|Union senior forward Adam Presizniuk scored the eventual game-winning goal to beat No. 1 Yale. (photo: Courtesy of Union)|
If Union wanted to accomplish something it had never done before in school history, it was going to take a total team effort. That’s just what Dutchmen got last weekend as they put together a win over top-ranked Yale, 3-2. It was the first time Union had ever beaten a team ranked No. 1 in the nation.
It was no surprise that last year’s 35-point scorer, senior forward Adam Presizniuk, provided the highlight of the night. He scored the game’s eventual winning goal on a one-timer late in the second period to give Union its landmark victory.
What might be surprising — and scary — for the ECAC going forward is that Union (10-3-1 ECAC, 18-7-3) looks like it could be at or near the top of the conference for the foreseeable future. The Dutchmen have one of the conference’s best crops of underclassmen, and they proved it against Yale (11-3 ECAC, 17-4).
Freshman forward Daniel Carr gave Union its first goal against Yale and a 1-0 lead. For a first-year player to come up in a big spot may normally be unexpected, but Carr is second on the team in points (28) and first in goals (15).
The Dutchmen jumped out to a 2-0 lead on the Bulldogs when sophomore Wayne Simpson (Boxboro, Mass.), a Lawrence Academy graduate, scored just over seven minutes into the second period.
Then there’s sophomore goalie Keith Kinkaid. He saved 28 shots and allowed just two goals to the nation’s highest-scoring offense.
Now that the Dutchmen have beaten No. 1, they’re just one point behind Yale in the conference standings and taking aim at the top spot in ECAC. With their talented underclassmen, they figure to be within range for a long time.
NEHJ Player to Watch
Chase Polacek, sr., RPI
Last year’s ECAC Player of the Year knows when to step up at the right moments. He scored his seventh game-winning goal of the season in the Engineers’ 3-0 over Brown last week. The next day, he a power-play goal and added two assists as RPI beat a reeling Yale squad, 5-2.
Harvard v. Northeastern, Monday
And so it begins. The 59th Beanpot starts at the TD Garden on Monday. With it, Harvard has a chance to salvage its disappointing season. If the Crimson catch lightning in a bottle and somehow win their first Beanpot since 1993, their current 4-16 regular-season record would be all but forgotten.
Around ECAC Hockey
The Bears look to turn around their three-game losing streak with a game at home against Ivy League rival Dartmouth on Friday. A Brown win would put the all-time record between the teams at 65-64-8 with the Big Green holding onto the slimmest of leads.
Little seems to be going the way of the Golden Knights in 2011. They have a 2-6 record and lost two one-goal games last weekend. They do have the sixth-best penalty kill in the nation, however, and they’ll try to get back in the ‘W’ column as they travel to Cornell and then Colgate.
The Red Raiders (0-12-2 ECAC, 3-21-2) are still looking for their first conference win, and they’re scrambling for it. They have searched for a spark by using 45 different line combinations this season. Colgate faces St. Lawrence and the Clarkson this weekend.
The Big Red finished January 5-2-1 and look to continue streaking into February. They allowed more than two goals one time last month (that was in a 5-1 loss to Union), a trend they’d like to continue against Clarkson and St. Lawrence.
With a win over either Brown or Yale this weekend, coach Bob Gaudet would get his 200th victory as coach of the Big Green, which happens to be his alma mater. He is eight wins away from 300 total. He coached for nine years at Brown before going to Dartmouth.
The Harvard-Yale rivalry doesn’t quite carry the allure that it does in the fall on the gridiron. The Ivy League foes square off Friday at New Haven. The Crimson will have to build on the 6-2 beating they put on Colgate last weekend if they hope to win again against the Bulldogs.
Freshman Andrew Ammon had six points in the Tigers’ wins over Sacred Heart, St. Lawrence and Clarkson last week. He was named ECAC freshman of the week for his efforts.
The good news? The Bobcats are at home for two games this weekend. The bad news? They’re facing off against two of the hottest teams in the conference with No. 9/10 RPI and then No. 11/12 Union. The key? Score early. Quinnipiac is 12-1-3 in the 16 games they strike first.
This week, Placek was named a finalist for the prestigious Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. Stephane Boileau of Union is the other ECAC Hockey player to be named a finalist.
The Saints are winless in their last four, but they have to be happy with the play of freshman forward Greg Carey. He is tied for the team lead in points with 26, and he has the team lead in goals (15), almost doubling the next highest goal-scorers (Kyle Flanagan and Adam Bogosian both have eight).
Looking for goals? You might want to steer clear of Union at Princeton on Friday. The Dutchmen are second in the country with a 2.06 goals-against average. With seniors Derrick Pallis and Tyler Fedun manning the blue line, the Tigers allow just 2.19 goals per game.
The Bulldogs fell to both Union and RPI last weekend. The last time the Bulldogs lost two in a row was Feb. 27 and March 12, 2010, when they were beaten by Quinnipiac and Brown in the ECAC tournament.
Phil Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org