Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dutchmen Meet the Media

by Ryan Fay

The 18th-ranked Union Dutchmen host the 16th-ranked Dartmouth Big Green tomorrow at 7:30 pm on the NBC Sports Network.

Before Thursday's practice, defenseman Mat Bodie, head coach Rick Bennett, goaltender Troy Grosenick, and forward Daniel Carr met with the local media. To see what they had to say about the game (and more), watch the videos below.

If you can't see the embedded players, click here to watch.

Q&A with Dartmouth associate head coach Dave Peters

by Ryan Fay

#18 Union (6-4-3, 13-8-4) returns to action tomorrow night at 7:30 pm when #16 Dartmouth (7-5-1, 11-7-2) comes to Messa Rink for a nationally televised game on the NBC Sports Network.

The two teams enter tomorrow's game tied for third place in the ECAC with 15 points apiece. Union will be looking for their fourth in a row and both teams are aiming to solidify a spot in the top four with eyes on a first round bye in the league playoffs.

To get the other side of the story, I interviewed Dave Peters, the associate men's hockey head coach at Dartmouth. A college hockey veteran with over two decades of coaching experience, he's currently in his 14th season on the Big Green staff.

Peters offers thoughts on the game, what he saw from Union in November, and some of his players who could be factors.

UNION HOCKEY NEWS (UHN): If someone is seeing Dartmouth for the first time tomorrow, what type of team will they see?

DAVE PETERS (DP): We're a big team, we play hard, and try to keep the game simple. We try to get pucks deep, we try to get pucks to the net, and we try to get our forecheck going. We try to play really good tough defense and try to keep the puck out of our zone. We like to transition and get pucks behind the opposition's defense and work it low.

UHN: What were your impressions of Union when you beat them, 3-2, at your place on November 10th?

DP: We were very impressed with their team and have been the past few years. Union has a lot of talent, they're very well coached, and they have an excellent powerplay. Their whole defensive core is good, but the thing that impresses me the most is they have three defensemen who remind me of the "big three" on the Montreal Canadiens from way back (Larry Robinson, Guy LaPointe, Serge Savard). To have a defenseman on the ice at probably all times that can get you out of a jam, move the puck, control the play, and add to the offense is what sets Union apart.

Even though they lost Jeremy Welsh and Kelly Zajac, who were really good players, Union has a good group of forwards. Wayne Simpson, Kyle Bodie, and Daniel Carr have put up great numbers this year. They have a Hobey Baker caliber goaltender in Troy Grosenick. It's talent and depth at all positions and that's what is really impressive.

UHN: Your leading scorer, Tyler Sikura, was good as a freshman last year (25 pts, 33 games) but looks to be even better this year (25 pts, 20 games). What makes him dangerous?

Sikura (Dartmouth)
DP: He's a player you can play in all situations. He's killing penalties, he's on the powerplay, and he plays a regular shift. He's a very good offensive player and has an excellent hockey sense. Sometimes you have a playmaker who isn't a goal scorer, but he can also score. He has a tremendous release on his shot and his skating and strength have both improved over last year. That's given him a little more confidence.

UHN: How important is it to have a healthy Dustin Walsh (7 g, 6 a) back in the lineup?

Walsh, a senior, was a sixth round pick of the Montreal Canadiens in 2009 and has battled injuries throughout his Dartmouth career. He recently missed three games, but he returned last weekend and had two goals an assist.

DP: It's really important for us because he's such a talented player. What it does is give us another forward who can score goals and make plays. It takes pressure off Sikura, Matt Lindblad (9 g, 14 a), and Eric Robinson (team-leading 10 goals), who have led our team all year. To add Walsh to that group is another player who can help us offensively.

UHN: After losing a couple senior goaltenders last year (James Melo, Jody O'Neill), junior Cab Morris has stepped up and has a 1.99 goals against average and a .922 save percentage in 12 games. What can you say about his play?

DP: Morris has been very good and consistent. He has given us a chance to win almost every night out and has a tremendous work ethic. He's very prepared on and off the ice and he practices hard.

UHN: Freshman Charles Grant has also seen a healthy amount of time in goal (8 games) and has quickly posted solid numbers (2.61 GAA, .908 save %). How much of a luxury is it when you have two goaltenders  you feel comfortable starting?

DP: It's been good. With Melo and O'Neill playing so much throughout their careers, goaltending was a bit of an unknown for us going into the year. Grant has also done a very good job and has given us a chance to win when he has played. We feel like we have confidence in both goaltenders. We have a third goaltender, James Kruger, who hasn't had an opportunity to play. But we're high on him and feel like he's right there as well.

UHN: Are all your guys healthy going into the game?

DP: We lost Brandon McNally (6 g, 5 a) in the Brown game (January 18th). He's not going to be available for us this weekend.

UHN: How would you say your club has been playing leading up to tomorrow's game?

DP: We've been a little inconsistent. But we like our team and feel we've been playing solid hockey.

UHN: Your squad is the least penalized team in the ECAC, so how important is that considering Union's powerplay is best in the country?

DP: It's really important. You have to stay out of the box, play with discipline, and limit the powerplay opportunities. We've done a good job of that this year and hope to continue that.

UHN: What are a couple other keys to the game from your end?

