHO.com.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Union tops RPI 3-1 to take Capital Skates Trophy

Wayne Simpson had the game-winner early in the third, and Keith Kinkaid made 22 saves for the win. Youcan read my summary of the game on USCHO.com.

What a great game of hockey! There was great two-way hockey and solid goaltending. I personally would have started Corey Milan over Keith Kinkaid considering Keith's numbers against RPI this year but I definitely can't complain with the way he played. The Dutchmen started off slow, which was probably due to some nerves and trying to impress too much. But, after KK's stop on Chase Polacek's breakaway and Adam Presizniuk's goal the team turned their game up a notch, as they owned the third period offensively and defensively. A team that wins the third period of games is a team that is going to go far in the playofs. For many years I had a coach who always stressed the importance of winning the final period, and if he didn't he would skate us all next practice... even if we won. He always said "win the third, win the game."

The best aspect of the game was definitely the atmosphere. The student section was practically filled by 6:20 and were extremely loud when the team's came on the ice for pre-game warmups. The rink was electric and everyone was on their feet for most of the game. Props to Union's #1 Will Friedman for keeping the student section loud.

In the post-game press conference RPI Head Coach Seth Appert emphasized how Union was not better than his team. As a reporter I sat there and didn't say anything, but as a fan I wanted to defend my team and argue with him. Good thing I didn't because I probably would have lost my job. But, having him say that makes me want to face them in the playoffs so we can just beat them another two times.

It was also great to see Prez, Lil' Simpson, and Cain score. Prez hasn't been as great as he was last season statistically. Hopefully his goal will spark a hot streak for him because Union will need him to play well down the stretch to be successful. Even though Wayne's goal was a "garbage goal," it's still a goal. This was his first goal since October 30th when Union lost to RPI 5-4. Someone else besides Mario and Wally need to score for the Dutchmen to go deep into the playoffs. Cain's goal took extreme effort, and just shows how hard he is working. For the second game in a row he scored a huge goal for his team, and is making a case for a more permanent role.

So, we're still on top of the ECAC standings but more importantly we are now tied for 7th in the PairWise Rankings. If the Dutchmen can stay in the Top 10 of the PWR there is a very, very good chance that they will make the national tournament.

It was a great night for Union Hockey all around as not only did Union beat RPI, but the Union Women's Hockey team won their first ECAC game in 119 games with a 3-0 win at Brown and the Union Club Hockey team won their first game of the season with a win over Mohawk Valley CC.

Read articles on the game on Union Athletics.com, Daily Gazette.com, Times Union.com, and Troy Record.com. You can also see videos and pictures from the Gazette.

Tonight's Lineups (Union-RPI 1/16/10)

The building is full of energy and almost every seat is taken at this moment (6:40pm). The student section was full by 6:20pm. Also, the Union College Women's Hockey team won their first ECAC game in 119 games 3-0 today at Brown.

Union:

Presizniuk - Walters - Valery-Trabucco
Welsh - J. Simpson - W. Simpson
Buote - Zajac - Boileau
Shaffer - Lareau - Cain

Schreiber - Stuart
Matheson - Forgaard
Wakita - Coburn

Kinkaid
Milan


RPI:
Cullen - Polacek - Angers-Goulet
D'Amigo - Pirri - O'Grady
Rabbani - Kerins - Brutlag
Lee - Malchuk - Watts

Kennedy - Merth
Bergin - Foss
Jensen - Burgdoerfer

York
Merriam

More Literature on Tonight's Game

Read Tim Wilkin's article from the Times Union here.

Read Ken Schott's article from the Daily Gazette here.

Read Ed Weaver's article from the Troy Record here.

You can also see video interviews courtesy of Ken Schott here.

There were a few ECAC games last night that you can read a short summary of here.

Friday, January 15, 2010

No Union Hockey Tonight?

Wrong! The Union College Club Hockey team will be playing tonight at Messa Rink at 6:45. Admission is free. The team will also be playing after tomorrow night's Union-RPI game, so stick around for a doubleheader of Union Hockey.

Union-RPI game on Facebook

Be sure to go on the official Union-RPI game page on Facebook to say that you will be attending the game. The page was started by Union Hockey's #1 fan Will Freidman a few days ago and has now reached 500 confirmed guests. This game has the making of being one of the biggest and loudest crowds in the history of Messa Rink.

