Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Three Questions For The Off-Season

With Union's season over, it will be a little slow here on UHB for awhile. But, this will be an interesting and exciting off-season. There are many important questions that will be answered over the next few months, which include:


Keith Kinkaid
 1. Will Keith Kinkaid leave early and sign with the NHL?
Personally, I don't think he's ready yet. He should try to work on his game more and play in more high situation games. In his short two year career, Kinkaid has only won two playoff games: the 2010 ECAC semifinal win over St. Lawrence and Game 1 against Colgate in the ECAC quarterfinals this season. He has lost important games like the 5OT game vs. Quinnipiac, the ECAC championship game against Cornell, the two games to Colgate this year, and the NCAA Tourney game against Minnesota-Duluth. I'm not saying that he played poorly in all of those losses (he was excellent against Cornell and good against UMD), but he needs to prove that he can possibly shutout an opponent in those type of games, like what Kenny Reiter did for UMD last Friday.

I hope he stays because he is an excellent goaltender and is the backbone of the team. But, deep down inside I don't think he'll stay, and will leave early like RPI goaltender Allen York did a few days ago. I still believe this even though Ken Schott and Mark McGuire reported that he will be staying.

Also, take a look how some of the latest players to leave school early to sign with the NHL turned out (College Hockey Inc.).


Rick Bennett
 2. Will the coaching staff stay?
There have been rumors circulating that Coach Leaman and Coach Bennett will leave to take other head coaching jobs. The little rumors I've heard about Leaman is that he might be up for the Harvard job. This makes sense because he was an assistant there before coming to Union, they have more finances to work with, and have recruited NHL prospects like Danny Biega. Personally, I'm more afraid that he'll take the new Penn State job. Leaman has done such a great job building a program here with very little resources, so just imagine what he could do with a new rink, new program, and new league at Penn State.That will be a very appetizing job. Right now, it's hard for me to see Coach Leaman any where else but Schenectady.

Coach Bennett on the other hand, I think will leave and deserves to have a head coaching job. There is currently a vacancy at Providence where Bennett was a great player and was just recently inducted into their athletics hall of fame this winter. He has done such a great job recruiting for Union, and I don't think fans really realize how much he has done for this program. If Bennett leaves, it also creates an opportunity for Coach Barr to be promoted, who has also done an excellent job while at Union.


Adam Presizniuk
 3. Where will the seniors sign?
If you look at the roster, there are only two seniors which really standout to me that will definitely play some sort of pro hockey next season: Adam Presizniuk and Brock Matheson. Prezie is one of the greatest players in Union's DI history and is definitely skilled enough to play in the pros somewhere. The big question with him is where that somewhere is. Will it be in the States or in Europe? Is he good enough for the AHL? Maybe he'll go the same route as Mario Valery-Trabucco and play in a high-level league in Europe.

I know that Brock is getting some looks, but I'm not sure where. If I had to guess it would be somewhere in Europe. I can see him playing in the same league as Mike Schreiber in Germany. Brock is undersized for defender, like Schreiber, but he will be valuable because of his defensive and leadership skills.

Of the other six seniors (Boileau, Cain, Pallos, J. Simpson, Milan, Buote), I'm not sure if they're getting any looks. There are very serviceable players like John Simpson and Andrew Buote who could play some pro hockey, but I don't see them lasting in the pros. You also got to remember that of these six seniors, five of them made the 2010 ECAC All-Academic team, so it is very likely that these guys might want to pursue their career outside of hockey after graduation. Actually, out of all six of this group I see Corey Milan as having the best shot of playing pro hockey. He might be overlooked because of his lack of playing time this season, but has put up some good numbers in his career. This might depend on how well he recovers from his injury.

Hopefully, all of these answers will prove beneficial for the Dutchmen.

Monday, March 28, 2011

College Hockey Video of the Week (3/28/11): Tribute To Merrimack Hockey

If there's one story that's better than Union's historic run this season, it's Merrimack's surprising and also historic 2010-11 campaign. Like Union, Merrimack moved to Division I in the early 1990s and struggled for about two decades. They did not have a winning season until this season. But, this year they went 25-10-4, finished 2nd in the Hockey East Playoffs after losing to Boston College in the championship game, and made their first NCAA D-I Tourney appearance where they lost to Frozen Four-bound Notre Dame in overtime.

Here is a video dedicated to their great season:


I also have to add this video because I think it's hilarious (in a bad way):



Does anybody out there have a Union Hockey rap? If you do, it better be better than this (haha).

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Union's Season Ends With 2-0 Loss To UMD In NCAA Tourney

Well, that's it. The best season in the history of Union College hockey is over. Last night in their first NCAA Tournament game they fell to The University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs 2-0. I guess the belief that western teams are better than eastern teams was proven once again last night.

While I thought Union skated with the Bulldogs and received the better of the chances while playing 5-on-5, UMD was excellent in the "small" parts of the game; the parts of the game that make the difference between winning and losing. The three most noticeable "small" areas of the game where Union got extremely outplayed were faceoffs, winning battles, and SPECIAL TEAMS! I had a bad feeling after the first period. Union failed to score on four PP's and UMD scored on their first opportunity. Their inability to score on early chances (Kelly Zajac's chance about 30 seconds into the game come to mind) and UMD scoring so quickly on their first PP, was the turning point of the game.

Isn't it a little ironic that all week everyone was talking about Union's power-play and UMD's FCC line, and the Dutchmen went 0-for-9 on the PP and the FCC line accumulated just one point (Fontaine's PPG, neither of the Connolly's had a point). Instead the story was UMD's special teams and goaltender Kenny Reiter.

Nobody talked about UMD's power-play all week and I think that gave them some motivation. They ran a very good PP and controlled the puck well. UMD scored both of their goals on the man advantage and scored them at very crucial times: their first chance in the first period and first chance of the third period.

The Bulldog penalty kill killed off all nine of Union's man advantages and did so with relative ease. From what I saw, UMD packed in their box very well and didn't allow Union's shooter in the slot (Wayne Simpson and Daniel Carr) to have any room. UMD also did a great job of causing havoc in the neutral zone, which made it difficult for Union to pick up speed and make crisp passes when breaking out of their zone and attacking the Bulldog zone. Another thing that made the Bulldogs so successful was their ability to block shots and keep their bodies and sticks in the passing and shooting lanes. Reiter played a very good game. He was very good controlling rebounds and made the big save when called upon.

On the other end, Keith Kinkaid played well. I though he kept Union in the game in the third period, making some tremendous saves in the final period.

Even though Union won the faceoff battle (36-33), I thought they didn't do a great job and for the most part couldn't win the faceoff when they really needed it. UMD's second goal came right off of a Union faceoff loss. I really thought Union missed Stephane Boileau in that aspect of the game. It was tough talking to him in between periods knowing that the team really needed him and he wasn't on the ice.