DP: We have to play with confidence. We're playing in an opposing building, so we have to keep the game simple, play our system, and be good defensively. We have to get pucks behind their defense and play the game in their end. We need to get pucks and traffic to the net. That's what we call playing the right way, and if we do that, we should have a chance.

Can't make it to the game? Find your local NBC Sports Network channel.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Q&A with Tri-City Storm head coach / GM Josh Hauge

by Ryan Fay

Josh Hauge, head coach and general manager of the Tri-City Storm of the United States Hockey League, has an interesting connection to the Union men's hockey team.

Not only is he coaching a player set to come next season, Michael Vecchione, he's also coaching a player that left the program, Trevor Mingoia.

Vecchione, who had a powerplay goal and two assists in last night's 5-2 win over Sioux City, has 37 points (14 g, 23 a) in 40 games this season.

Since departing Union, Mingoia has 22 points (2g, 20 a) in 29 contests, including an assist on Vecchione's goal last night.

On Wednesday, I conducted a phone interview with Hauge and asked him about both players and more.

UNION HOCKEY NEWS (UHN): For those who may not know, how good is the talent level in the USHL?

JOSH HAUGE (JH): It's the best 16-to-20 year olds in the country who aren't in college hockey. It's the top tier in United States junior hockey and a great league.

UHN: What are the benefits of playing in the USHL prior to college hockey?

JH: A player gets to be bigger, stronger, and faster. A player can really develop and mature. He finds out what it takes to manage his time and live away from home.

UHN: What kind of player has Vecchione been for you the past couple years?

Hauge (Tri-City Storm)
JH: The thing the fans notice is just how good of a skater he is. He's extremely fast, plays at a fast pace, and has a natural ability to score goals.

UHN: Vecchione has eight more points in nine fewer games than he did last year. What's behind the improvement?

JH: He's really developed as a player. He has a confidence now that he can score at this level. Statistically, he's improved a lot but his overall game has also improved by a lot... areas like his defensive play, his ability to block shots, play tough, and do the little things.

UHN: What's the biggest thing Vecchione will need to improve on at the college level?

JH: He needs to get that confidence right away that he can score at the collegiate level. It's a big adjustment for any player. But if he goes in there and plays confident, he'll be able to make a difference right away.

UHN: When Mingoia left Union, how did he end up in Tri-City?

JH: There were rumors that he was leaving school and we called some different people. I called the coaching staff at Union and they said they were talking but hadn't heard anything officially. The Union coaching staff was great through the whole process in helping us get Mingoia here. Even though [Union] didn't work out for him, I respect the way they took care of their player.

UHN: What have been your impressions of Mingoia since he joined your club?

JH: He's a great skater and he plays fast. I think he's learning to play a little tougher and a little harder than he did in college hockey. He'll be more successful the second time wherever he ends up next year.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Updates on Future and Former Dutchmen - Feb 2013

by Ryan Fay

It's time for the monthly look at how some former and future Dutchmen are doing for their current teams. This list will be updated once per month through the end of the season. 

With the first of the month falling on Friday, a Union gameday, I'm putting this up here a little early.

You can always find this list via the "future/former Dutchmen updates" link at the top of the page.


D Nolan Julseth-White (Las Vegas, ECHL) - 2 G / 14 A / 16 PTS / 37 GM
>>> Spent 1/19-1/27 with San Antonio (AHL) - 0 G / 0 A / 4 GM
>>> Captain of program's 2012 Frozen Four team.

G Keith Kinkaid (Albany, AHL) - 2.36 GAA / .917 SAVE % / 26 GM
>>> His 37 wins rank second in Union's D1 era (Kris Mayotte - 46)
Welsh (

F Trevor Mingoia (Tri-City, USHL) - 2 G / 19 A / 21 PTS / 28 GM
>>> Left Union in sophomore year on 10/24/12

F Mario Valery-Trabucco (Augsburg, DEL) - 4 G / 9 A / 13 PTS / 31 GM

>>> Ended Union career as program's D1 era leader in goals (59)

F Jeremy Welsh (Charlotte, AHL) - 6 G / 7 A / 13 PTS / 40 GM
>>> Also spent one game (1/22) with Carolina (NHL) - 0 points
>>> One of 9 members of Union's D1 era 100 point club (100 points)

F Kelly Zajac (Albany, AHL) - 2 G / 1 A / 3 PTS / 6 GM
>>> Also spent time this season with Trenton (ECHL) - 4 G / 5 A / 12 GM
>>> Finished Union career second in points (128) in program's D1 era (Adam Presizniuk - 131)
>>> Missed first chunk of season with lower-body injury


D Noah Henry (Powell River, BCHL) - 1 G / 7 A / 8 PTS / 22 GM
>>> Height: 6'0" / Weight: 190
>>> DOB: 3/4/94
>>> Committed for 2014-2015
>>> Opened season with Penticton (BCHL) - 0 G / 4 A / 20 GM
>>> Acquired from Penticton on 11/14/12
>>> Current Dutchmen Daniel Carr, Kyle Bodie, and Mat Bodie are former Powell River players

D Matt Krug (Indiana, USHL) - 1 G / 6 A / 7 PTS / 34 GM
>>> 6'2" / 200
>>> DOB: 7/9/92
>>> Committed for 2013-2014

D Jeff Taylor (Dubuque, USHL) - 3 G / 11 A / 14 PTS /  34 GM
>>> 6'0 / 170
>>> DOB: 1/25/94
>>> Committed for 2013-2014
>>> Native of Clifton Park, NY
>>> Played at Albany Academy
>>> Set USHL tier I era single game record with a +7 rating on 1/5/13.