Recruit Updates

On the USCHO.com Union Hockey forum ADK11 did an excellent job informing everyone of the progress all of the Dutchmen recruits are making (post #366). It looks like we're getting some talented players. One of the most interesting and exciting players is Josh Jooris who is leading the CCHL in scoring this season. You can read a feature on Jooris in the Burlington Post.

Dutchmen featured in New England Hockey Journal and other publications

The Dutchmen have been getting national recognition in college hockey circles lately. You can read some features on the team and their upcoming game against RPI from publications such as the New England Hockey Journal, USCHO, ECAC Hockey. com, Daily Gazette, and Troy Record.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Route 7 Rivalry: Round 4

Round four of the Union-RPI rivalry this season will be a sold out event as all tickets for the game have been sold and only 150 standing room only tickets will be sold two hours prior to the opening faceoff. This will be one of the most energized games at Messa Rink this season as the Dutchmen look for their sixth straight Capital Skates Trophy.

For previews on the game you can read my article about Union's rise during the winter break and the upcoming game against RPI on Concordy.com, or you can read previews on Union Athletics.com and on RPI Athletics.com.

Yanovitch questionable for Saturday

According to Ken Schott's Blog, Union sophomore forward Brian Yanovitch is questionable for Saturday's game against rival RPI due to a sprained ankle. Yano has been on a major cold streak as he hasn't registered a point in his past eight games. His last point came on 11/14 when he registered an assist at Clarkson.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hobey Baker voting update; Mario in 6th

As of 5:30pm today there have been 35,035 votes tallied on HobeyBaker.com, and Union's Mario Valery-Trabucco is in sixth place with 2,122 votes. The player in first place is RPI's Chase Polacek who has 3,749 votes so far. Mario is about 500 votes out of fifth place.

To read more about Mario, Mike Schreiber, and the Hobey Baker voting you can check Union Athletics.com.

Union moves up to #12 in the PWR

After #5 Yale's loss to Harvard last night the Dutchmen have jumped over them in the PairWise Rankings to #12. Even though it's just one spot, every spot makes a difference. You can read about the Yale-Harvard game here, and view the PWR here.

Dutchmen featured in Ithaca Journal

This article focuses on how after Cornell's last meeting with Union, Cornell Head Coach Mike Schafer said how good Union was and how they should be ranked. Well, Union is now ranked at #13 and Schafer is looking right. You can read the article here.

Cook signs with Quad City Mallards

Former Union captain Matt Cook '09 has been signed by the Quad City Mallards, an IHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers. This is the third team he has played for this season. Read more about Cook and the signing on ECAC Hockey.com.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Dutchmen keep on moving up in National Rankings

In the USCHO.com Poll that came out today the Dutchmen have moved up four spots to #13. This is the first time the Dutchmen have been in the top-15 since December4th, 2000 when they were ranked #12. Also note that Cornell is now ranked #9 and Yale is now #5.

Union is also #13 in the USA Today/ USA Hockey Magazine poll after being unranked in that poll last week. And most importantly, as I mentioned earlier, they are #13 in the PWR. If they stay in the top 16 of the PWR they will have a legitimate shot to make the NCAA tournament.
Also note that the Dutchmen moved up two spots to #14 in the INCH poll.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Schreiber and Valery-Trabucco nominated for Hobey Baker Award

A few days ago senior defenseman Mike Schreiber and senior forward Mario Valery-Trabucco were nominated for the Hobey Baker award: the hockey equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. This is a tremendous honor and both are well deserving. Schreiber is the anchor of the Dutchmen defense and is one of the top defensemen in the ECAC. The senior assistant captain is currently tied for third on the team with 18 points (5g, 13a) and leads all ECAC defensemen in points, assists, and leads all ECAC players in plus/minus (+19). He is only one of 13 defensemen nominated for the Hobey Baker award. Mario has been one of the most prolific scorers in the ECAC this season as he has registered 26 points in 20 games. He is second in the ECAC in points, tied for second in goals (12), and leads all forwards with a +15 rating.