While the end of the season was an extremely disappointing one with three consecutive losses, I am still extremely proud of our guys. This year is just another step to becoming a national power. We've improved and reached a goal each of the past four years: first ECAC top four finish (2008), first ECAC playoff series victory (2009), first ECAC Final Four and Championship game appearance (2010), and first NCAA Tournament appearance (2011). So, the next step is to win our first NCAA Tournament game (and score a goal... ouch I know), and with all the guys we return next season, that is a realistic goal.

It's going to be a long and interesting off season. I'll have posts to sum up the season and preview the off season later in the week hopefully before I head to St. Paul for the Frozen Four.

Keep your heads up guys! We were all (in one way or another) a part of something special.

For more on the game check out:
USCHO (with videos from the post-game press conference)
Union Athletics
Ken Schott's Blog
Times Union
Duluth News Tribune
College Hockey News
INCH
Daily Gazette's Photo Gallery

Friday, March 25, 2011

Union vs Minnesot Duluth Lines

Union


Daniel Carr-Jeremy Welsh-Josh Jooris
Adam Presizniuk-Kelly Zajac-Matt Hatch
Kevin Sullivan-John Simpson-Wayne Simpson
Andrew Buote-Justin Pallos-Luke Cain

Ryan Forgaard-Nolan Julseth-White
Mat Bodie-Brock Matheson
Greg Coburn-Shawn Stuart

Keith Kinkaid
Troy Grosenick
Corey Milan

Minnesota Duluth


Mike Connolly-Jack Connolly-Justin Fontaine
Kyle Schmidt-Travis Oleksuk-J.T. Brown
Mike Seidel-Jake Hendrickson-Joe Basaraba
Keegan Flaherty-Max Tardy-David Grun

Justin Faulk-Mike Montgomery
Wade Bergman-Brady Lamb
Drew Olson-Trent Palm

Kenny Reiter
Aaron Crandall

LET'S GO UNION! GET PUMPED UP!

The game starts at 3pm and can be see on ESPNU. Put on your Garnet everything! It's game day!





ANYTIME, ANYPLACE, ANYHOW!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Union Plays Minnesota-Duluth in First NCAA D-1 Tourney Appearance

Well, here we are. The moment has finally come where Union College is playing in the NCAA Division 1 Hockey Tournament. The Dutchmen have played in the Division III tourney a few times back in the 1980s. It's pretty surreal to be here, but we can't just take in the sights and sounds. We can't just be happy to be here; we want to win. That's exactly what Coach Leaman and Brock Matheson said today after practice in Bridgeport.

The first task at hand is The University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs (22-10-6), who is the #9 seed in the tournament. This is the second time in three years that the Bulldogs have received an NCAA Tourney berth. They finished fourth in the very tough WCHA this season with a league record of 15-8-5. In the most recent polls, UMD was ranked 11th by USCHO and 12th by USA Today. They did spend some time as #1 team in the country earlier in the season. UMD is coached by Scott Sandelin, the 2003-04 recipient of the Spencer Penrose Award for D-1 Coach of the Year. He has led the Bulldogs to three consecutive 22 win seasons.

Union and UMD have met seven times all-time. The Bulldogs hold a 6-0-1 advantage in the series with the last game coming on November 22, 2003 in Schenectady (Coach Leaman's first season at Union). They are also 5-1-0 vs. Yale and 3-0-0 against Air Force all-time.

The two teams also have four common opponents: Alaska-Anchorage, Bemidji State, Clarkson, and Minnesota. Union is 1-0-0 vs. UAA, while UMD is 2-0-0; Union is 0-1-0 vs. Bemidji, while UMD is 1-1-1; both teams are 2-0-0 vs. Clarkson; and Union is 1-0-0 vs. Minnesota, while UMD is 1-1-2.

UMD is tied for 13th overall in the nation in team offense (3.39 goals per game), 21st in overall team defense (2.63 goals per game), 12th in power-play percentage (21.93%), and tied for 30th in penalty killing (81.7%). They are also the 14th most penalized team in the nation, averaging 14.82 minutes per game.

Players To Watch:

Minnesota-Duluth
Jack Connolly (#12): the junior assistant captain is the smallest player on the Bulldogs roster at 5'8" and 175lbs., but is probably the best player on the team. He is a Hobey Baker finalist and is a two time All-WCHA First Team selection, while also being on the WCHA All-Academic team. INCH also named him the WCHA Player of the Year. He leads all Bulldogs with 39 assists (second in the nation) and 55 points (tied for fourth in the nation). His 28 assists was most in WCHA play, and his 55 points was second most in league play behind North Dakota's Matt Frattin. Connolly has only been held without a point six times this season, and only once since January 14. He's going to be tough to stop.

Mike Connolly (#22): Mike is also a junior assistant captain and All-WCHA First Team selection, and plays on the same line with Jack Connolly, but they are not related. He leads the team with 26 goals, three shorthanded goals and 53 penalty minutes, and is third with 49 points. Mike has been on fire of late having scored 13 goals in his past 13 games. He is also big in the playoffs, leading all Bulldog scorers with eight goals and 18 points in post-season play. His 19 goals in WCHA play is third most in the conference.

Justin Fontaine
Justin Fontaine (#37): the senior winger is the third piece of the FCC line. Fontaine is second on the team with 20 goals, 32 assists, and 52 points (tied for seventh in the nation). He also leads the team with 10 power-play goals and a +25 rating. Fontaine was named to the All-WCHA Second Team for the third consecutive year. He is currently riding an eight-game scoring streak.

Justin Faulk (#25): the newly 19-year old freshman has been a major asset on the UMD blueline this season. He leads all all Bulldog defenders with eight goals, 19 assists, and 27 points. Faulk's six PPG's are also tied for second on the team. He is the nation's third highest scoring freshman defenseman and leads all freshman defenders in goals. Faulk was named to the All-WCHA Third Team and All-Rookie team.

Travis Oleksuk (#11): the junior forward is fifth on the team in scoring with 13 goals, 18 assists, and 31 points. But, the stat that stands out for Oleksuk is his team-leading seven game-winning goals (the closest player to him has 3 GWG). This game is going to be a barn-burner, so look out for Oleksuk late in regulation or perhaps overtime.

Union
Keith Kinkaid: Keith didn't have his best performances in the Colgate series. Maybe he was nervous, or maybe the talks of him leaving early to go to the NHL got to him. Either way, he has to be on the top of his game if Union is going to win. A hot goalie can take you all the way to the national championship game.

Wayne Simpson: Personally, Union has to capitalize on the power-play if they want any chance to win. Wayne (9 PPG) is one of Union's big three snipers on the PP, and he will have to produce. Union is 13-2-0 when the younger Simpson scores a goal. Also, I heard he's had a great week of practice. Wayne scored three goals in the Colgate series.