G Joe Young (Boston Junior Bruins, EJHL): 2.19 GAA / .920 SAVE % / 19 GM
>>> 6'2 / 170
>>> DOB: 4/16/94
>>> Committed for 2014-2015
>>> Opened season with Vernon (BCHL) - 4.35 GAA / .828 SAVE % / 2 GM
>>> Current Dutchmen goalie Colin Stevens previously played for the Junior Bruins

F Tyler Hynes (Omaha, USHL) - 2 G / 5 A / 7 PTS / 28 GM
>>> 5'10" / 183
>>> DOB: 11/23/93
>>> Committed for 2013-2014
>>> From Slingerlands, NY
>>> Played at Albany Academy

F Eli Lichtenwald (Nipawin, SJHL) - 3 G / 6 A / 9 PTS / 7 GM
>>> 6'6" / 211
>>> DOB: 6/9/92
>>> Committed for 2013-2014
>>> Also spent time this season with Omaha (USHL) - 3 G / 7 A / 10 PTS / 28 GM
>>> Acquired from Omaha on 12/31/12
>>> Previously played with Nipawin in 2010-2011, earning SJHL rookie of the year honors

F Michael Pontarelli (Cornwall, CCHL) - 38 G / 40 A / 78 PTS / 42 GM
>>> 5'9" / 178
>>> DOB: 12/22/93
>>> Committed for 2014-2015
>>> Leads CCHL in goals (38), 6th in assists (40), 2nd in points (78), 2nd in powerplay goals (14)

F Michael Vecchione (Tri-City, USHL) - 13 G / 21 A /  34 PTS / 39 GM
>>> 5'11 / 190
>>> DOB: 2/25/93
>>> Committed for 2013-2014
>>> Decommitted from New Hampshire (Hockey East) in late 2011
>>> Current Union player Ryan Forgaard formerly played with Tri-City

Other reported commits and last known team (stats not available):

D Griff Martin (Avon Old Farms)

>>> 6'1" / 175
>>> DOB: 3/19/94
>>> Committed for 2013-2014
>>> Decommitted from Yale prior to Union committment

F Mark Dufour (Kents Hill Prep)
>>> 6'2" / 178
>>> DOB: 6/26/95
>>> Committed for 2014-2015 or 2015-2016
>>> Taken in 13th round of 2012 QMJHL draft by Drummondville Voltigeurs (did not sign - would have voided NCAA eligibility as QMJHL is a "major junior" league and considered a "pro" league by NCAA)

F Alex Gonye (Deerfield Academy)
>>> 6'1 / 165
>>> DOB: 2/10/94
>>> Committed for 2013-2014
>>> Deerfield Academy is the alma mater of Dutchwomen goalie Shenae Lundberg

F Ryan Scarfo (Governors Academy)
>>> 5'11 / 176
>>> DOB: 3/3/94
>>> Committed for 2014-2015
>>> Out for the season following a shoulder injury

Stats as of 1/29/13.

Monday, January 28, 2013

ECAC Power Rankings - 1/28/13

by Ryan Fay

1. QUINNIPIAC (11-0-1 ECAC, 18-3-3 overall) - Tuesday's 2-1 win over Connecticut may have been closer than some expected, but the Bobcats show no signs of slowing down. On tap is a road trip to Brown and #7/8 Yale, the only ECAC teams yet to face off against #2/2 Quinnipiac this season.

2. YALE (8-4-1, 12-5-3) - A 4-1 setback at Colgate on Saturday was Yale's first loss in nearly a month (December 30th to Holy Cross). Yale returns home, where they have a 5-2-1 record this season, to face Princeton and Quinnipiac this weekend. It will be their first meetings against both teams this year.

3. UNION (6-4-3, 13-8-4) - Concern has died down after three straight wins over Colgate, Harvard, and a non-leaguer over RPI. One sign of hope is highly touted freshman Matt Wilkins scoring his first three collegiate goals in January (including Saturday's game winner). Next on the docket is a rematch with #16 Dartmouth, which beat #18 Union, 3-2, at Thompson Arena in early November.

4. COLGATE (5-6-1, 13-9-2) - The Raiders have won five of their past seven games with the only blemishes being a weekend sweep in the Capital District on January 19th & 20th. Most impressive was Saturday's win over Yale. One concern going forward - six of their last 10 games are on the road, where the team is just 2-6-2 on the season (compared to 10-3 at home). Next up is a trip to the North Country, whose teams (Clarkson, St. Lawrence) split with Colgate a couple months ago.

5. DARTMOUTH (7-5-1, 11-7-2) - After starting 4-0 in ECAC play, the Big Green have gone just 3-5-1 since. The team split the weekend against the North Country teams, losing 4-2 to St. Lawrence before beating Clarkson 5-1.

