Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cleary Cup Champs!

They say a picture can speak a thousand words:
Not Pictured: the 2010-2011 team passing the Cleary Cup to the 2011-2012 team
Of course, the AP hasn't rolled out this year's pictures of Union winning the Cleary Cup yet, but the fact that this picture exists should still make us happy enough.

Congratulations to the 2011-2012 Union Dutchmen: Cleary Cup Champions Two Years Running!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Your Daily Dose of Facepalm

Usually, we'd leave this little tidbit to a bullet point in the Dutchmen Details, but this is too much to leave out. There's faux "concerned citizen" outrage, then there's this.

A concerned reader asks Kristi Gustafson Bartlette, a writer for the Times Union, why the Union kids must insist on desecrating the national anthem.

...To which we reply:

A picture is worth a thousand collective groans.
Tip of the hat to Ryan -- @sheaciti 

Jeremy Welsh Interview 2/20/12

After weeks of delay, I was finally able to not flake out on an interview with my good friend, Jeremy Welsh. For those of you who don't know, Jeremy is a Hobey Baker candidate, tied for 4th in goals(20) and PP goals(9) for all of D1 college hockey, and an alternate captain for the Dutchmen. I sat down with Jeremy for about an hour in the fishbowl in reamer and got to ask him a few questions. The following link is to the 15 minute interview which includes a bit more insight than the transcription. 

Listen here.

As a kid growing up, did you have any favorite players?
I had a couple of favorite players. I was a big fan of Joe Sakic, Mike Modano, and Joe Thornton. Pavel Datsyuk more recently. I like watching him.

Did you have a favorite team growing up?
I grew up watching the Leafs every Saturday night unless I stayed up to watch the late game but I wouldn’t say I’m a Leafs fan. I don’t have a favorite team. I liked the Avalanche and the Wings, but I never had a favorite team.

I’m sure your goal has always been to play in the NHL but at what point did you realize it’s a possibility?
I guess you always hope it’s a possibility. Growing up you think you’ll definitely make it but around 16, 17, it turns into a pipe dream. When I was 20 and playing in Oakville, I had a good season and my coach started talking to me, telling me there were some NHL level scouts talking to him about me. At that point, I realized that if I put some good seasons together and improve, I might have a shot

Upon getting interest from scouts, do you have any team you’d especially like to be on?
As a college free agent, you get the luxury of choosing the best fit. For myself, whenever it’s time, whatever the best situation for me to play, no matter what city or whereabouts, it’s about the fit.

We non-athletes complain about schoolwork. How do you get it all done between traveling and practice?
Sticking together and working with you friends helps a lot. I’m in some courses by myself now and the workload is a lot tougher when you don’t have guys to share it with. We try to stick together to help out. The teachers are more willing to give extensions or change the workload. Early in the week, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, I really have to do a lot of work. From the time I wake up, it’s school, class, then hockey. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, you don’t really get to do any work. The 3-class semester here is a big thing. Other D1 athletes at other school where they have to take 5 classes, that has got to be even tougher.

What made you choose Union?
When I was making my decision, there were some other big hockey schools, but as I matured, I was able to look at the big picture. The education here is top notch. We’re ranked near the top 25. The education is something that is really important for the next 40 years of my life and the program has turned into an elite program. When I got here, we were kind of on the verge but I believed in the coaching staff and the program here and I really believed we were going to move into the upper elite teams in the ECAC and I think we have moved up in the county. The campus was also a selling point, seeing how beautiful it is. Nice people, everyone was easy going. It’s a nice vibe here.

You did not always play the style of hockey you do now. What made you change?
My ultimate goal has been to be a good pro hockey player. College hockey is time for development. In junior hockey, I was never too physical. I didn’t play the body too much. I was more of the playmaking center guy; get it into the zone and set it up. My freshman year, just to get into the line-up, I had to fore-check and finish hit. Coach Leaman wanted me to bang bodies so that’s what I did. Even now, it’s an important part of how the team plays. As a bigger guy, I understand. Coach Bennett has worked with me a lot. I have to use my size to my advantage to get to the next level. There are a lot of skilled guys and I don’t think I have high, high-end skill so I need to supplement that by using my size and being a power forward.

How do you explain the success of the power play?
It’s no secret, we have a couple plays, I’m sure other teams know them by now. We know where we’re supposed to be but a lot of our goals just kind of happen on breakdown situations. We have guys who are smart enough to read, guys who are smart enough to find the open spots. Coach Beale has done a really good job of working with us [on the power play]. In the end, if you put 5 good, talented guys on the ice, you’re going to have success. We’re hungry enough to go to the front of the net and do the things we need to do.

Do you have a specific pregame ritual?
I’ve loosened up a lot. My freshman year, I was pretty intense on the pregame rituals. We always eat around the same time and on the road, we’ll go back to the hotel and take a nap, 20 minutes, an hour, whatever you can get. Wake up, shower, and head up to the rink. We have a lot of small, little rituals at the rink between guys. When guys are getting dressed, they get dressed a certain way. Certain songs will go on, guys might have a quickly, little dance they want to do. Troy gets dressed before I get done warming up. He’s up and getting focused. We do a lot of team things, so everyone is involved together.

Would you say that Troy has been the biggest surprise on the team?
I wouldn’t say Troy is a surprise. I said this during media day at the start of the year. He was with us last year, he practiced, he worked his tail off every day and we knew he was good. We had Corey Milan, a top end goalie, and Keith, obviously [a top end goalie]. It’s pretty tough when you’re behind them. He knew he wasn’t going to be getting in but he worked his tail off. We had full confidence in him. He was a big recruit when he came in from the USHL. We’re not surprised in him at all. First in the country in all statistical categories might be a surprise. We’re definitely happy for him.