To vote for them go to the Hobey Baker Website. They will need tons of support to make it to the next round of fan voting. Oh and just for your information, RPI's Chase Polacek is currently second in the voting with over 1000 votes. Last season BU's Matt Gilroy, who is now with the New York Rangers, won the award.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Cain's first goal of the season lifts Union over Quinnipiac in overtime and into first place

THE UNION COLLEGE DUTCHMEN ARE IN FIRST PLACE IN THE ECAC!

Luke Cain's wrap-around in overtime was the difference. Also in the game Corey Milan made 23 saves and Jason Walters tallied his 100th career point when he assisted on Mario Valery-Trabucco's goal. You can read the game summary on Union Athletics .com , Quinnipiac Bobcats.com, USCHO.com, Times Union.com, and on Ken Schott's Blog and post-game video.

Well as I posted earlier this week I would have been happy with two points from this weekend and anything more would be icing on the cake... well we have that icing on the cake and it tastes wonderful! After winning games at Princeton and Quinnipiac this weekend the Dutchmen now sit on top of the ECAC standings by themselves. All Dutchmen fans should be extremely excited and show their support of the team next week when RPI comes to town on Saturday. I expect the student section to be packed.

Even though this is a great feeling and accomplishment, we should all put this into perspective considering the Dutchmen haven't even played half of the league schedule yet (13 more games). They also have to travel to Cornell, Colgate, and Yale along with playing Quinnipiac one more time. Also, they have yet to play Harvard and Dartmouth. The team and their fans should celebrate this week but once Saturday comes around it should be back to business. We should not be too cocky and from what Coach Nate Leaman has been saying they are not taking the standings too seriously and are just taking it one game at a time.

Even though the Dutchmen should not pay too much attention to the ECAC standings or the National Rankings (which come out tomorrow) they should still keep and eye on the PairWise Rankings. Your positioning in the PairWise Rankings is a major indicator if you are able to obtain an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Currently Union is sitting at #13 and if they stay around there they have a realistic shot of making the tournament. 16 teams make the tournament and if you win your conference tournament you receive and automatic bid. For an explanation of how the PairWise Rankings work click here.

Congratulations to Jason Walters on his 100th career point as a Dutchmen. He has been on fire of late and if he keeps up the pace he could break the all-time Union Division I scoring record (Jordan Webb '05, 114). Also congrats to Luke Cain on his goal last night. It's been a long road for Cain since he had his devastating and pretty gruesome injury (from what I remember) two seasons ago. It's nice to see him still working hard and making the most of his opportunities since he doesn't play every game.

It was also great to see Corey Milan have another strong outing. He is definitely making a case for getting more playing time in between the pipes. It is funny how everyone has been raving about Keith Kinkaid lately even though Milan has better statistics in almost every category while playing more minutes. In 630 minutes Kinkaid has posted a 6-2-2 record with a 2.76 GAA and a .904 save percentage, while Milan as posted a 6-2-3 record with a 2.07 GAA(seventh in the nation) and a .916 save percentage in 665 minutes.

It will be exciting to see where the Dutchmen end up in the National Rankings tomorrow. I predict that they will move up in the rankings and crack the top-15 at #15 and that Quinnipiac will drop out of the top-15 and land at #16. If they keep up their play against RPI next weekend and for the rest of the season it would definitely not be out of the question to say that the Dutchmen have a good shot of making the ECAC Final Four or winning it for that matter.

Union sets up battle for first place with win over Princeton

With two goals from each Andrew Buote and Kelly Zajac the Dutchmen were able to beat the Tigers 7-3. Jason Walters also stayed hot with another goal and Mario Valery-Trabucco also kept up his scoring touch with a power-play goal. Keith Kinkaid made 37 saves in the victory as well, and will sit tonight against Quinnipiac in favor of junior Corey Milan. The Dutchmen are just one point behind the Bobcats heading into tonight's matchup, so if the Dutchmen win tonight they will take over first place in the ECAC standings. Tonight should be a fun game as Union and Quinnipiac both have prolific offenses which are both top-10 in the nation along with top-10 power-play units. The difference in the game will be goaltending and penalty killing. Union's Corey Milan has played well of late and it will be interesting to see if he keeps it up. If he does have a big game it will give him a strong case to start playing more consistently. The team has been getting some attention on campus (many students were talking about last night's win throughout the night), and by moving into first place tonight they should get a big reception in their home game against RPI next weekend.