6. PRINCETON (5-4-3, 7-8-4) - Since the calendar flipped to 2013, the Tigers have won four of five games with the lone hiccup being a 3-2 home loss to Union on January 11th. Revenge will be the theme this weekend when Princeton travels to Yale and Brown. Yale and Brown beat Princeton earlier this year, 3-2 and 2-1, respectively.

7. ST. LAWRENCE (4-5-3, 11-10-3) - The Saints have won or tied their past four games (3-0-1) including a 4-2 win at Dartmouth on Friday. It marked only Dartmouth's second home loss of the year (9-2).

8. RPI (3-6-3, 8-11-5) - Saturday's 3-2 non-league loss to Union aside, the Engineers have been playing better hockey of late. They handed Quinnipiac its only non-win in league play this season with a 1-1 tie on January 11th. The next weekend, they had their first home sweep of Cornell and Colgate since the 1990s. RPI hosts Dartmouth and Harvard this weekend.

9. BROWN (3-6-4, 7-9-4) - Brown has been up and down since league play resumed, going 3-3 in their past six league contests. The Bears split the weekend, losing 2-1 to Colgate ahead of a 3-0 win over Cornell.

10. CORNELL (4-6-2, 8-9-2) - Cornell has fallen on hard times. The Big Red have dropped six of their past seven games with the lone win being a 3-2 come from behind win at Union on January 18th. Making matters worse was losing World Junior Championship gold medalist Cole Bardreau for the rest of the season with a fractured neck. Cornell will look to rebound this weekend against Clarkson and St. Lawrence, who they swept earlier this year.

11. CLARKSON (4-6-2, 5-13-6) - Clarkson has one win in their past eight games, a 5-1 thrashing of hapless Harvard on Friday. The Golden Knights begin a four game homestand this weekend but don't expect much home cooking as the team is only 1-8 at home this season.

12. HARVARD (3-11, 5-13-1) - Decimated by an academic cheating scandal that resulted in the loss of four players a couple months ago, the Crimson have gone 1-11-1 in their past 13 games.

Where Union is in the polls - 1/28/13

by Ryan Fay

It's Monday, which means its poll day.

How did the Dutchmen fare this week? Lets find out.


After picking up a couple wins over Harvard (4-1, Tuesday) and RPI (3-2, Saturday), the Dutchmen (13-8-4) rose one spot to 18th in the latest USCHO top 20 poll.

ECAC-leading Quinnipiac (18-3-3) picked up 22 first place votes, but fell eight points shy of the top spot. WCHA powerhouse Minnesota (18-4-4) retained its place atop the rankings.

Other ECAC teams in the poll were Yale (8th, 12-5-3) and Dartmouth (16th, 11-7-2). Dartmouth comes to Messa Rink on Friday night for a nationally televised game on the NBC Sports Network.

Colgate (19 votes, 13-9-2) and Cornell (5 votes, 8-9-2) were in consideration but didn't make the cut.

USA Today / USA Hockey Magazine

The Dutchmen remain unranked in the USA Today / USA Hockey Magazine top 15 poll. Union did receive six votes, which is actually one less than last week despite picking up two wins.

Quinnipiac was slotted second with 11 first place votes but Minnesota again proved too much to topple for the highest spot. Yale was the lone other ECAC representative in the top 15, as they were ranked 7th.

On the outside looking in were Dartmouth (45 votes) and the aforementioned Dutchmen (6 votes).


Union has moved up slightly in the pairwise as they currently sit 18th.

3New Hampshire2515-6-2.6964.56723
6Boston College2414-7-2.6528t.55216
7Western Michigan2216-6-4.6925.54577
9St. Cloud State1915-10-1.59616t.54339
10North Dakota1813-8-5.59616t.541510
11Boston University1713-9-1.58718.540411
14Notre Dame1516-10-0.61511t.538413
16Minnesota State1316-9-3.62510.535015
20Northern Michigan1011-12-4.48132.512323
22Ferris State813-10-3.55824.518322
24Ohio State410-11-5.48133.508724
26Robert Morris412-9-2.56522.504626
29Holy Cross013-9-2.58319t.502129
Pairwise information via

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Mayor's Cup Highlights

Here are the highlights from last night's dramatic 3-2 win over RPI in the inaugural Mayor's Cup game. From "GoUnionAthletics" on YouTube.

Same old story for RPI in 3-2 loss to Union (plus 3 postgame videos)

For postgame videos, click here or scroll down. There's three - RPI coach Seth Appert, Union coach Rick Bennett, and Union players Josh Jooris/Matt Wilkins/Troy Grosenick.


by Ryan Fay

ALBANY -- There are some things that never seem to change.

Take the RPI-Union series. After losing to their route 7 rivals, 3-2, in Saturday's inaugural Mayor's Cup game, RPI's loss was just more of the same.

Earlier this week, I asked RPI head coach Seth Appert about Union's success against his team. One the things he said was "we've taken some ill-advised penalties against them and they have an absolutely lethal power play."

Saturday's loss, RPI's eighth in a row against 19th-ranked Union, was a continuation of that. RPI's Nick Bailen, a senior, took what most would call an "ill-advised" penalty when he went off for interference with 97 seconds left in regulation of a tie game. After the game, Appert offered "no comment" on the penalty.