Do you hear chirps from the crowd and does the crowd have an effect on the game?
We don’t hear the chirps too much; those are more of one or two guys yelling unless there is a stopping in the play and the crowd echoes. The crowd is a huge part of our home-ice advantage. We hear the chants get going and definitely when there is a lul in the game, the fans get into it with a let’s go U. It definitely gets us pumped up. The goal song is pretty neat too. All the guys really like that.

What are the chirps like on the ice?
No one gets too personal. College hockey is pretty low key with the chirping since there is no fighting. Junior hockey used to have some good battles going on but college hockey is pretty easy on the chirps.

What was your highest moment at Union?
Fenway was a pretty neat experience. It wasn’t the same as winning the Cleary cup. We were just trying to soak it up at Fenway and it was a neat experience. Definitely, my best experience was the Cleary cup win and the run we went on last year, post Christmas, and getting the automatic bid for the first time, going to the tournament. That was a really neat experience, being the first team from Union to do that. Everyone who supports the program was really excited. There was a lot of hype about it. That was special. We had a special team. Looking towards Friday and this weekend, we’re excited to take that up a level. We’re looking to improve on that one cup.

Do any goals stand out in your mind?
I can remember scoring against Quinnipiac in that overtime playoff series in the Sunday game we clinched. I think it was the game winner in the third period. A rebound went up in the air and the net was there, I drove the net and tapped it in. That was probably the most excited I’ve been to score a goal.

I notice you’re not one to celebrate too much when you score a goal like some other guys. Why is that?
My mom always said she doesn’t like the hot dogs. The old motto is “act like you’ve scored before.” Sometimes when you see the other team fist pumping after they score it gives you a bit more motivation to beat them because you realize this game means a lot to them. Sometimes it gives the opponents a bit more if you act like you expect to score and expect to win.

If you have a day off with nothing to do, what would you like to be doing?
Now-a-days, during the winter, I’ll just hit the couch and watch some movies and some TV with the guys. Usually we don’t get a lot of that during the week. In the fall or the spring, I like to get out and get outside.

Wildcard: Least favorite candy bar and favorite holiday?
I’d be harder pressed to find my favorite candy bar. My favorite would be Kit-Kat, Oh Henry, or Aero bars. Christmas is always nice. In juniors you always get to go home for a couple of days so that’s awesome.

Thanks to Jeremy for taking time to hang out and answer some questions. Are there any other people you'd like to hear interviewed? Hopefully, I'll get a few more of these before the season ends. Stay tuned, we may have a series of interviews coming up soon. FEEDBACK IS APPRECIATED!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

This Past Weekend (2/17-18)

Union had another strong weekend, picking up all four possible points to give them a two point lead in the conference heading into the final week.

On Friday the Dutchmen faced Princeton. The last time these two teams met, Union blew a three goal lead in the third and walked away with a tie. This time things were different.

Union dominated the game from start to finish, outshooting the Tigers 60-18 highlighted by a 24-2 second period. Union ultimately won 3-0. Daniel Ciampini, Shayne Gostisbehere, and Josh Jooris scored the goals for Union, and Troy Grosenick recorded the shutout.

The following night was Senior Night, and the place was packed. The Dutchmen fed off of that energy and beat Quinnipiac 5-2. Greg Coburn, Daniel Carr, Kevin Sullivan, Jeremy Welsh, and Matt Hatch scored the goals for Union.

The big storyline of the game was the loss of Troy Grosenick. Grosenick left the game in the second period after re-injuring his ankle. There is no word yet on if he will be available for this week's games. Good news is Union has secured a first-round bye in the ECAC playoffs, so Grosenick will have the following week to rest up.

For full recaps check out these links:
Princeton at Union - Union Athletics
Quinnipiac at Union - Union Athletics

Right now Union is ranked 7th in the Pairwise Rankings. While the rankings are no guarantee, they are a pretty good indicator of seeding in the NCAA tournament. So right now Union is looking at a 2 seed. Again, while there are no guarantees, it really seems like the only way Union misses the tournament is if they lose all of their remaining games. Even then, there is a chance they could sneak their way in.

With Saturday's win Union has guaranteed themselves the second seed, at the very least, in the ECAC playoffs. A win next Friday against Cornell would clinch the Cleary Cup for the Dutchmen and the top seed.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Second Intermission Thoughts

- I feel like I just watched The Empire Strikes Back. After a strong first period for Union, Quinnipiac battled back. They killed all of Union's power plays and scored a goal to bring the score to 2-1. To keep the Star Wars analogy going, Troy Grosenick got injured in the period, reminiscent of Luke Skywalker losing a hand in the film. It's ok though. If I remember the trilogy correctly, one of their guys is gonna fall down a seemingly bottomless pit at the end of the next period. We might just settle for a win.

- There is no word yet if Grosenick's injury is related to the one that kept him out last week. Colin Stevens filled in for the remainder of the period, and looked good.

- For the stat nut:
Power Play - Union (1-for-6) Quinnipiac (1-for-5)
Shots on goal - Union 19 Quinnipiac 18
Faceoffs - Union 27 Quinnipiac 21 (Kelly Zajac 12-for-16 on the night)

- Third period should be a good one. Slim lead for the Dutchmen, and Quinnipiac looked like the better team in the 2nd. Union needs to come out strong and secure the win.