Justin Pallos & Andrew Buote: I'm basically going to say the same thing as I did for the Colgate series here. Pally and Bootsie are two of Union's best defensive forwards and I bet they'll have to handle the FCC line for a good part of the game. Hopefully, Pally is strong enough and Bootsie is fast enough to keep up with these guys. They will also play a major role in stopping UMD's power-play unit, which Coach Leaman called underrated. I think it would be interesting to have Prezie-Zaj-Hatch match up against the FCC line. Yes, they score a lot, but they also have two of the ECAC's top defensive forwards (Presizniuk and Zajac). Plus, Prezie is big, Hatch is fast, and Zaj is very smart in the defensive zone. It's just a thought.

Jeremy Welsh
Jeremy Welsh: During the playoffs your best players need to step up. Welshie is one of Union's top forwards and he needs to step up, along with the rest of his line (Josh Jooris and Daniel Carr) who was shut down for the most part against Colgate. Welsh has been on a bit of a cold streak lately accumulating just one goal and two assists in his past seven games. He is also seven shots away from breaking Mario Valery-Trabucoo's '10 record for most shots in a season.

Kelly Zajac: Zaj is following in the footsteps of his older brothers Travis and Darcy by becoming the third of the Zajac children to play in the NCAA tourney. He has the chance to break a few Union records this weekend: three points away from tying Mario Valery-Trabucco '10 for points in a season (45), one game-winning goal away from breaking Scot Seney's '03 record for most GWG in a season, and one assist away from breaking Joel Beal's '02 record for most assists in a season.

Keys To The Game
For Union: 1) Limit the FCC line any way possible. They were three of the top four scorers in a very tough WCHA this year. 2) Don't be nervous. Yes, this is their first ever tournament appearance, but you have to play like veterans and not let your emotions take over. The team also has to be over the loss to Colgate. Good thing they're 6-2-0 this season coming off a loss. 3) You have to capitalize on the power-play. Union has the top ranked PP in the country and they have to prove it. They are 23-5-3 this season when scoring a PP goal. On the other side of the puck, they have to be solid on the penalty kill. Union is 14-2-4 when keeping the opposition scoreless on the PP.

For UMD: 1) The FCC line must produce like they have all year. They have scored a ton in the WCHA this season and theoretically should produce the same result against the ECAC. 2) Stay out of the penalty box. The Bulldogs have been one of the most penalized teams in the country, but if they want to win they have to keep Union's prolific PP off the ice. 3) Use your experience to your advantage. Many of the Bulldogs have been to the tourney twice.

Other stats to keep an eye on: 1) Both teams are very successful when scoring first. Union is 18-4-3, while UMD is 16-3-2. So, who ever scores the first goal has a good chance of winning the game. 2) Union is very good on Friday, while the Bulldogs are just ok. Union is 14-2-1, while UMD is 9-6-2.

As you can see, this is going to be one heck of a game!

For more check out:
USCHO
INCH
College Hockey News
Ken Schott's Podcast
College Hockey Inc.
Times Union (Mark McGuire)
Connecticut Post
Union Athletics --> with Cover-It-Live
UMD Bulldogs.com
Quotes From UMD Press Conference
Jack Connolly Blog
Sounds From Bridgeport (USCHO)
Rink And Run
Runnin' With The Dogs
The Ciskie Blog

Captain's Corner With Brock Matheson (3/24/11)

It was an incredibly busy day in Bridgeport today, but Brock was nice enough to save some time for Captain's Corner this week. The media was all over the team today, which must have been cool but intimidating. I think Brock, Coach Leaman, and the rest of the Dutchmen did a great job today handling everything.

Also, Jeff Weinstein and Eric McDowell did a great job handling the "big time atmosphere." But, they've both been in these situations before with Boston College and the Golden State Warriors, respectively. It was also nice seeing some of the local media (ex. Ken Schott) in Bridgeport, which helped it feel like home. This was definitely a new experience for me with all the media, protocols, the big media room... the free lunch spread! It was such a great experience.

Anyways, here's Brock (his playoff beard is looking great!):

Union's Press Conference From Bridgeport

The Dutchmen had a press conference after their practice on Thursday afternoon. This was definitely the biggest press conference I've ever been a part of.





The thing Coach is laughing about in the beginning of the video is that Ken Schott asked him what he's most scared about with Duluth, and Coach said "the weather."

The Maroon Loon

The Maroon Loon is one of the most beloved college hockey mascots of all-time. He is the former mascot of the UMD Bulldogs, even though he is a skating chicken. He is famous for his ridiculous antics including skating on stilts and shooting water guns at opposing fans. The Loon sounds like a truly awesome college hockey mascot... reminds me a little of the Philly Phanatic.

To know more about the history of the Maroon Loon click here.

The Loon also has a UMD hockey blog dedicated to him (click here).

Here are two videos courtesy of the Maroon Loon himself. You can see how fun the Loon was and take a look at UMD Hockey history:



Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Video: Does Former UMass Goaltender Jonathan Quick Have Superpowers?

I know I've been posting a lot of videos the past few days, but aren't they awesome?! This next video is also pretty cool. There are three reasons why I'm posting this video:

1. Jonathan Quick is from Milford, Connecticut which is about 15 minutes away from Bridgeport. He played for Hamden High School (which is where Quinnipiac is) and then went to Avon Old Farms in CT.
2. Quick played college hockey for UMass-Amherst. He backstopped the Minutemen to their first NCAA Tournament appearance. Maybe Keith Kinkaid is the next Jonathan Quick?
3. This "save" by Quick is absolutely ridiculous! Is it a save or is he using some kind of Jedi mind tricks? You make the call.



Greg Wyshynski analyzes the video on Yahoo's Puck Daddy Hockey blog (click here).

Video: 2011 Minnesota HS Hockey All-Hair Team

All I have to say is THANK GOD we get to play UMD and not this amazing team from Minnesota. We would have no shot!

My Projected Bracket

The NCAA Tournament starts on Friday, which means I have to submit my bracket for the "NCAA Hockey Bracket Challenge" in support for "Score for Kristen and the Kids."

This is what I honestly think will happen in the 2011 NCAA Hockey Tournament:

Regionals
Bridgeport
Union over Minnesota-Duluth
Yale over Air Force
*Union over Yale

Manchester
Miami over New Hampshire
Merrimack over Notre Dame
*Miami over Merrimack

St. Louis
Nebraska-Omaha over Michigan
Boston College over Colorado College
*Boston College over Nebraska-Omaha

Green Bay
North Dakota over RPI
Western Michigan over Denver
*North Dakota over Western Michigan

Frozen Four
St. Paul
Miami over Union
Boston College over North Dakota
**Boston College over Miami

* Regional Championship
** Frozen Four Championship

As you can see, I'm confident that many of the "newer" and "less-known" teams will win a game, but the traditional powers will have no problems making the Frozen Four and winning the championship.

I feel that the Bridgeport region is the biggest toss up. I honestly believe that any of the four teams in that region can make it to the Frozen Four. You can call me a homer, but I like Union's chances against UMD and Yale. I wouldn't be surprised if all three games went into overtime. Also, I hope the ECAC has one representative in the Frozen Four.