Wilkins (Union Athletics)
At the time of the penalty, RPI had recently tied the game at two off the stick of Mark McGowan, so the last thing the Engineers wanted to do was give the country's best powerplay (27.1%) a chance to win the game.

Matt Wilkins, who turned 22 on Saturday, proved why Union's powerplay is "absolutely lethal" when the freshman forward scored the game-winning goal on the powerplay with 37 seconds left in the game. 

"I was driving the net, I saw Jooris go wide, and their defensemen was sort of flat footed," Wilkins said of the game-winning play. "I drove the net and Jooris made a great pass."

Said Appert of the goal, "at the end of the day, [Wilkins] made a play. We had two guys that didn't execute very well. It was a play that should have been pretty easily defended. We had two guys that made mental mistakes in big moments and they have to grow up from that."

It was the second goal of the night for the Union powerplay, which finished 2-for-4. After Guy Leboeuf was called for cross checking just two minutes into the game, Daniel Ciampini opened the scoring by knocking in a rebound at 3:34.

"It always seems like we take a penalty early and get scored against them, and we did,” Appert said after the game. “It played out, pretty much, how you anticipate [it]."

Earlier this week, Appert also pointed out Union's penalty kill as another reason why Union has had its run of success against his club. On Saturday night, the Dutchmen killed off all five RPI powerplay opportunities, including two in the third period. The Engineers, who outshot Union 38-20, had 15 of their shots on the powerplay including 11 in the first.

Troy Grosenick stopped all 15 powerplay shots and 36 of the 38 overall. When I spoke with him on Tuesday, Appert credited "very good" goaltending as yet another factor behind Union's recent edge in the series.

Grosenick was the biggest reason Saturday's game came down to the third period. For a good portion of the night, RPI was outskating the Dutchmen. The junior netminder kept Union in the game with several spectacular saves, including a couple on Ryan Haggerty, RPI's top goal scorer. The sophomore, who has ten goals this season, did beat Grosenick on one of his five shots, a goal that tied the game at one only 16 seconds into the middle period.

Union head coach Rick Bennett graded Grosenick's performance as "exceptional" and added Grosenick "kind of bailed us out when we needed him to."

Bennett also came away impressed with RPI (8-11-5, 3-6-3).

"That's a good hockey club," he said of RPI, which won the faceoff battle, 37-25. "They've been making strides this season just like they did last year. Whoever faces them in the playoffs better buckle up."

Greg Coburn scored Union's other goal, a long-range rocket early in the third period that momentarily gave the Dutchmen a 2-1 lead.

Union (13-8-4, 6-4-3) resumes play on Friday night at Messa Rink against #12/13 Dartmouth (11-7-2, 7-5-1). The game, a 7:30 pm faceoff, will be nationally televised on NBC Sports Network.


Rensselaer (8-11-5 (3-6-3 ECACH)) vs. Union (13-8-4 (6-4-3 ECACH))
Date: Jan 26, 2013 Location: Albany, NY Arena: Times Union Center
Attendance:5959 Start time:7:30 pm End time:9:35 pm Total time:2:05 
Goals by Period 1st 2nd 3rd Total 
Scoring Summary
Prd Time Team Type Scored by Assists Visitor on ice Home on ice 
1. 1st 03:34 UNION  PP Ciampini, Daniel/8 Coburn, Greg/12 22,24,21,11 17,20,12,21,14 
            Simpson, Wayne     
2. 2nd 00:16 RPI_MHKY EVEN Ryan Haggerty/10 CJ Lee/5 29,15,39,22,10 9,14,18,20,19 
            Nick Bailen/11     
3. 3rd 01:51 UNION  EVEN Coburn, Greg/8 Simpson, Wayne/15 23,24,3,17,19 20,21,14,12,17 
            Bodie, Kyle/12     
4. 3rd 15:36 RPI_MHKY EVEN Mark McGowan/5 CJ Lee/6 21,22,28,15,3 22,16,20,15,7 
5. 3rd 19:23 UNION  PP Wilkins, Matt/3 Jooris, Josh/10 21,22,10,11 19,7,22,18,9 
            Bodie, Mat/13   

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Jooris returns tonight vs RPI

After missing one game with an upper-body injury, junior forward Josh Jooris returns to the lineup for tonight's Mayor's Cup game against RPI. Jooris will be centering a line with Matt Hatch on the left and Kevin Sullivan on the right.

Daniel Carr moves from the Kyle Bodie and Wayne Simpson line to the Matt Wilkins and Max Novak line. Daniel Ciampni will be with Bodie and Simpson instead of Wilkins and Novak.

Troy Grosenick starts in goal and defenseman Shawn Stuart remains sidelined with an upper-body injury. It will be Stuart's fourth consecutive game missed.

RPI has also released their lines, but without a designated starting goaltender.

Dutchmen players weigh in ahead of Mayor's Cup game vs RPI

by Ryan Fay

The much-hyped inagural Mayor's Cup game between RPI and Union will be played tonight at 7:30 pm at the Times Union Center in downtown Albany. 

Though it's a non-league game, and thus doesn't count in the league standings, there is plenty at stake. Union will look for its eighth win a row against their Route 7 rivals while RPI will be looking for their first win over the Dutchmen since November 2010.