First Intermission Thoughts

- Dutchmen sporting the black Uniforms tonight. Love it when they wear these. I would also be interested in knowing their record when wearing them. This might just be wishful thinking, but I can't remember the last time they lost wearing them.

- Union did not outshoot Quinnipiac the way they did Princeton, but had better overall results as they finish the period up 2-0. (shots were 13-11 Union)

- Big story of the game tonight is Union's power play going up against Quinnipiac's penalty kill. Coming into the night Union's pp was ranked #4 in the nation, and Quinnipiac's pk was ranked #2. Union made it seem like a non-issue, though, scoring on their first power play attempt.

- Unfortunately for Union their next two pp attempts ended quickly as they took a penalty early in both. The silver lining, of course, is the fact that Union was able to tally a goal on their second 4-on-4 opportunity.

- Greg Coburn and Daniel Carr scored the goals for Union. Coburn scored on the first power play after a beautiful cross ice pass from Kyle Bodie. Carr scored on a 4-0n-4 opportunity. Carr gained possession of the puck behind the net, brought it out in front, a rifled in a shot for Union's second goal.

- A quick note on Union's penalty kill. They came into the night ranked #5 in the nation and showed why. Jeremy Welsh and Matt Hatch had outstanding plays for the Dutchmen on the penalty kill. Welsh stole the puck in a way that can only be described as taking candy from a baby. He then skated around in circles before Quinnipiac was able to apply pressure and force him to dump the puck down the ice. On the other end Hatch sped down to continue the pressure, and was able knock the puck away from the Quinnipiac players back to Union. Outstanding.

Game Time: Quinnipiac at Union

Senior Night at Messa Rink promises to be an exciting one as the Quinnipiac Bobcats (16-10-5 overall, 8-7-4 ECAC) take on the no. 8/8 Union Dutchmen (18-6-7, overall 12-3-4 ECAC).

Tonight's Lines
15 Matt Hatch - 19 Kelly Zajac (A) - 21 Wayne Simpson
26 Brian Yanovitch - 10 Mark Bennett - 11 Sam Coatta
9 Daniel Carr - 27 Jeremy Welsh (A) - 7 Josh Jooris
16 Kevin Sullivan - 12 Kyle Bodie - 17 Daniel Ciampini 

22 Mat Bodie - 28 Shawn Stuart
2 Nolan Julseth-White (C) - 4 Taylor Reid
14 Shayne Gostisbehere - 20 Greg Coburn

1 Troy Grosenick
30 Colin Stevens
31 Dillon Pieri

             Seniors are demarcated with bold.

20 Matthew Peca - 10 Connor Jones - 15 Kellen Jones
7 Ben Arnt - 19 Scott Zurevinski (C) - 12 Bryce Van Brabant
39 Clay Harvey - 13 Yuri Bouharevich - 44 Spencer Heichman (A)
9 Kevin Bui - 6 Cory Hibbeler - 14 Reese Rolheiser

25 Mike Glaicar (A) - 2 Mike Dalhuisen
4 Loren Barron - 23 Zack Currie
3 Zach Davies - 27 Zach Tolkinen

33 Eric Hartzell
35 Dan Clarke

Game Notes:
  • Quinnipiac is sporting gold jerseys, while Union wears the alternate black. 
  • Confusion on the right side of the bench? The Bobcats have three defenseman dressed tonight all named Zach(k). What would make this better if they were named Zac, Zach, and Zack. 
  • Confused yet? The Bobcats also have twin brothers. On the same line, Connor and Kellen Jones. Their line starts tonight.
  • Kellen is a draft pick of the Edmonton Oilers. Matthew Peca is a pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
  • As is custom, the Dutchmen will dress all their seniors tonight. Let's see if any can "pull a Jeff Christiansen."
  • The Dutchmen start the Hatch-Zajac-Simpson line, with Mat Bodie and Shawn Stuart on the blueline.
  • Troy Grosenick, coming off of an injury, is starting his second consecutive game.
  • The game will be broadcast locally on Time Warner Sports, Channel 3.
Check back between periods for updates, and of course, follow us on twitter.

A Salute to the Seniors

It's one of the few unsavory parts of college hockey: it can all seem to go by too fast. As Freshman (four years ago, yikes) we watched Taylor Reid, Brian Yanovitch, Nolan Julseth-White, and Kelly Zajac take to the ice for the first time. Now, as they gear up to play their last regular season game on home ice, we take a moment to salute a fantastic four years from players who have been integral members in the growth of the program.

#2 Nolan Julseth-White [stats]

#4 Taylor Reid [stats]

#19 Kelly Zajac [stats]

#26 Brian Yanovitch [stats]

Highlights: Union 3-Princeton 0

Messa Music

Frequently Heard At Messa
A gracious tip of the hat to frequent Facebook poster Ryan Fay, who shares this phenomenal compilation of music that plays during home games at Messa Rink. Thanks, Ryan!

You can view the entire playlist on YouTube here.

College Hockey Video of the Week: Like A Fox

On the last installment of our college hockey video of the week, we recapped a thrilling overtime winner from 1988 that saw Union beat a previously unbeatable RPI. Staying with the same genre, we fast forward to 2007...