You can read some literature about last night's game on Union Athletics.com, Go Princeton Tigers.com, USCHO.com, Times Union.com, and on Ken Schott's Blog. You can also see video interviews courtesy of Ken Schott.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Players to watch for this weekend

Princeton:
The Princeton offense is led by senior Dan Bartlett who leads the team with 11 goals, 17 points, four power-play goals, and a .297 shooting percentage. He is also second on the team with six assists and a +1 rating. Also look out for forward Mike Kramer who leads all forwards with seven assists, and Mark Magnowski who is second on the team with three power-play goals. In the pipes last season for the Tigers was Zane Kalemba who was named the ECAC Player of the Year, Goalie of the Year, and first team all-ECAC along with being a second team All-American. But, after being named a pre-season first team All-American by Inside College Hockey Online in October he has been very disappointing. This season as a senior he has gone 2-5-2 with a 3.63 GAA and a .894 save percentage. For his poor play he is now a part of a tandem with junior Alan Reynolds who has been more successful this year. He has accumulated a 4-2-0 record with a 2.63 GAA and a .911 save percentage. He played in Princeton's last game in their win over Quinnipiac.

Quinnipiac:
The Bobcats have been known for their scoring abilities for the past few years and are still one of the highest flying offenses in the nation and lead the ECAC with 71 goals this season. The offense is led by five senior forwards lead by Brandon "All Night" Wong. Wong leads the team with 12 goals, 24 points, four game-winning goals, eight power-play goals (tied for second most in the nation), and 1.26 points per game. The other seniors include Eric Lampe (9g, 14a, 23pts), Jean-Marc Beaudoin (5g, 10a, 15pts), Greg Holt (5g, 9a, 14 pts), and Mike Atkinson (7g, 5a, 12pts). Also be aware of sophomore forward and the Bobcats top faceoff man Scott Zurevinksi (9g, 7a, 16pts), and senior defenseman Zach Hansen (1g, 11a, 12pts). In goal for Quinnipiac has been sophomore Dan Clarke who has been pretty solid while posting a 8-4-1 record, 2.50 GAA, and a .919 save percentage.

This will be a very important weekend for the Dutchmen as it kicks off the 2010 ECAC schedule, is always a very difficult road trip, and could possibly be a weekend where they could climb higher into the standings. As a Dutchmen fan I would be happy with two points and any other points would be just icing on the cake.

You can read previews for the weekend on Union Athletics.com, Go Princeton Tigers.com, and Quinnipiac Bobcats.com.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Caffaro featured in the Times Leader

Former Union defenseman Lane Caffaro '09 has recently filled in on defense for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AHL) while there have been some injuries on the team. Caffaro has made the most of his opportunity and has played really well while being given a chance. But, now the injured defensemen have returned and it is unsure if Caffaro will remain one of the Penguins' top six defensemen.

You can read all about Caffaro and this situation on Times Leader.com.

D'Amigo and USA beat Canada in overtime at World Junior Hockey Championships to win gold medal

Sounds like it was an amazing game that the US was able to pull out the upset. This is only the second gold the US has won in this tournament.
RPI's Jerry D'Amigo was a star on the team as he scored six goals (tied for first on team) and registered six assists (third on the team) for 12 points (second on the team) in the tournament including a goal and an assist in the championship game. He was tied for third in scoring in the whole tournament. I hope D'Amigo cools off before he comes back to ECAC play.
You can read about the game on ESPN.com, ECAC Hockey.com, and IIHF.com.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hot Princeton tops cold Quinnipiac 4-3 in overtime

Heading into Friday's game against the Dutchmen the Tigers have gone unbeaten in their past four games where they have played four nationally ranked teams (UMass-Lowell, Maine, Cornell, and now Quinnipiac) after going winless in their previous seven games. Quinnipiac has gone the opposite way as after winning 12 of their first 13 games they have only won one game in their past six, where four of the losses have come against league opponents.

What this means for the Dutchmen is that this weekend will be a tough won. Princeton is lower in the standings but are riding a hot streak, while Quinnipiac is on top of the ECAC but have fallen apart of late. A few weeks ago the Dutchmen might have looked over the Tigers and looked straight to the Bobcats, but because these recent streaks this will not be true.