Over the past couple days, I've collected various thoughts from a few Union players ahead of the game.

Daniel Ciampini played some of his best hockey this season against RPI. In the previous two meetings this year, the sophomore had three goals and four points. He offered some thoughts on what kind of game it will be tonight:
"It's going to be a good game -- good old fashioned, hard hockey. We're both hard-nosed teams and we both like to grind it out. RPI is riding a high and we're coming off a pretty decent weekend. Both teams are in a groove and will be ready for it."
What are the keys to a Union victory? Kyle Bodie, second on the team with 25 points, weighed in:
"Sticking to our game plan and being disciplined. In these games, you're right on that line, so you have to be careful not to cross it because both teams have good specialty teams."
Barring a postseason matchup, tonight's game will be the last Union-RPI game for the seniors. I asked a couple of them about their memories of playing RPI over the years.
Said Greg Coburn: "A lot of the games stand out. But going back to freshman year, that first time I played them, I think it was at our barn... the fans were electric and it was a lot of fun to feel that experience."
Said Bodie: "My first goal was against RPI in my freshman year, so that's a good memory. So was beating them in their own tournament (same year). Last year was probably the best one when we swept them in the playoffs. Every game we play against RPI, both sides get up, and they're probably the best games of the year." 
One wildcard in tonight's game is the probable RPI goaltender, freshman Jason Kasdorf. Union only saw him in the third period in their second game against RPI in November. But Kasdorf, who has a 1.60 goals against average, is one of the biggest reasons for RPI's turnaround in the past couple months. I asked Bodie and Coburn, Union's top scoring defenseman, about facing a goaltender against whom Union has limited experience.
Said Bodie: "If he's starting as a freshman, he must be doing something right. We have to get a lot of pucks and bodies to the net. We know that if we want to get pucks by him we have to put a lot of rubber on net. That's something we've been focusing on and something we'll try to get done [tonight]."
Said Coburn: "We just have to feel him out and get a lot of shots on him. We have guys who can put the puck in the back of the net and we have to rely on that."
On most weekends, Union plays two different schools. But not so this weekend, having only tonight's Mayor's Cup game. I asked Bodie about the differences in preparation when there's one school on the weekend schedule.
Said Bodie: "As you prepare during the week, even if you're going against two teams, sometimes you're only looking at the Friday night game. But we received the scouting report a little earlier this week and guys know we only have one game this weekend. We don't have to hold anything back."

Kelly Zajac (Albany-AHL) scored his second goal in the AHL this year in Friday's 4-1 win over Adirondack. The former Union star has two goals and an assist in five games with Albany. He graduated last spring following a four year career that put him in second place on the program's Division I career points list (128).....  If you missed it previously, I did a Q&A with RPI head coach Seth Appert ahead of the game. You can find that here. Appert talked about the improvement of his team, Union's success against RPI, and some of his players who could be factors tonight.

Dutchwomen fall to RPI, 2-1 (with video)

by Ryan Fay

SCHENECTADY -- The Dutchwomen dropped a 2-1 decision to RPI Friday night at Messa Rink.

The game was tied at one going into the third period, but Taylor Horton's second goal of the night at 5:24 proved to be the game winner for RPI (7-15-3, 5-7-1). Horton also opened the scoring with a powerplay tally at 15:35 of the first period.

"We had a breakdown and I think it hit off a kid," Union head coach Claudia Asano Barcomb said of the game winning goal. "We didn't have [someone] on the back door. We usually don't have those kind of breakdowns, but that shouldn't be the game-winner. We should have answered back and put another one in."

The Dutchwomen (7-15-3, 0-10-3) nearly did when they strung together a few good chances at the end of the game.

"I wish we had a couple more minutes because I thought we really put pressure on them at the end," Barcomb said.

The comeback attempt was hampered when the team was forced to kill a tripping penalty on Nicole Bartlett with 24 seconds left in regulation.

"It was tough," Barcomb said of the penalty. "She was trying and making all the efforts to try to help us put the puck in the net. You can't blame a kid for trying."

Kelly McGrath notched Union's lone goal with a game-tying powerplay tally at 14:09 of the second period. Aside from the powerplay goal, Union's special teams killed four of five RPI powerplays, including back to back chances in the second period.

The Dutchwomen, who were outshot 30-24, picked up 28 saves from Shenae Lundberg.

The two schools meet for the third time this season at RPI at 3:00 pm. The winner will take the season series as Union won the first game, 3-2, on October 20th. That game was a non-league affair.

For more from Barcomb, watch my postgame interview with her. If you can't see the embedded player below, click here to watch.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

AUDIO: Rick Bennett pre-practice 1/24/13

by Ryan Fay

Prior to Thursday's practice, Union men's hockey head coach Rick Bennett spoke with the media.

The second-year head coach talked about Saturday's game with RPI and offered health updates on Shawn Stuart and Josh Jooris.

Stuart has missed the past three games with an upper-body injury. Jooris, who got on the ice today, sat out Tuesday's game against Harvard after taking a stick to the facemask in last Saturday's win over Colgate.

To listen, click here or listen via the player below.

Q&A with RPI men's hockey head coach Seth Appert

by Ryan Fay

Union and RPI are set to renew their heated rivalry with Saturday's 7:30 pm "Mayor's Cup" game at the Times Union Center.