We have to thank Union Superfan Will Friedman for jogging our memories. When news broke that Union had secured the #2 spot in the INCH power rankings, Will commented:

I still remember clearly the first time I saw Union as a team in the "others receiving votes" the USCHO Poll. I was sitting at one of the computers in Reamer right outside the bookstore and I nearly fell out of my chair (partially because of excitement, but partially because those chairs don't really have backs). Reaching the top 20 seemed impossible but we achieved that goal as well. To regular see this team ranked in the top 10 is nothing short of shocking. 
Just in the 5+ short years I have been rooting for this team, we have come a LONNNNG way. As I freshman, our lowly team beat #7 Clarkson and it was an unbelievable experience (see my excitement at 2:23). Now WE are that #7 team.

I had no interest in hockey until I came to Union. Now I'll be a Union Hockey Maniac for life. I'm all set to go to Atlantic City and I hope to travel all across the country to see Union's games in the national tournament. Still a long way to go though and a lot can change in these final two weeks. But regardless of that...
T.J. Fox left Union after the 2006-2007 season when he signed with the San Jose Sharks. Fox had 37 points in his final season (his sophomore campaign) with 13 goals and 24 assists. Fox had a successful run in two seasons with the AHL Worcester Sharks.

In the 2009-2010 season, he played four games for the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins (AHL) while splitting his time with the ECHL Wheeling Nailers.

Fox is currently playing for the Texas Brahmas of the CHL and has notched 38 points in 47 games. You can check out his full stats here.

Post-Game Recap 2/17/12

Neither Wolfman nor I could make it to the game last night. I asked my good friend and personal guru, Kevin Giron, to write last night's recap. Let 'em know what you think, sports fans.


Union Dominates Princeton 3-0

Lackadaisical is the word that comes to mind watching the warm up preceding the hockey match between Union College Hockey (17-6-7) and the Princeton University Tigers (7-12-6) on Friday night. In a season that lasts as long as that of a college hockey season, perhaps it’s not entirely unexpected. The difference between a winner and a loser, therefore, is determined during the game and not before.

1st Period

Whether it comes internally from each player or externally at the command of Coach Rick Bennett, the Dutchmen were clearly fired up at the start of the game. Jumping out to an early 7-1 advantage in shots the Union attack was typified by shift after shift that had Princeton’s defense scrambling around their zone hoping to tie up the Union forwards in the corners if only for a brief respite, on one occasion the Princeton defense needed to ice the puck for a breather as the entire line was hunched over hands on their knees. The most notable part of the first period aside from the sustained pressure by Union was both teams ability to avoid taking a penalty.

With rubber flying at him from all angles Princeton’s goalie Mike Condon should be considered the star of the first period, but the highlight save of the period belonged to his opposite number, Troy Grosenick when he sprawled in front and kicked out a leg to deny a high slot opportunity for one of Princeton's Defenseman. The period closed with Union leading (officially) 18-8 on shots and no score.

2nd Period

The start of the second period was more of the same in terms of Union’s offensive stranglehold on the game. The pressure finally paid off 1:53 into the second period when Kevin Sullivan went hard into a corner battle and passed the puck to Nolan Julseth-White at the blue line. Julseth-White took the puck hard to the net with a defenseman on his hip and tried to catch Condon off his post. Condon hugged the pipe and the puck was deflected back into the slot. Daniel Ciampini was the beneficiary of the loose puck, converting high to the glove side for his second goal of the season, and what would prove to be his first collegiate-career game-winning-goal. After the goal the game became more even and Princeton found a little bit of offensive zone time. When Union was threatening in the Princeton zone Kyle Bodie was called for a boarding penalty at 8:06, the official who made the call however was 120 feet away at the Union blue line, while the official a mere 10 feet away deemed the hit nothing to raise his arm over. The Princeton powerplay was the most threatening they looked the entire game, and would be the only time they would have a shot for the period; but between quick stick checks in front of the net, blocked shots at the hash marks, and flashing leather in the crease, the Union penalty kill was successful. Union was put on the powerplay twice in the period at 10:29 and 18:29 (a penalty which would carry into the third) but neither bore fruit. The horn at the end of the period left a shot clock that showed Union leading 42-10.

3rd Period

While the powerplay that carried over from the end of the second period ticked away it seemed that Union might lose some of its swagger and allow Princeton an opportunity to cling to life. Any chance of Princeton picking up momentum however was crushed when Shayne Gostisbehere wristed a seemingly harmless chance towards Condon which floated through his five hole and into the side netting. The chance came off of a pass from Kelly Zajac who further extended his Union College career assist record to 87 and set a single season assist record with 30. When Princeton’s Andrew Ammon took a double minor at 4:39 for tripping and roughing (both against Gostisbehere and one after another) it seemed to signal the end for Princeton who could not develop any sort of consistent attack, and would face four minutes a man down. Although Union did not score on the extended man advantage, they were able to further establish offensive zone time and wear out the Princeton players. With two more penalties for Princeton at 10:16 and 14:52 Union was able to spend a lot of time resting and cycling through players with little fear of allowing a shorthanded opportunity. At 16:02 Greg Coburn was called for boarding while Union was still on the powerplay, again a very questionable call as it appeared that the Princeton skater simply locked feet with Coburn while close to the boards. After this call was made, Princeton took a timeout to follow up an offensive zone faceoff, after the timeout the Princeton net was empty to make way for an extra skater. When their penalty expired Princeton had a brief 6-4, when it amounted to nothing it was Union who ultimately capitalized on the stick of Josh Jooris after an outlet pass from Mat Bodie at 18:36. The empty netter was the final tally of the game which capped off Groesnick’s single season record setting 5th shutout. The final shots read 60-18 meaning Union averaged a shot a minute.


Powerplay: Despite Union’s nearly 10:00 of powerplay time and 17 powerplay shots they scored zero times on the man advantage… Permissible when they won 3-0.