You can read the game summary on the ECAC Hockey website.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Dutchmen move up in National Rankings

In the first week of December Union cracked the Top 20 in the USCHO.com poll at #20 and then shortly after moved up to #18. The Dutchmen keep crawling up the national rankings as USCHO.com has them ranked as the #17 in Division I college hockey. They are still riding a hot streak where they've only lost one game (against Massachusetts at the UConn Tournament) since losing in overtime to RPI on October 30th. You can view the complete USCHO.com rankings here.

But to be honest I am a little surprised about how they went up in the rankings mainly because of their heartbreaking loss to UMass and their overtime win over Army a few days ago. UMass was the first ranked opponent the Dutchmen faced since cracking the Top 20 and needed to prove that they can deserve to be a national power. But, they blew a two goal third period lead and lost 4-3. I felt this game might have knocked them down the rankings as this was their first chance to prove themselves and they instantly lost in terrible fashion. My case with the Army game is that even though Union beat them it was a very tight game against a bad team. Yes, a win is a win but when you barely beat a team that is not even good in the weakest conference in college hockey (Atlantic Hockey) you should be penalized for it. This is basically the same case I used about how Union will never go too high in the rankings after barely beating AIC and losing to Sacred Heart in overtime (the two worst teams in Atlantic Hockey). But, hey I'm not a voter so it doesn't matter and I'm very excited to see them move up slightly in the rankings.

Also note:
  • UMass lost to Bentley and Boston University after beating the Dutchmen in the first round of the UConn tournament and moved down a spot in the USCHO.com rankings to #16.

  • Other ECAC teams in the Top 20 include Yale who moved up from #9 to #6, Cornell who dropped from #4 to #8, and Quinnipiac who has rapidly fell and is now #12.

  • Union is tied for #15 with Maine in the USCHO.com Pair-Wise Rankings, which is ahead of Quinnipiac and Cornell.

  • In the Inside College Hockey Rankings Union still stands at #16. Also, Quinnipiac moved down two spots to #11, Cornell dropped three spots to #6, and Yale moved up three spots to #3.
  • Union also received eight votes in the USA Today/ USA Hockey Magazine poll.

Walters receives ECAC Player of the Week honor

Jason Walters picked up five points (four goals and one assist) in Union's three games last week as he scored a goal in the 4-3 loss to Massachusetts, picked up a goal and an assist in the 7-0 slaughter of UConn, and scored both goals in the 2-1 overtime win at Army. Wally is the third Dutchmen in a row to pick up this honor as line mate Mario Valery-Trabucco earned the honor in the previous two weeks. He is also riding a 10 game point streak and a five game goal streak. If he keeps this up he will quickly tally three points and eclipse the 100 point mark.

You can read the official press release from the ECAC and a description of Wally's accomplishment on the Union Athletics Website.

Quinnipiac at Princeton tonight

This upcoming weekend the Dutchmen will travel to Princeton and Quinnipiac to open up ECAC play in 2010. Tonight will be a great scouting opportunity for the coaching staff and even Union fans as the Bobcats will travel to Hobey Baker Rink to face the Tigers in an ECAC matchup. This will be a great opportunity for the Dutchmen to see what they will be up against this weekend.

You can read about the game on the ECAC website.

Ekstrom transfers to St. Norbert?

After a 6+ week winter vacation I have finally arrived back at Union College and am happy to be around the rink for the rest of the season. And of course within the first 20 minutes of arriving in Schenectady my friend asked me if I knew that redshirt freshman defenseman Carl Ekstrom transferred to St. Norbert. I hadn't heard about it or read about it. I searched the web to see if there was any press release saying if this was fact but I could not find it. But, if you look at the Dutchmen roster Ekstrom, Union's first Swedish import, is not on it. I will keep my ears open this week to see if there are any rumors floating around campus. Carl never played an official game for Union. If he is going to St. Norbert he is going to a team who won the NCAA Division III championship last season.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Union squeaks out overtime win over Army

It wasn't pretty but in the end the Dutchmen were able to pull out a 2-1 overtime victory over the Black Knights thanks to two goals by Jason Walters. Wally scored with 11 seconds left in the first period and with about three minutes left in overtime. Army was completely outmatched by Union as the Dutchmen were bigger, faster, and stronger than the Black Knights who were getting tossed across the ice like rag dolls.