It will be the third meeting between the schools this season and the first since Union's 7-3 win on November 3rd. Union has a seven game winning streak against their Route 7 rivals, but RPI still has the all-time series lead in Division I play at 29-26-9. RPI last beat Union, 4-3 in overtime, on November 13th 2010.

On Tuesday afternoon, I conducted a phone interview with RPI men's hockey head coach Seth Appert. The coach dissects the recent improvement of his team, Union's success against RPI, a few of his players who could loom large in Saturday's game, and more.

UNION HOCKEY NEWS (UHN): If someone hasn't seen your team play yet this season, what style of team will they see on Saturday?

SETH APPERT (SA): What we try to be is a hard, fast, disciplined team. We've been turning into a very good defensive team. I think we're doing that not by being passive and sitting back, but by being aggressive, forechecking well, and being physical. We're at our best when we're playing fast, hard, and physical -- taking time and space away from our opponents when we don't have the puck so we can get it back.

UHN: Your team has won or tied five of its past six league games, including handing Quinnipiac its only non-win in league play this year (a 1-1 tie on Jan. 11). You also split a non-league series at now #16 St. Cloud State in late December. What's fueling the improvement?

SA: We're playing pretty good hockey these past two months in league and out of league. Even in the games we have lost, we've played very well either for large portions or all of the game. Day in and day out, and game in and game out, we've been real committed to playing the right way and doing little things that give us a chance to win hockey games.

UHN: After the first game with Union earlier this season, you thought your team showed a lack of maturity. Has more maturity been another factor in the recent improvement?

Appert (RPI Athletics)
SA: We're growing up slowly. We still show some moments of immaturity as evidenced by being a little sloppy in the first period against Princeton but we had a dominant 40 minutes after that. Our captain, C.J Lee, is doing a fantastic job of getting the guys on the same page. Lee and I are in sync in terms of how we see things and what we value. That consistency is starting to take hold a little bit. We were immature in that Union series and we continued that immaturity the next weekend at Harvard and Dartmouth, but since then, we've been a real good hockey team. We've done a lot of things the right way. We're not perfect, and we still have things to improve upon, but we are slowly turning into a very physical, disciplined, tough hockey team.

UHN: Union has been successful against a lot of teams in the past few years, including yours. What's made them especially dangerous in the games against your team?

SA: They've kept their composure better. We've taken some ill-advised penalties against them and they have an absolutely lethal power play. They have very good combined special teams (power play and penalty kill) and they receive very good goaltending. You combine those things together and they've found their way to quite a bit of success against us these past few seasons.

UHN: Union has had its share of struggles in the past couple months. Is it fair to say you could be getting them at the right time?

SA: I'm more concerned with our team. It looks like Union played pretty well last weekend, having a lead on Cornell late in the game and beating a pretty good Colgate team the next night. Union has a very good team and I still believe they're a top 15 team in the country. Every team goes through ups and downs at some point of the season. In terms of getting them at the right time, the schedule is what it is, and all you worry about is the next day of practice and the next game in front of you.

UHN: What can you say about your freshman goaltender, Jason Kasdorf? A sixth round pick of Winnipeg in the 2011 NHL draft, he's played in nine games and has a 4-1-2 record.

SA: He's given us a good swagger and a good belief in ourselves. We have three very good goalies, but he's been able to separate a bit, and the numbers bear that out. His winning percentage (.714) and save percentage (.943) are higher [than our other goaltenders]. All goalies at this level have very good athleticism and ability to make big saves. What he's done a good job of in his freshman year is limiting the number of soft rebounds and soft goals. Bad rebounds lead to goals and goals deflate a team. He's done a good job at making big saves when necessary and taking care of the little details that add up to big things.

UHN: Milos Bubela, a native of Slovakia, is tied for second on your team in goals (seven) despite being a freshman. What has stood out about him?

SA: We were pretty excited about him with his international background (he played in the World Junior Championships last year). It's been a big transition -- he's coming to college hockey, he's coming to college, he's learning another language, and a different style of play compared to what experienced in Europe. What Bubela has done a good job of is quickly buying into the more physical play of North American hockey. He's had a willingness to compete for loose pucks, to be physical, to finish checks, and to win battles. When you do those things, you have the puck more. When Bubela has the puck, like most good offensive players, he's very dangerous and can do a lot of great things. Where some offensive players struggle is that they don't work hard enough to get the puck. Bubela has done a good job in the past few months of understanding that and getting the puck more through his efforts. Because of that, he's been rewarded with more offensive opportunities.

UHN: Matt Neal, Ryan Haggerty, and Jacob Laliberte, have (at times) formed what's known as your "N-H-L" line. They all came to your program with big expectations, but now in year two, they're your top three scorers. What can you say about their development?

SA: They're all making steps in their sophomore year. They all have a lot of growth left to go - not only the rest of this season, but into the future. They've shown a good willingness to buy into the coaching and a desire to get better. A big jump from your freshman to sophomore year is how hard you train in the summer because now you know what it takes to be a Division I hockey player. All three had good summers in the weight room and showed a high level of commitment and discipline towards their offseason training. They have a little more maturity and understanding of their abilities.

UHN: How do you see the game going on Saturday night?