Zajac: There is a reason this kid has the single season and career Union College assist record, it’s because he knows what he is doing with the puck, and he displayed it again tonight.

Gostisbehere: Quickly becoming the attention of local media and probably grabbing the interest of a few big time scouts that have been seen in the seats of Messa Rink.

Ciampini: Talk about a kid that knows when to show up. For a second career goal it was well chosen. Following the final whistle Dan was also the target of Princeton’s Jeremy Goodwin’s anger when he was cheapshotted at the Princeton blue line. The ensuing scrum resulted in a Goodwin disqualification, meaning he will not see the ice against RPI, a moment which capped off the Princeton frustration at being dominated by the Dutchmen.

Grosenick: No signs of a lower body injury tonight, this guy brought his “A” game.

Union: Currently on a 6 game unbeaten streak and ranked number 7 in the PairWise Ranking, which are the ones that matter for the Frozen Four. If Union wins two of their remaining three games they will clinch the Cleary Cup for the second straight season, following Cornell’s tie at Saint Lawrence University tonight. If Cornell wins the rest of their game and we win two of our remaining three we will share the title.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Union #2 in INCH Rankings

It becomes surprisingly easy to grow unimpressed with high rankings after a prolonged stretch near the top. For schools like Cornell, Boston University, or Minnesota this is old hat. With success comes inevitable apathy: until a team starts slipping in the standings, it is the fan's wont to become complacent, if not unaware of his team's place in the pecking order.

With Union's ascension to the rarified air of the college hockey polls, Dutchmen fans are caught in a precarious position. The team's success is far too new to play off with a shrug or a dismissive "what have you done for me lately?" Every win is an exciting new opportunity for fans to grow alongside their team. Still, with success comes the inevitable complacency. That's why any fan in need of a reminder of the team's place in the hockey universe should check out this week's new INCH (Inside College Hockey) power rankings poll:

Let's deconstruct this for a moment. Three years ago, hell, even last year, if someone had predicted that Union would be ranked higher than the reigning national champions, we would have laughed it off. Our Union hockey?

By no means is this poll permanent, nor is it meaningful in terms of the NCAA tournament. But something else is happening here: something far more visceral. We feel a collective swell of accomplishment when the block "U" next is positioned next to the number 2. Enjoy this, Union Hockey. You deserve it.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Game Time: Union at Dartmouth

The #11/11 Dutchmen (16-6-7 overall, 10-3-4 ECAC) take on the Dartmouth Big Green (9-10-4 overall, 6-7-3 ECAC) tonight at Thompson Arena in Hanover.

Dartmouth Big Green

21 Nick Walsh - 14 Doug Jones - 19 Eric Robinson
13 Mark Goggin - 16 Tyler Sikura - 11 Eric Neiley
15 Jason Bourgea - 17 Jesse Beamish - 18 Brandon McNally
8 Troy Mattila - 29 Alex Goodship - 25 Paul Lee

27 Mike Keenan (not the coach) - 3 Connor Goggin
4 Jim Gaudet (he is the coach's son, however) - 5 Taylor Boldt
23 Rick Pinkston - 7 Dan Nycholat

1 Jody O'Neill
30 James Mello
33 Cab Morris

9 Daniel Carr - 27 Jeremy Welsh (A) - 7 Josh Jooris
15 Matt Hatch - 19 Kelly Zajac (A) - 21 Wayne Simpson
23 Cole Ikkala - 18 Max Novak - 11 Sam Coatta
16 Kevin Sullivan - 12 Kyle Bodie - 17 Daniel Ciampini

22 Mat Bodie - 28 Shawn Stuart
20 Greg Coburn - 14 Shayne Gostisbehere
2 Nolan Julseth-White (C) - 4 Taylor Reid

30 Colin Stevens
1 Troy Grosenick
31 Dillon Pieri

Game Notes

  • Mark Bennett is out, so Max Novak takes his spot on the energy line. Daniel Ciampini takes the spot of Trevor Mingoia. This is becoming quite standard for Coach Bennett; there are a few spots that are more or less proving grounds for some players. Charlie "Tuna" Vasaturo is replaced by Taylor Reid tonight.
  • No Troy Grosenick still; the Man with the Golden GAA is still shelved after an ankle injury that kept him out of the lineup last weekend. Dillon Pieri makes the trip as a backup. 
  • Colin Stevens gets his third straight start. His third consecutive start should help ease any lingering butterflies from last weekend. Stevens is immensely talented, so some consistency might help him improve on his previous performance
  • Jody O'Neill gets the start for Dartmouth. Last time Union played Dartmouth, Cab Morris started. 
Kelly Zajac scores on the first shot of the game, Kyle Bodie connected soon after to make it 2-0. O'Neill is out, replaced by old Union nemesis James Mello.