But, the Black Knights weren't intimidated as they fought hard throughout the entire game and even got the better of the Dutchmen in the second period. In the 15 years that I have watched Army Hockey I have noticed that they are one of the hardest working teams in all of college hockey and they proved that once again tonight as they skated hard to the puck, finished their checks, and blocked shots at all costs. Another thing that has been consistent over the years for Army is great goaltending, and they got that tonight from Jay Clark (39 saves) who halted the furious Union attack in the third period with some difficult saves.

To be honest no one on the ice for the Dutchmen looked great as they were unable to hold on to the puck, had poor shot selection, didn't make crisp passes, and even Corey Milan (18 saves) didn't look to sharp in the net. Even though he only allowed one goal (power-play) he had trouble controlling his rebounds in the few shots that came at him. But as a Dutchmen fan you can't be disappointed in the result.

You can read game summaries on UnionAthletics.com and GoArmySports.com. Also read an article about the game from the Times Union.

Things to note:
  • Junior Brock Matheson was wearing the captain's "C" tonight. I don't know if this is a new thing, but it's the first time I saw/heard about it. I remember two seasons ago when Coach Leaman gave Lane Caffaro, who was a junior at the time, the captain's "C" in the middle of the season so maybe he's doing something like this again.

  • Kyle Bodie, Luke Cain, and Justin Pallos all played tonight while Brian Yanovitch, Jon Lareau, and Jason Shaffer sat tonight. I guess the sitting of Yanovitch is a surprise since he has played in almost every game. But, looking at his stats it does make some sense. In his first four games of the year Yanovitch was on a tear as he netted three goals and two assists, but he's only registered one goal and two assists since. His last goal and point were in mid-November when the Dutchmen traveled to St. Lawrence and Clarkson.

  • The same is also to be said about Yanovitch's linemates John and Wayne Simpson, who both have three goals and eight assists on the season. It looked early on that John was going to have a breakout season after making the scoresheet in seven of his first eight games this season (2g, 7a). But, in his past 11 games he has only tallied one goal and one assist. There was a long gap between his second and third goals as his second goal of the season came on October 10th against Maine and his third one came in the UConn Toyota Classic against UConn on December 30th. After tallying three goals and five assists in his first eight games, Wayne has only put three assists on the scoresheet in his past 11 games. The Simpson brothers along with Yanovitch need to get things together because the Dutchmen will need another line to produce offensively besides the Mario-Wally-Prez line. Luckily, the Welsh-Boileau-Zajac line has stepped up a bit.
  • I was also very impressed with Army's Owen Meyer. He was Army's top scorer last season, but has fallen off a bit this year. With his good size and good skating ability it was obvious that he could be a dominant player in the Atlantic Hockey conference. Army defenseman Marcel Alvarez is also a pretty good player.

The Dutchmen now head back to Schenectady to begin the Winter Term on Monday, but will not stay there long as they restart league play at Princeton (10th in ECAC) and Quinnipiac (1st in ECAC) next weekend. Hopefully they can continue their unbeaten streak in the ECAC and reach the top of the standings soon.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Union opens 2010 at Army

After demolishing UConn 7-0 a few days ago the Dutchmen will head to Tate Rink in West Point, NY to take on Army (7-8-2) of the Atlantic Hockey conference. Army is 6th in the conference with a 6-5-1 record against league opponents, and are currently riding a four-game winning streak. Last season Kelly Zajac's goal with .2 seconds left in the game gave Union a 5-4 victory over Army at Messa Rink.

The Black Knights are led offensively by Cody Omilusik (12g, 9a), Eric Sefchik (4g, 11a), and Mike Hull (4g, 10a). Omilusik is second in AH in goals (10th in nation) and fourth in points (24th in nation). Also be aware of Owen Meyer (5g,7a) who seems to have fallen off a little from last season performance of 19 goals and 14 assists but should still be a threat. On the Army power-play look out for Marcel Alvares considering all four of his goals have been scored on the power-play and is tied for tops on the team with Omilusik.

In goal Jay Clark has been solid with a 2.78 GAA (5th in AH) and .916 save percentage (2nd in AH). Around this time last year Clark made 56 saves to upset #2 Miami. You can read about the Black Knights on GOArmySports.com.

For Union, Jason Walters has been on fire and you can read all about is on UnionAthletics.com.

There are 5 other ECAC games being played today and you can follow them on ECACHockey.com