SA: As a coach, you never predict those things. All you do is prepare your team the way it needs to be prepared to give your young men a chance to go ahead and have success. We're really focused on having good practices and getting guys back into the swing of things academically with school starting up this week. We're just making sure we continue to take steps forward as a team like we have the past two months. We'll put the guys out there Saturday night and they'll dictate it from there.

Special thanks to Kevin Beattie and to Coach Appert.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Union uses late surge to beat Harvard, 4-1

For postgame videos, scroll down or click here. There's four: Harvard coach Ted Donato, Union coach Rick Bennett, Union player Wayne Simpson, and Union players Mat Bodie and Matt Wilkins.


by Ryan Fay

SCHENECTADY -- Forget about collapsing in the third period.

On Tuesday night, Union saved its best for last.

The Dutchmen scored three goals in the final period to roll to a 4-1 win over Harvard at Messa Rink. Union, which won its second game in a row, had gone six games without even one third period goal.

Before Union broke out in the third, their powerplay opened the scoring late in the second. Harvard's Luke McGregor was called for holding at 16:19 and Max Novak cashed in at 17:27 to make a 1-0 game.

"Novak was real patient and made a great play with that spinaround shot," said Union defenseman Mat Bodie, who picked up his first of three assists on the goal. "It was Matt Wilkins in front and I don't think their goalie saw it."

The Union powerplay, which ranks first in the country at 26.4%, hit paydirt again on Union's first goal of the third. Union had a 5-on-3 opportunity at 7:36 when Luke Greiner was whistled for high sticking on a delayed hooking penalty on Mitchell Everson.

Wayne Simpson capitalized and made the Crimson pay, putting Union ahead, 2-0, at the 8:12 mark. It was his team-leading twelfth goal of the season and eventually proved to be the game winner.

"Not many players can make the play Mat Bodie did to get it to me," Simpson said of his teammate. "He drew some of the guys out, so it was pretty much me. I was looking for the pass initially, but I found a spot to put in, and luckily it just snuck in the corner."

Jimmy Vesey, Harvard's star freshman, made it a 2-1 game with just over nine minutes left in regulation.

"There was a little life on the bench when we scored," Harvard head coach Ted Donato said.

But Union's lead quickly grew back to two, 3-1, when Wilkins provided some breathing room with his second goal of the month at the 13:35 mark.

"Like my first goal, it was kind of weight off the shoulder," the freshman said after the game. "It's not as if I've been lacking opportunities, but they haven't been going in. Hopefully this one will get me going."

Said Bodie of the goal, "it was huge for us. I think that was the one where we felt 'alright, I think we have this one under control.'"

Bodie, who is four points from setting the school record for points by a defenseman, drew praise from Union head coach Rick Bennett.

"He's been doing the little things that the coaching staff has been showing and that tells what type of leader he is," Bennett said. "His defensive play the past two games has been dynamite. And his offense tonight was the benefit of that."

What wasn't praiseworthy was Union drawing a penalty for too many men on the ice for the third straight game.

"One of our guys had a foot over," Bennett said. "He was coming back hard, but our guy jumped forward. It's going to be a tough skate on Thursday -- for the coaching staff as well. It's a team penalty and the coaching staff is going to be held accountable just as much as the players are."

Daniel Carr's empty net goal with 19 seconds left in the game made it a 4-1 lead for Union, which outshot Harvard, 38-23, on the night. Troy Grosenick added 22 saves in the winning effort.

The Dutchmen resume play on Saturday night in a non-league contest against rival RPI at the Times Union Center.


Don't expect injured forward Josh Jooris to play in Saturday's game.

"It doesn't look great," Bennett said after the game.

Jooris was banged up in the third period of Saturday's win over Colgate and missed his first game of the year on Tuesday.

"It's upper-middle body. Could be lower-body for all I know. It's somewhere in the body. That's all I know at this time," Bennett coyly added.

Hockey Game Box Score (Final)
Harvard vs #19 Union (Jan 22, 2013 at Schenectady, NY)

Harvard (5-11-1 (3-9-0 ECACH)) vs. Union (12-8-4 (6-4-3 ECACH))
Date: Jan 22, 2013 Location: Schenectady, NY Arena: Messa Rink
Attendance:1624 Start time:7:00 pm End time:9:04 pm Total time:2:04 
Goals by Period1st2nd3rdTotal
Scoring Summary

#PrdTimeTeamTypeScored byAssistsVisitor on iceHome on ice
1.2nd17:37UNIONPPNovak, Max/4Bodie, Mat/1063,38,9,518,22,24,9,19
Gingras, Sebastien/3
2.3rd08:12UNIONPPSimpson, Wayne/12Bodie, Mat/1163,5,921,22,14,12,9
Gostisbehere, Shayne/11
3.3rd10:54HARVEVENVesey, Jimmy/7Blackwell, Colin/49,63,19,39,516,15,14,20,10
4.3rd13:35UNIONEVENWilkins, Matt/2Bodie, Mat/127,5,20,38,1319,22,9,10,3
Carr, Daniel/10
5.3rd19:41UNIONENCarr, Daniel/9Bodie, Kyle/1939,5,63,9,26,199,21,14,20,12
Simpson, Wayne/14