The reason why I picked BC to win it all again is because of their expereince. They return a bunch of guys who won last year, including stud Cam Atkinson, and goaltender John Muse returns to try and win a third national championship. I like North Dakota because of their winning tradition and the leading scorer in the nation Matt Frattin. I also think Miami will go to the FF because of the dynamic duo of Carter Camper and Andy Miele, who both have good experience in the tournament. Personally, BC, North Dakota and Miami are on a level of their own and are the best three teams in the country.

Who knows what will happen? The NCAA Hockey tournament can be very unpredictable, which is what makes it so much fun.

Videos: UMD Hockey Fan

Let's just hope Justin doesn't ever run into this hard core UMD Bulldog fan:



Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ten Questions With Bruce Ciskie

Bruce Ciskie
I assume that pretty much every Union fan doesn't know much about our upcoming opponent, The University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. The same can be said for the Bulldog fans, so I agreed to have a back-and-forth Q&A with Bruce Ciskie, who is the UMD Hockey radio play-by-play announcer. He also is the sports director of Duluth's Red Rock Radio runs The Ciskie Blog. I'd like to thank to Mr. Ciskie for doing this and for answering the questions honestly and clearly.

So, here are my ten questions with Bruce Ciskie.

1. Tell us about yourself. What is your connection to UMD Hockey?
I've been the radio play-by-play announcer since the 2005-2006 season. Before that, my wife and I became season-ticket holders in 2002, and now my wife and son go to all the home games, along with road games when the kid's hockey schedule permits.

I actually left the job during the 2008-2009 season when the station that was carrying the games eliminated my position and didn't allow me to finish the season. As a result, this is actually the first time I've gotten to call a UMD game in the NCAA Tournament.

2. Tell us about The University of Minnesota-Duluth? Where is Duluth, Minnesota, what's it like, etc.?
Duluth, Minnesota, is on the western tip of Lake Superior. It's known as a shipping port and is a huge tourist town during the summer, largely centered around Lake Superior. It's home to one of the bigger marathons in the country, Grandma's Marathon, which runs every year on the third Saturday in June. UMD has over 11,000 students and has been around since 1947.

From a sports standpoint, UMD has been dominated lately by its football and hockey programs. Football won Division II national titles in 2008 and 2010, while women's hockey has five NCAA titles out of the 11 handed out. The men's hockey program has been around for 67 years, but has been to just one Frozen Four since the mid-1980s.

3. In short, how did UMD's season go? Was it good? Bad? Up and down?, etc.
UMD's season has gone well. They were No. 1 in the polls for a time, and they stayed in the upper half of the WCHA for the entire season. There was a bit of a dry spell down the stretch, but they played well in series against Nebraska-Omaha and St. Cloud State to get to the Final Five and clinch an NCAA Tournament spot.

Mike Connolly
4. Who is UMD's best player?
Some would say it's Jack Connolly, and it's hard to argue with that when you consider he's an All-American, one of the league's top point producers, and a Hobey Baker finalist. However, Mike Connolly is on the ice in virtually every key situation imaginable. He has a goal-scoring touch, an unbelievable competitive fire, and a nose for the puck. You won't find anyone in the country as tenacious without the puck as Mike Connolly.

By the way, they're not related, in case anyone is wondering. Jack is from Duluth and Mike from Calgary.

5. Tell us about UMD's defensive corps.
UMD was hit with the mid-season departure of former Chicago first-rounder Dylan Olsen, who was going to be academically ineligible for the second half of the season. An injury to junior Brady Lamb made them quite thin for a time in February. They're better now, with senior captain Mike Montgomery and freshman sensation Justin Faulk (2010 second-round pick by Carolina) taking most of the big minutes. Lamb and sophomore Wade Bergman will see plenty of ice time. Sophomore Drew Olson needs to be more consistent, but he's been better while paired with fifth-year senior Trent Palm.

6. Who else should Union fans look out for on the ice? (maybe someone who's not on the FCC line)
Junior center Travis Oleksuk and freshman wing J.T. Brown have been very good together. Brown was one of the better rookies in the WCHA, and really impressed with his consistency. Another guy worth looking out for is sophomore center Jake Hendrickson, who has been playing very well over the last six weeks or so.

7. What is UMD's goaltending situation like (looks like 2 goalies got good amount of time)? Are the goaltenders any good?
Kenny Reiter has been getting the ball, so to speak, for a while now. The fourth-year junior was great in the playoffs for UMD last year, but seemed to struggle in the Final Five loss to Bemidji State Thursday. I'll freely admit I don't know much about goaltending, but it seems that Reiter's the best option because of his athleticism.

8. What type of team is UMD? Are they fast? Physical? Offensive? Defensive?, etc.
UMD likes to skate. They're at their best when they play aggressive and in the faces of opponents. There is an issue with this team in muck-and-grind type games, where teams take the action to the wall and try to win the little battles. UMD can get impatient sometimes, though they were generally improved in that area this year.

9. How are the UMD special teams?
They're dangerous on the power play, but in a hockey world where calls tend to get evened out over the course of a game, it might not be best for UMD to spend a lot of time on the power play, as it also means a lot of PK time. UMD is best when rolling four lines and playing five-on-five. The PK is probably better than the numbers might suggest, but I'd still rather take my chances in a five-on-five game.

10. Tell us about UMD hockey fans? Will they travel to Bridgeport?
UMD has a loyal following, and there will be fans in Bridgeport. I don't expect it to be a large number, especially considering that the Frozen Four is in St. Paul. I'm guessing a lot of people are going to gather and watch the game back home, hoping their team can win twice in Connecticut. If UMD makes the Frozen Four, it could end up practically being a home event for them depending on how the field shakes out.

Well, there you have it! I feel I know a lot more about UMD now. Look for my response to Mr. Ciskie's questions on his blog later in the day.

Video: Union's First Win Against RPI

This upcoming weekend marks the first time that both Union and RPI will be in the NCAA Tournament at the same time.

So, in honor of this historic occasion here are highlights of Union's first win over the Engineers. The game took place in 1988 when Union was still D-III, and RPI won the D-I National Championship just three years prior.

This looks like it was a great overtime game. It's also pretty cool to see how the rink looked back in the 1980s before I was born.

Enjoy!

Monday, March 21, 2011

NCAA Hockey Bracket Challenge For Charity

My fraternity, Alpha Epsilon Pi (Upsilon Sigma chapter), is hosting an NCAA Hockey Bracket Challenge to raise money for the "Score for Kristen & the Kids" fund. This charity is in support of Kristen Shinebarger, who was recently diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma, and her family. Her mother, Shelly Shinebarger, is the Director of Student Services at Union and does a lot for Dutchmen, especially with the guys from Canada. As of February 7th, about $4,000 has been raised. Let's continue this success and spread it the cause throughout the college hockey community.

For more info on the charity click here.

The way the bracket challenge works is that it costs $5 to submit one bracket (or $12 for three brackets, $20 for five brackets), and the winner takes 50% of the total amount raised, while the other half goes to the Shinebarger family.