Follow Along

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Dutchmen Details: Zajely Advice

Welcome to the Dutchmen Details, where we scour the internet for Union Hockey related news so you don't have to!
Kelly Zajac: all-time assists leader
and the subject of a terrible pun.
  • Congratulations to Wayne Simpson and Shayne Gostisbehere, who won the ECAC player of the week and rookie of the week awards, respectively. 
  • Wayne capped a great week with two goals against Colgate and one against Cornell. He also added an assist against the Raiders.
  • Gostisbehere, lovingly referred to as "Ghost" by Head Coach Rick Bennett, and "Ghostbuster" by our own Mike Rivkin, continued his stellar freshman campaign. Via 
On Saturday night against Cornell, Gostisbehere matched a school record for assists in a conference game with four on the night.
    The ECAC website has the fancy type and all that jazz
  • While we're on the topic of self-promotion, be sure to check out UHB's very own Evan Slavit's Concordiensis articles every week. They provide stellar insights and recaps. Also, we know that he's still floating somewhere in the vicinity of Cloud Nine after his Giants won the Super Bowl. 
  • Freshman Mark Bennett may not have been as happy with the outcome. Kevin Sullivan probably felt differently
  • Hey, we're not done with self promotion. Welcome to our newest member of the team, Mike Rivkin. Check out his recaps from this weekend. He's already gotten more comments than the rest of us. 
  • Colin Stevens got some ink in the Times Union after Friday's win against Colgate.
  • Ken Schott has some post-game video from Friday  and more from Saturday night.
  • Union moves up in the national polls to #11 in both the and USAToday editions. More importantly, Union is now tied for #10 in the Pairwise rankings with Notre Dame. That means, of course, were the season to end today, Union would be in the good graces of the NCAA bid-givers. 
  • Union is now 16-6-7 overall and 10-3-4 in ECAC play.
  • Boston University is at the top of the rankings
  • Congratulations again to Senior Kelly Zajac, who passed Adam Presizniuk to become Union's all time assist leader in the Division I era. He also has an 11-game point streak going.
  • And oh yeah, he scored that game tying goal to send Messa Rink (filled with 2,507 fans) into a frenzy on Saturday night. Not a bad weekend. 
  • And finally, Daniel Carr wins our Tweet of the Day award, Super Bowl edition:

    Vote: Union Hockey 7th Player Award

    The athletic department announced its annual 7th Player Award campaign yesterday. Per Union's media guide:
    Courtesy Union Athletics
    [The trophy] is presented to the Union College Hockey Player recognized by the fans as an individual who, with extra effort and skill, consistently creates excitement and aggressive play, resulting in a team advantage.
     The voting is open to everyone through February 26th. There will also be something called paper balloting (is that a thing?) during the last home series of the regular season February 17-18 against Princeton and Quinnipiac.

    You can vote here.

    Previous winners:

    • 2006: Augie DiMarzo
    • 2007: T.J. Fox
    • 2008: Matt Cook
    • 2009: Mike Harr
    • 2010: Mario Valery-Trabucco
    • 2011: Adam Presizniuk

    Monday, February 6, 2012

    In Which We Tenuously Connect Hockey To Football

    One of the tried-and-true traditions of the Super Bowl -- ahem, sorry Big Game (copyright issues, you know?) -- remains the commercials. This this gem from Budweiser has been making the rounds.

    This isn't fabricated. You can see more here. If this isn't the nicest thing you've seen all day, just look at the players' mismatched socks.

    So maybe there can't be confetti or a giant chicken at Messa Rink. But for those collegiate players, the presence of over 2,000 screaming fans might suffice. Hockey is a labor of love, after all. There's a reason players of all ages and skill levels brave obscenely early practices and ungodly late ice times. There may not be a direct Union connection here, but hey, sometimes hockey transcends boundaries. It can even make its way into a football game.*

    *Speaking of which, how 'bout that game, eh?

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    Sunday, February 5, 2012

    Post-Game Recap 2/4/12

    Union and Cornell Tie 4-4

    As it has become tradition, I consulted Phil Cohn (correction, team video coordinator) for the Cornell scouting report going into the game yesterday. Cornell's goalie, Andy Iles, has played every minute of every game, only leaving in favor of an empty net. Iles leads the ECAC in time played. On our end, Kelly Zajac was one assist away from the Union D-1 all time assist record. But, enough with individuals. This game was particularly important given the standings. There was a little less pressure on the Dutch after Cornell's tie last night but winning against Cornell would mean Union would pull away from the pack (5 points ahead of #2 Cornell). Between Zajac's record and the standings, this game had a lot riding on it.

    First Period
    Like last night, Union had a bit of slow start. A burst of physical play by Cornell lead to a 2-1 which Stevens could not stop. Like Friday, Union started the game down 1-0. The game went on with chippy, back and forth play. As Union starting to get there feet moving, Cornell got called for tripping at 11:06. With several opportunities, Cornell's goalie, Iles, came up big, keeping Union off the board until none other than Kelly Zajac feeded Wayne Simpson with a beautiful pass to the low slot. Simpson took a quick one timer and with that, Zajac became Union's all time assist leader and thus, tied it all up 1-1 (secondary assist to Kyle Bodie). Not long after that, Union was put on another power play after a hooking call. Zajac, clearly not feeling content with just being 1 assist above the record, drew the goalie out of position and fed Kyle Bodie the gift wrapped present of an empty net. 2-1 Union. After those two goals, Union continued to control play but were unable to get another past Iles. Union led shots 12-7.

    Second Period
    The first 6 minutes of this period was solid back and forth hockey with chances at each end. The back and forth paid off for Cornell when a backhand shot from around the faceoff dot sailed over Stevens' shoulder to even it up. Zajac almost scored a rebuttal on a delayed penalty. Unfortunately when Cornell gained possession and our powerplay began, a soft elbowing call on Kyle Bodie evened the teams up at 4. Neither team was able to capitalize during their short power play time. On Cornell's first shot after scoring, a point shot ricocheted to a Cornell forward's stick who buried the shot while Stevens was out of position. The following shot on Stevens also went in after he was screened. 3 goals on 3 shots. Cornell up 4-2. Union, showing signs of fight, came back with a goal from Gostisbehere, who's shot from the left point beat a screened Iles. 4-3 Cornell.