Here's how to sign up:
Register (click here)
Fill out Bracket (click here)
Pay via PayPal (click here)

For more info check out the Facebook Page. Join the event and invite all of your friends.

Fun Facts: Former team manager Jeremy Apple '09 is a member of the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity... Jason Oshins '86 founded the chapter of AEPi at Union College and is a huge Garnet Blades donor and is on the school's Board of Trustees.

Here's a video of Kristen when she was honored by Union's women's hockey team in February:



Here's a video from the press conference when the initiative was announced:

Minnesota-Duluth Hockey Links

Just like every other Union fan, I don't know much about THE Minnesota-Duluth University Bulldogs. I think the only time I saw UMD play was in the 2004 Frozen Four in Boston, which was also when UMD star forward Junior Lessard won the Hobey Baker Award.

Anyways, I will be relying to gather as much info on the Bulldogs as I can from UMD hockey sites. Here's a list:

Jack Connolly Blog (click here)
Rink & Run (click here)
Runnin' With The Dogs (click here)
The Ciskie Blog (click here)
The College Hockey HighHorse (click here)
The Maroon Loon (click here)
USCHO Team Page (click here)
UMD Bulldogs.com (click here)
Duluth News Tribune (click here)

I'll add more if I find them.

College Hockey Video of the Week (3/21/11): North Dakota's Evan Trupp "Stickhandling"

This play happened this past weekend in the WCHA Final Five. While Evan Trupp didn't score on the play, it's still pretty cool. You got to give him credit for trying to pull this off in the league playoffs and getting as far as he did. If he scored I think it would've been even better than Mike Legg's goal for Michigan about 15 years ago.

Who knows... maybe we'll see Trupp do it against Union in a few weeks. We can dream.

Union Is Heading To Bridgeport!

Wow, this is pretty exciting! It's still pretty amazing that UNION COLLEGE is not only in the NCAA Tournament for the first time (in Division I history), but they are a #2 SEED! This is going to be one exciting week leading up to the weekend in Bridgeport. I'll do my best to keep all of you posted and informed on our upcoming opponents and other news.

Here is what the official bracket looks like:

East Regional (Bridgeport, Ct.)
No. 4 Air Force (20-11-6)* vs. No. 1 Yale (27-6-1)*
No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth (22-10-6) vs. No. 2 Union (26-9-4)

West Regional (St. Louis)
No. 4 Colorado College (22-18-3)  vs. No. 1 Boston College (30-7-1)*
No. 3 Nebraska-Omaha (21-15-2) vs. No. 2 Michigan (26-10-4)

Midwest Regional (Green Bay)
No. 4 Rensselaer (20-12-5) vs. No. 1 North Dakota (30-8-3)*
No. 3 Western Michigan (19-12-10) vs. No. 2 Denver (24-11-5)

Northeast Regional (Manchester, N.H.)
No. 4 New Hampshire (21-10-6) vs. No. 1 Miami (23-9-6)*
No. 3 Notre Dame (23-13-5) vs. No. 2 Merrimack (25-9-4)

* automatic qualifiers
By conference: WCHA 5, CCHA 4, ECAC 3, Hockey East 3, Atlantic Hockey 1

Personally, I think this is the best case scenario for the Dutchmen. Any team you play in the NCAA Tournament is going to be tough opponent, so all the game are going to be difficult. But, if I had to pick a region to be in and a #1 seed to be in the same bracket with, I'd pick Bridgeport and Yale, respectively. Bridgeport is the closest of the four sites to Schenectady and Union has beaten Yale already this year. I also feel the Bulldogs are the weakest of the four #1 seeds, even though they had two convincing performances in the ECAC Final Four. I think Union has as good of a chance as any team in Bridgeport to make it to the Frozen Four.

But, Yale should not be our focus right now... it should be the other Bulldgos. That is THE University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. They also have a very good team and will be a very tough opponent. Their top line of Fontaine-J. Connolly-M. Connolly is supposed excellent and have put up big numbers. They also have a stud freshman defenseman in Justin Faulk. But after that it doesn't sound like they have too much. Their goaltender also doesn't seem to be anything special, and isn't on the same level as Keith Kinkaid. This is just what I've heard. I will do my best to find out everything on the Bulldogs throughout the week.

This is going to be a fun week... CAN'T WAIT!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Videos of Union on ESPN2

Here are two videos of Union on ESPN2's NCAA Hockey selection show. The first video is of when the East Regional was announced, and the second is the interview with Coach Leaman.





Ken Schott also has some videos from the reception at the Nott Memorial:

For the reaction when Union's name was announced and Coach Leaman's interview click here.
For the press conference after the announcement click here.

The Tournament Field Is Set!

Saturday night ended the league playoffs, which solidified the NCAA Tournament field. Here are the results from the league championship and third place games:

ECAC
Championship: Yale 6 - Cornell 0
Third Place: Dartmouth 5 - Colgate 3
*Yale gets auto bid

CCHA
Championship: Miami 5 - Western Michigan 2
Third Place: Michigan 4 - Notre Dame 2
*Miami gets auto bid

Hockey East
Boston College 5 - Merrimack 3
*Boston College gets auto bid

WCHA
North Dakota 3 - Denver 2 (2OT)
*North Dakota gets auto bid

Atlantic Hockey
Air Force 1 - RIT 0
*Air Force gets auto bid

For game recaps of these game go to USCHO.

So, here is the final NCAA Tournament field by seed:
1. Yale
2. North Dakota
3. Boston College
4. Miami
5. Michigan
6. Merrimack
7. Denver
8. Union
9. Minnesota - Duluth
10. Western Michigan
11. Notre Dame
12. Nebraska-Omaha
13. New Hampshire
14. Colorado College
15. RPI
16. Air Force

Dartmouth, BU, Maine, and Minnesota just missed. For the final PWR click here.

So, we have three ECAC teams in the tourney which is awesome! Even though I don't like to say it... Congrats RPI. Represent the Capital District well!

We will find out tomorrow where each team plays. Make sure to watch the selection show at 11:30am on ESPN2. USCHO's Jayson Moy predicts the tournament field to look like this (link):

Bridgeport
Yale vs. Air Force
Union vs. Minnesota-Duluth

Manchester
Miami vs. New Hampshire
Merrimack vs. Notre Dame

Green Bay
North Dakota vs. RPI
Denver vs. Western Michigan

St. Louis
Boston College vs. Colorado College
Michigan vs. Nebraska-Omaha

I'd bet that Moy is right and this is what the tournament looks like. As a Union fan, I'd be very happy with this. Every team is you're going to play is tough, but if I had to choose a #1 seed to play (that is if we win the first game, which will be tough) it would be Yale since we're familiar with them. You never know what can happen in the NCAA Tournament. I mean, RIT went to the Frozen Four last year and this year they're not even in the tourney.

"ANYTIME, ANYPLACE, ANYHOW"

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Scores From Last Night

Last night was the semifinals of each conference tournament. All of the championship games are today. This is what happened:

ECAC
Yale 4 - Colgate 0
Cornell 3 - Dartmouth 0
Championship: Yale vs. Cornell, 7pm in Atlantic City

CCHA
Miami 6 - Notre Dame 2
Western Michigan 5- Michigan 2
Championship: Miami vs. Western Michigan, 7:35pm in Detroit

Hockey East
Boston College 5 - Northeastern 4
Merrimack 4 - New Hampshire 1
Championship: Boston College vs. Merrimack, 7pm in Boston

WCHA
Denver 6 -  Bemidji 2
North Dakota 4 - Colorado College 3
Championship: Denver vs. North Dakota, 7:05pm (CT) in St. Paul

Atlantic Hockey
Air Force 3 - Holy Cross 2
RIT 4 - UConn 2
Championship: Air Force vs. RIT, 7:05pm in Rochester

For box scores and recaps from each game go to USCHO.

After tonight we will know who is in and who is out of the NCAA Tournament. On Sunday at 11:30am on ESPN2 we will find out where everyone is playing. It looks like RPI has a really good shot of making it by the way.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dutchmen Win 5 of 7 ECAC Awards

Tonight in Atlantic City the ECAC announced their regular season awards. Of the seven awards handed out, five were given to individuals from Union.

Here were the results:

Most Outstanding Player: Chase Polacek, RPI
Ken Dryden Award: Keith Kinkaid, Union
Rookie of the Year: Andrew Calof, Princeton
Best Defensive Forward: Adam Presizniuk, Union
Best Defensive Defenseman: Brock Matheson, Union
Student-Athlete of the Year: Stephane Boileau, Union
Coach of the Year: Nate Leaman, Union

For more on each recipient check out:
ECAC Hockey
Union Athletics
Ken Schott's Blog

Congrats to Keith, Prezie, Brock, Stephane, and Coach on these tremendous honors! Also, congrats to Polacek and Calof on great seasons. It's a little weird that none of these guys will be in Atlantic City this weekend.

You can't really disagree with the selections too much. Personally, I would have give the Rookie of the Year to Greg Carey from St. Lawrence.

Captain's Corner With Brock Matheson (3/17/11)

It was a busy finals week on campus, so I was unable to catch up with Brock before I went home for Spring Break. But, he was nice enough to answer the following questions (which I would've asked him on video) through email. Enjoy!

1) What do you think was the reason why Colgate won this past weekend?
I think Colgate won because they played hard all series and kept coming. It could be argued that we didn't get bounces or calls our way but those are just excuses, at the end of the day they won the series because of great goaltending and great transition and net drives.

 
2) Everybody (students and fans) was very upset after the loss. What was the feeling in the locker room? 
We were all pretty devastated. It was a heartbreaker, but after a few days now we're back and track and preparing for the NCAA's.

3) I think everyone had trouble coping with the loss. How did you? Did you talk to anybody?

After games I usually talk to my parents and they are great at putting things in perspective. But, all of us wanted some time away from the rink after the loss to kind of digest it in our way and diffuse it a little bit.

4) What do you guys do now? How do you refocus?

We've already started to refocus. What's done is done and now were focusing on something greater than our league championship: the national tournament. It's now about us getting better in practice each day and addressing the individual areas of the game that we need to improve in and that we weren't successful in the past weekend.

5) What do you have to do as the captain of the team to make sure you guys refocus?

It's up to myself and the other captains, and all the seniors to make sure that we're using practices to get better and to improve. We can't take a day off now because if we lose, we're done, so it's up to us to send that message to everyone and demand the best everyday.
 


6) It looks like you guys are a lock for the NCAA Tournament. How does it feel to be a part of the first Union team to make it to the tournament?
It's a great feeling to know that we've put together a good enough season to deserve an at large bid for the tournament. That being said however, we're not juts happy to be there, we want to win it. So, it's all about preparation and focus right now. 

7) With two weeks off and unsure on who your next opponent will be, how do you prepare for the NCAA Tournament?

Like I said before we just want to focus on us and our game. We want to improve in areas that we've struggled with so that come playing time, we're firing on all cylinders.

8) Do you prefer where you guys play in the NCAA tournament?

I have no preference.

9) How did finals go?

I'm taking a study break right now to answer these questions, still have one final tomorrow (Thursday) morning and a paper tomorrow, so not quite out of the woods yet.

10) What do you guys do on campus when no one is there? Is it easier to focus on hockey with no school work and no one around?

When no one is on campus it's nice because we don't have to focus on school and it's all about hockey. Practices are early in the day and it's easier to eat good meals at good times. Away from the rink guys relax and enjoy not having homework

11) Where is your favorite place to eat on campus and off campus?

My favourite meal on campus is our pre-game meal at Reamer Campus Center. The Reamer staff is so great and the meal they prepare is delicious and they cater to our needs so well. They deserve a big thank you. Off campus I like Bangkok Bistro. My roommates and I enjoy going there from time to time

12) What is your favorite song(s) to listen to before games?

In the dressing room we listen to a wide variety of music from rock to rap to country to techno. For the past few months we've been putting on some old school Limp Bizkit before we go on the ice so lots of guys have enjoyed that.

13) Sunday was your last game at Messa Rink. Is there anything you want to say to the fans?

On behalf of the entire senior class I'd like to thank every fan who ever came to see us play over the past four years. We're incredibly grateful for the fans and support we have here throughout the school and community. You're responsible for our success at home this year and we hope to see some of you at the NCAA's.

14) Congrats on being named Second Team All-ECAC. What does it mean to you to be honored by the league?

It's a tremendous honor, there are so many great d-men on this team let alone this league. I think there are a number of other players on our team that deserve recognition for their contributions on a nightly basis. Defense is a 6-man effort including the goalies so everyone is represented in that honor.

15) Give us an inspirational quote for Union fans to live by for the next few weeks. Is there a quote you guys have to motivate yourselves this season or now?

Our motto this year has been "Anytime, Anyplace, Anyhow." This is especially applicable now as we will soon be travelling to a regional site for the tournament. Basically it means that anywhere we go, were going to get the job done by any means possible. That mentality allowed us to go into hostile environments and tough games and get wins regardless of the circumstance.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Six Dutchmen Honored On All-ECAC Teams

Sorry about posting this so late. I just got home for Spring Break.

Anyways, six Union players have been named to All-ECAC teams. Congrats to Keith Kinkaid, Kelly Zajac, Brock Matheson, Jeremy Welsh, Daniel Carr, and Mat Bodie.