    Third Period
    Back and forth play, with chances each way resulted in near misses for each team. Cornell overtook Union in SOG in the third. The officiating, which had been questionable for most of the game, came to a boiling point for the fans by the 13 minute mark where countless icings were waved off and several offsides were called as Union was attempting to enter the zone. Whether this was a result of frustrated play by Union or blown calls is up for debate. In my opinion, it was this inconsistency in calls that resulted in a hurt Cornell player, as a waved off icing drove Welsh and a Cornell player to come rushing to a puck in the corner after gaining a lot of speed, resulting in a clean but awkward collision. With 3 minutes to go, Hatch capitalized on a defensive lapse but was stopped by Iles. By this point, the stadium was buzzing. At around the 18 minute mark, Gostisbehere entered the offensive zone, got the puck to Wayne Simpson, who drew Iles out of position, passed the puck to Zajac, who emphatically shot the puck in the empty net. 4-4 and the stadium goes wiiilllddd. Cornell almost spoiled our fun after a shot just inside the blue awkwardly hit Stevens and just floated over the crossbar. And we're headed to overtime.

    Overtime (Italics for tension)
    Union had control early in the period but, alas, 5 minutes was not enough to decide the game. Zajac had a shot go wide and Coburn cleaned up a big rebound off Stevens who was out of postion but there weren't too many opportunities for either team. The game ending in a 4-4 tie that felt almost like a win.

    Union and Cornell tie 4-4


    For what it's worth, when the game ended, I was not upset with a tie. Coming out with a point after that second and third period felt like a small victory. Personally, I was happy that we were able to tie it up since Cornell ALSO tied RPI on Friday after a blown lead. Someone should tell those guys to play hockey better.

    -Kelly Zajac: The now Union leader in all time assists had an awesome 3 point night. Definitely the first star. The kids behind me would not stop talking about "his older brother on the Devils." Freshman.
    -Shayne Gostisbehere (Ghostbuster): Jeez louise, this guy did NOT play like a freshman. Talk about a defenseman with a ton of offensive upsides. Ghostbuster did a great job of setting up plays by gaining the offensive zone and allowing the team to set up their system. My only caveat is that he did lose the puck in the defensive zone after a failed dangle. I'm really excited to see him next year.
    -Daniel Carr and Josh Jooris: These guys never give up. They skate hard and can easily create momentum for this team, especially when we're down goals.
    -Jeremy Welsh: He threw around the body, gained the offensive zone, got shots on goal, and won faceoffs. That's what you need out of a center. He also got some silky smooth dangles in there. Good work, buddy.
    -Early on, Welsh threw a hip check that just barely connected but still send the Cornell player flying. Later on, Bodie showed the crowd what a textbook open ice hip check looked like. Let's see if Welsh took notes. If you're looking to see what the new bread of defensemen in the NHL look like, look no further than Mat Bodie.
    -The third period was delayed a few minutes due to an ice malfunction. Eventually, they brought out a fire extinguisher and got it all sorted out.

    The Crowd
    This was one of the loudest games I've ever been at. The Cornell Big Red (dumb name), brought out their candy-cane pep band. We started out with a "we found waldo" (see picture) chant before the game started. Their tradition for the star spangled banner is to yell "and the rocket's RED glare" to which we responded with a well timed "sucks". Perfect. Some other good chrips included yelling "NERDS" whenever the Cornell Red entered the zone next to the student section and standard goalie harassment.

    Saturday, February 4, 2012

    Game Time: Cornell at Union

    Cornell (8-3-4 ECAC, 11-6-5 Overall) at Union (10-3-3 ECAC, 16-6-6 Overall)
    Messa Rink at Achilles Center, Schenectady, NY.

    After a big win last night against the ever-dangerous Colgate Raiders, the Union Dutchmen take the ice for the second time in two days against their closest competitor in the ECAC standings: Cornell. Union is a full three points ahead of the Big Red in the ECAC standings.

    Colin Stevens, Nisky Native!
    Tonight's Lines:

    15 Matt Hatch - 19 Kelly Zajac (A) - 21 Wayne Simpson
    16 Kevin Sullivan - 12 Kyle Bodie - 29 Trevor Mingoia
    9 Daniel Carr - 27 Jeremy Welsh (A) - 7 Josh Jooris
    23 Cole Ikkala - 10 Mark Bennett - 11 Sam Coatta

    22 Mat Bodie - 28 Shawn Stuart
    2 Nolan Julseth-White (C) - 6 Charlie Vasaturo
    14 Shayne Gostisbehere - 20 Greg Coburn

    30 Colin Stevens
    31 Dillon Pieri
    1 Troy Grosenick (probable, injured)


    • Kevin Sullivan slides back into the lineup, replacing Dan Ciampini, who got some well-deserved playing time last night. 
    • Charlie "Tuna" Vasaturo* takes Taylor Reid's spot on the blue line.
    • Colin Stevens, who played brilliantly last night, gets the start with Grosenick shelved for a second straight night. Remember when goaltending was supposed to be an issue for the Dutchmen?
    • Trevor Mingoia takes Max Novak's spot on the second line.
    • Other than the Kyle Bodie line, which will occasionally feature the likes of Novak and Ciampini in place of Sullivan and Mingoia, Coach Bennett has solidified his lines. The Carr-Welsh-Jooris line is a given, as is the well constructed Hatch-Zajac-Simpson iteration. However, a big reason for Union's success is their depth--something that can't be overstated. Coach Bennett lauds the "energy line" of Ikkala-(Mark) Bennett-Coatta, and for good reason. 
    • Tonight's game has been virtually sold out since Thursday. Expect a raucous crowd tonight at Union's home ice. 
    *If that's not a nickname for Vasaturo, let's make it one.