FIRST TEAM
Forward - Chase Polacek, RPI
Forward - Brian O'Neill, Yale
Forward - Andrew Miller, Yale
Defense - Nick Bailen, RPI
Defense - Taylor Fedun, Princeton
Goaltender - Keith Kinkaid, Union

SECOND TEAM

Forward - Jack Maclellan, Brown
Forward - Joe Devin, Cornell
Forward - Kelly Zajac, Union
Defense - Brock Matheson, Union

Defense - Danny Biega, Harvard
Goaltender - James Mello, Dartmouth

THIRD TEAM
Forward - Andrew Calof, Princeton
Forward  - Chris Cahill, Yale
Forward - Jeremy Welsh, Union
Defense - Mike Devin, Cornell
Defense - Joel Stejskal, Dartmouth
Goaltender - Allen York, Rensselaer  

ALL-ROOKIE TEAM
Forward - Andrew Calof, Princeton
Forward - Greg Carey, St. Lawrence
Forward - Daniel Carr, Union
Defense - Mat Bodie, Union

Defense - Dennis Robertson, Brown
Goaltender - Andy Iles, Cornell

For the official release click here.

I think the selection committee (or whoever picks these teams) did a really good job. I really have no complaints. I guess the only person I thought would be on a team but isn't is (I hate to say it but) Harry Zolnierczyk from Brown. All of the Dutchmen that were honored are well deserving. These guys are the best six players on the team (not including Adam Presizniuk, who was hurt for a good a few games this season which is probably why he wasn't named to any team). Also, congrats to the other student-athletes who were honored.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Entertaining Yale Hockey Announcer Video

Does anybody else this Yale Hockey announcer needs to calm down a little? I mean calling the first three goals like this is fine, but the fourth goal is a little over the top isn't it? Either way, I'm looking forward to this guy's goal calls in the ECAC Final Four and NCAA tournament. Good luck Yalies.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Union Loses To Colgate In A Heartbreaker

Ok readers, I've been thinking about what to say here for a long time now. But, there really isn't much to say. Last night's loss and the weekend in general still hurts so much. I had such a hard time leaving the rink last night since this is not the way I wanted my last moment at Messa Rink to feel like. Everyone just feels so awful. After the game I talked to Mike Schreiber via Facebook for a long time. It was about 3am in Germany and he couldn't go to sleep. Alumni messaged me via Twitter... player's girlfriends were upset... students were shocked and angry... the list goes on. Just seeing the guys so upset in the post-game press conference was heartbreaking. Walking back to my house by myself after the loss was one of the worst feelings I've ever experienced at Union. On the way back I ran into Josh Jooris and we talked for a few minutes just trying to talk it out. I think everyone on campus is shocked and upset. I don't think anybody thought Union would lose two games at home in one weekend after only losing once at Messa all season.

Our boys played well for the first five periods of the weekend, and then all of a sudden everything was turned upside down. There really isn't much else to say besides that Colgate worked their butts off and deserved the series. Their big players (Mihalik, Day, Brisebois, etc.) really stepped up when they needed to and they should be commended. They are truly playing their best hockey right now, and are proving why many picked them as a Top 5 team in the league this year (I did). It must be pretty exciting to be a Raider fan now.

As a Union fan you just have to tip your hat to the Raiders and that's that. You can't blame the refs. Even though I didn't agree with a number of calls against the Union (and some of the non-calls against Colgate), that's hockey. The Raiders were opportunistic on the power-play, so you have to give them credit. You also can't blame any specific players. Yeah, the Welsh-Carr-Jooris trio was shut down for the most part and maybe Keith Kinkaid wasn't "lights out," but studs the Prezie-Zaj-Hatch line had a good weekend as well as Wayne Simpson. Even Andrew Buote produced well this weekend, scoring two goals to give him three on the season.

But, we have to look at the positives. In any other year in Union Hockey history the season would be over. But, we've accomplished so much this season that we will be playing in the national tournament (I guess it isn't officially confirmed, but the experts seem to believe that we're a lock). There is still more hockey to play, and we can avenge this weekend by making a run in the tourney (Yale did the same thing last season and there are other examples of this). I think we all need to refocus and begin to start thinking about the national tournament. Hopefully for the players, finals week will put their focus on something else for a few days and then they can start moving in a new direction.

I believe this team isn't done yet. This is a team of destiny, and as a student and fan I will support them to the end. Good luck on your finals guys, and I'll see you in the regionals.

For more on Game 3 check out:
USCHO
Ken Schott's Blog
Times Union - Mark McGuire
Times Union - Pete Iorizzo
Union Athletics
ECAC Hockey (Video Highlights)
Ken Schott's College Hockey Slap Schotts

Union Drops In The Rankings

Union dropped two games and won once against Colgate this weekend. They will be off this upcoming weekend and will await to see where they end up in the NCAA Tournament.

This is where they currently stand in the rankings:

USCHO: down 5 spots to #9
INCH: down 4 spots to #7
USA Today/USAHM: drop 4 spots for a tie for #8 with Notre Dame
TCHB: down 6 spots to #9

PWR: 9th
RPI: 8th
KRACH: 10th

Here are some links pertaining to where Union could end up in the NCAA tournament:

USCHO's Jayson Moy has Union as the 9-seed playing in Bridgeport against Merrimack and with Yale and RIT. (click here)

Have fun with USCHO's PairWise Predictor to figure out all the different scenarios of how different teams can and cannot make the NCAA tournament. (click here)

The College Hockey Blog has Union in Green Bay for the NCAA Tourney playing Michigan, and with Miami and Boston University. (click here)

College Hockey Video of the Week (3/14/11): Union Highlights

I know everybody at Union is really down after the heartbreaking weekend. But, there is still more hockey to be played. We should all keep our chins up and remember all the great moments we've had so far this season. That is why I'm posting this video. Hopefully there are more highlights to come!



Bonus Video! Here is a music video Union 's women's hockey team made. You get to see many different parts of campus.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tonight's Lineups vs. Colgate (Game 3)

Luke Cain & Justin Pallos
Union
Presizniuk - Zajac - Hatch
Sullivan - J. Simpson - W. Simpson
Carr - Welsh - Jooris
Buote - Pallos - Cain

Forgaard - Julseth-White
M. Bodie - Matheson
Coburn - Stuart

Kinkaid
Grosenick
Milan

Notes: Kevin Sullivan replaces Kyle Bodie on the second line while Luke Cain replaces Stephane Boileau on the fourth line. It makes some sense to me since Bodie and Boileau didn't play much of a factor during their time on the ice. Also, it's probably a good idea to have rested guys out there during a Game 3. Hopefully Cain can bring a physical presence to the ice.
Chris Wagner

Colgate
Firman - Day - Prockow
Bartliff - Smith - Brisebois
Mayer - Wagner - Bourdon
Rivellini - McCann - Nasca

Poplawski - Larkin
Price - K. McNamara
Leidl - McPherson

Mihalik
Evin
Bessette

Check out Ken Schott's pregame report (click here).

Videos From Last Night

Here are some videos I took before, during, and after Union's disappointing 4-2 loss last night to Colgate in Game 2 of the ECAC Quarterfinals.

That third period last night was one of the most uninspiring periods I've seen Union play in my four years. Now it's down to one game. The Dutchmen better clear their heads because tonight is going to be a wild one.