    Game Highlights: Colgate at Union

    Post-Game Recap 2/3/12

    Union defeats Colgate 3-1

    As I walked to Messa rink last night, I did not understand the kind of battle this game was going to be. I spoke with Phil Cohn (the student manager) just prior to the game, who told me about Colgate's 6-4 220 behemoth captain, Corbin McPherson and how they have the nation's leading goal scorer, Austin Smith (26g, 27gp). On top of that, Phil alerted me that our own Troy Grosenick, the nation's leading goaltender, would be sitting tonight in favor of our back-up, albiet strong back-up, Colin Stevens. This game was going to be no walk in the park.

    First Period
    Right after puck drop, you could see that Union did not get a good jump out of the gates. The defense did not play all that well in the opening minutes. Colgate, on the other hand, came out swinging. I suppose they smelled fresh meat when they saw that Troy was not in goal. The Union defense allowed Colgate offensive zone freedom, and worse, let the forwards get past them. It only took 2 shots on goal before Colgate's Mark Nasca scored on a stuff-in. Stevens seemed to have a tough time getting into a rhythm, putting himself in dangerous positions, but once he had about 9 shots on him, he closed the door. Despite only getting a few shots off at this point, a duo you get used to hearing over the PA in Messa rink evened it up. Welsh (19) from Carr at 11:52 with Coburn picking up the secondary assist. By the end of the period, Union looked like they finally had their feet under them.

    Second Period
    The second period started with both teams working hard. This first noteworthy event was a familiar sight: a Hatch breakaway. Unfortunately, he hit post. 17:30 left in the second, and we're still tied, and tied we shall stay. The aforementioned behemoth, McPherson took a boarding call not long after the breakaway. Two things became apparent after this call: Union's physical play stepped up to a point in which the Colgate forwards seemed more concerned about not getting hit, than keeping the puck and the confidence of Colin Stevens, who controlled rebounds and began to catch pucks out infront of him was at a high. This strong play was needed as Colgate would go on the PP from a Coburn holding call. Colgate spent virtually the entire PP in their offensive zone but Colin Stevens came up big several times to keep it even. Union was able to make the SOG more even this period after being outshot greatly in the first.

    Third Period
    In a game as important as this one, I was not comfortable going into the third tied. While Union controlled play in the second, it only takes one bad defensive lapse and Colgate could have the lead. Luckily, there was no such lapse.
    Only a minute and a half in and Union went on the powerplay (slashing). Jooris beat the goalie but could not beat the post. Not long after this heart-breaker, Wayne Simpson (14) scored on the power play. In such a tight game, this goal meant everything. In hard working form, Union did not turtle after this goal. A 2-1 game with 10 minutes left is a game you can still lose. Although Union was put on the power play nearly 11 minutes in, Austin Smith, the nation's leader in short handed goals, was absolutely robbed of a shorty at point blank when Colin Stevens flashed the leather, keeping the Dutch on top. In the end, after the first goal let in, Stevens made 20 straight saves and was one of the stars on the ice. In the final 5 minutes, play was back and forth, with Austin Smith cherry picking at the blue line and our own fair share of opportunities. With each team taking time outs with between a minute and 30 seconds left, Colgate's goalie was pulled in favor of an extra skater. In a game where Union completely dominated faceoffs, a big defensive zone win lead to Simpson's (15) second of the night, and empty net goal to seal the deal.


    -Mat Bodie: I couldn't count the amount of times he came up big in the defensive zone. On a team that prides itself on hard work and consistency, Mat Bodie was the epitome of just that.
    -Kelly Zajac and Shayne Gostisbehere: Zajac Almost had a Datsyukian, highlight reel assist late in the third and Gostisbehere had what is being referred to as "the silkiest dangle ever seen at a Union game." Maybe I'll throw some video up!
    -Jeremy Welsh, Nolan Julseth-White, & Shawn Stuart: A lot of BIG clean hits. They had Colgate scared. Stuart with the hit of the night, utterly annihilating Austin Smith.
    -Austin Smith (leading the league in just about everything if I haven't already made that clear) was about as irrelevant in this game as he was trying to play goalie in the empty net right before Wayne-o scored. What an sieve.
    -Union beat Colgate on faceoffs something like 45-15. That's how you win games.
    -People seemed to think that there were a lot of missed calls in the first. The refs let the kids play.
    -The more shots Stevens got under his belt, the better he became. Grosenick is a game time decision tonight against Cornell and if Stevens is in net, I would not feel nearly as nervous as I did going into last night's game.
    -Speaking of Cornell, guess who TIED RPI last night after blowing a 2-0 lead? If you guessed Cornell, well, it was pretty obvious given the lead in.
    -Guess who got a shout out from Pierre McGuire on NBC sports last night? If you guessed Union, once again, it was kind of obvious.

    Big night tonight against Cornell. A win tonight will keep us in the top spot in the conference and give us a bit more breathing room.

    This is my first post on the UHB and surely won't be my last. Evan, Justin, and (Wolfman) Zach are all graduating next year so I was brought on board to learn the ropes before shouldering the weight of the world famous UHB. I'll be doing interviews, the occasional game recap (if Zach misses a game), and whatever else falls my way. Let me know if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions in the comment area. I'm very excited to keep this blog running strong.