We will have the weekend recap once the series is over (remember Justin and I have finals, but we're doing our best!).





Saturday, March 12, 2011

Tonights Lineups vs. Colgate (Game 2)

Kelly Zajac
Union
Presizniuk - Zajac - Hatch
K. Bodie - J. Simpson - W. Simpson
Carr - Welsh - Jooris
Buote - Pallos - Boileau

Forgaard - Julseth-White
M. Bodie - Matheson
Coburn - Stuart

Kinkaid
Grosenick
Milan

Notes: Kyle Bodie replaces Kevin Sullivan on the Simpsons line tonight. Bodie usually plays with Buote/Pallos when Boileau is also in the lineup, but I guess Leaman liked the way The Professor played with Buote and Pallos last night.

Brian Day
Colgate
Firman - Day - Prockow
Bartliff - Smith - Brisebois
Mayer - Wagner - Bourdon
Rivellini - McCann - Nasca

Poplawski - Larkin
Price - McNamara
Sinz - McPherson

Mihalik
Evin
Bessette

Notes: Rivellini replaces the younger McNamara on the fourth line tonight.

Here's a video of the Dutchmen warming up about and hour and a half before the game starts. They were also yelling and throwing around a soccer ball to get ready.



Friday, March 11, 2011

Tonights Lineups vs. Colgate (Game 1)

Wayne Simpson
Union
Presizniuk - Zajac - Hatch
Sullivan - J. Simpson - W. Simpson
Carr - Welsh - Jooris
Buote - Pallos - Boileau

Forgaard - Julseth-White
M. Bodie - Matheson
Coburn - Stuart

Kinkaid
Grosenick
Milan

Notes: Julseth-White is back in the lineup after sitting out the final weekend of the regular season with an injury... Kyle Bodie is not in the lineup tonight even though he seems to score in every game he plays lately.

Robbie Bourdon
Colgate
Firman - Day (C) - Prockow
Bartliff - Smith - Brisebois (A)
Mayer - Wagner - Bourdon
J. McNamara - McCann - Nasca

Poplawski - Larkin
Price - K. McNamara (A)
Leidl - McPherson

Mihalik
Evin
Bessette

Notes: Colgate has six NHL draft picks in the lineup tonight, while Union has none... Jack McNamara (freshman)  and Kevin McNamara (junior) are brothers.

Check out Ken Schott's pregame report (click here).

ANOTHER Union Hockey Pump Up Video

Just received this nice video through Twitter from Hayley Bennett (the daughter of Associate Head Coach Rick Bennett). I really like how she adds a good amount of clips of the Union fans. Looks like everyone is getting into the Union spirit! Gotta love it! Here's the video:



And once again, if you haven't seen Phil Cohn's video that he made for the team and was nice enough to make it public here it is:



I'll throw this video I made quickly two weeks ago into the post just to make sure you are truly pumped up!



LET'S GO UNION!!!

ECAC Quarterfinals vs. Colgate Preview

Finally, the playoffs have arrived in Schenectady! This weekend the Dutchmen host the Colgate Raiders for a best-of-three series after the Raiders upset fifth-seed RPI in Troy last weekend. Union had a bye last week and used the time to recover from injuries and get ahead (or maybe catch up) on their schoolwork.

While the Raiders have been hot of late (6-3-1 in last 10 games) and are probably the best last-place team in the country, the Dutchmen are absolutely on fire. They haven't lost in 11 games (10-0-1), which is tied for the nation's longest unbeaten streak with Holy Cross, and are 14-1-1 in the winter term. Union has also been almost unbeatable at home this season going 15-1-2.

I think the Dutchmen saw what Colgate is made of this past weekend at RPI and won't let them succeed in the Capital Region for the second weekend in a row. It will definitely be a tough series, but Union is great at home so I have confidence that they won't lose twice in one weekend at Messa Rink.

So Union students, put down your study guides, leave the lab, and take a break from your thesis and come see the best team in Union Hockey history in their final weekend at Messa Rink this season. YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS THIS!!! Remember, the first 300 students get in free.

Here are some players to watch:

Colgate
Eric Mihalik: the freshman goaltender was outstanding in net last weekend at RPI where he made a combined 92 saves, including 40 saves in Game 3. He was named INCH's Player of the Week for his efforts. After going winless in his first 10 career starts, he's gone 6-3-1 in his last 10 starts. He was in goal for both losses to Union this year.
Francois Brisebois: the senior forward leads the team in scoring with 15 goals and 31 points, as well as power-play goals (6). He scored twice in Game 2 last weekend in Troy.
Austin Smith: led the Raiders with four points (1 goal, 3 assists) last weekend and has 10 career points in post-season play (6 goals, 4 assists). Smith it tied for the team lead with 20 assists and is second with 29 points. He currently has a four game point streak.
Robbie Bourdon: the sophomore is the only forward on the team besides Brisebois with double-digit goals (10). He scored the game-winning goal in double overtime in Game 3 last weekend, and has tallied a point in five of his past six games.

Union
Adam Presizniuk: in the playoffs your best player needs to play his best. Prezie is Union's best player and will be a major reason why Union advances or falls.
Keith Kinkaid: the same can be said about goaltending, which is arguably the most important thing in the playoffs. A hot goaltender can bring a team to a championship. Kinkaid is one of the best netminders in the country and if he catches fire who knows how far Union will go.
Daniel Carr: special teams is also extremely important in the playoffs. Carr is tied for the nation's lead in power-play goals, so he will be the go-to guy on Union's PP.
Andrew Buote & Justin Pallos: on the same note, penalty killing will be very important throughout the playoffs. Personally, Buote and Pallos are the two best penalty killers on the team and their leadership will be very important during the playoff run.
Mat Bodie: the younger Bodie is just one point away from breaking Mike Schreiber's '10 record for most points in a season by a defenseman (29).
Kelly Zajac: Zaj leads Union in scoring with 38 points, and has picked up 12 points (4 goals, 8 assists) in his past eight games. He will be featured in the game program this weekend (I wrote the feature story).

For more check out:
Union Athletics
Go Colgate Raiders.com
Daily Gazette - Ken Schott
Times Union - Sean Martin
Inside College Hockey

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Martin St. Louis' Spinning Shootout Goal

Last night Martin St. Louis pulled off this really cool shootout goal against the Blackhawks. Some are debating whether this should be counted as a goal since it looks like he stopped is forward motion. What do you think Union fans?

The reason why I am posting it is because St. Louis played in the ECAC with Vermont. He was a three-time Hobey Baker Award finalist and is Vermont's all-time leader in goals (91), assists (76), and points (267). St. Louis is a member of the ECAC 1990s All-Decade team and was named one of the ECAC's Top 50 players of all-time this year. Also, he was named the ECAC Rookie of the Year and then made First Team All-ECAC his next four years. In the NHL, he became the first former NCAA player to win the scoring title (2004). The list goes on...

The crazy thing is that he was never drafted... I think St. Louis proved everyone wrong.