It was an exciting weekend at Lynah Rink and the fans enjoyed themselves especially on Saturday night.
On Friday night, we played a solid game against RPI, a team that hasn’t won a road contest this year. We only gave up 11 shots and anytime you do that you’re gonna win a lot of hockey games. On offense, we generated a lot of chances but really didn’t put them away. We let RPI frustrate us a little bit and we took some penalties.
We opened the scoring at 4:54 of the first period when senior defenseman Travis Mitchell gathered up a big rebound off a shot by senior forward Jack Malone and fired the puck under the pads of the RPI goaltender. RPI responded on a power play less than a minute later to tie the game at 1-1. Midway through the first period, senior defenseman Sam Malinski scored to send us into the first intermission up, 2-1.
Our third goal of the game came at 9:58 of the middle period. Senior forward Ben Berard started the play on an odd-man rush. Berard found Mitchell wide open skating down the middle and the defenseman scored his second goal of the evening. All three goals scored by defensemen … that brings a smile to any former blue-liner such as myself. Our defenseman are always on their toes to join the offensive attack. We had a couple of power-play opportunities but failed to extend the lead going into the third period.
Both teams had scoring opportunities in the third period but neither could shine the red light. RPI had an excellent offensive opportunity with three minutes remaining in the game. We took another uncalled-for-penalty and RPI pulled their goaltender for a two-man advantage. Mitchell made a teriffic block that injured his wrist and that was the only shot that RPI made for the rest of the game.
Sophomore goaltender Ian Shane was called upon for just 10 saves and the RPI goalie stopped 24 shots. We were 0-for-4 on the power play and RPI was 1-for-4.
In our Saturday morning meeting, the big topic was not to take uncalled-for-penalties. That evening, we came out with good energy and scored six goals (four during a 5-minute major) in the first period. Malone started the PP parade at 2:42 after a Union hooking penalty. It was ironic that discipline was such a major point of our Saturday pre-game meeting and a Union player took a 5-minute major penalty enabling us to score four consecutive goals: senior forward Max Andreev, freshman forward Dalton Bancroft, sophomore forward Ondrej Psenicka and freshman forward Nick DeSantis. The last three in a span of 22 seconds! Bancroft finished the first-period scoring with an even-strength goal at 12:34 and we went into the locker room up 6-0.
Malinski scored our seventh unanswered goal at the 6:35 mark of the second period. He now has at least one point in the last ten games. Union finally got on the scoreboard with 4:30 left in the second period but junior forward Kyle Penney answered less than a minute later to send us into the second intermission leading, 8-1. In the third period, Malinski and DeSantis recorded their second goals of the game at 11:42 and 19:01, respectively. Malinski’s four points and two goals were game career highs.
The nine-goal margin of victory at Lynah Rink was our biggest since defeating Dartmouth 12-2, 45-years-ago, coincidentally also on February 4, 1978.
Ian Shane made eight saves in 52 minutes. Junior Ryan McInchak finished the final eight minutes in goal and made one save. Two Union goaltenders turned away 25 shots. We were 6-for-7 on the power play and Union was 1-for-3.
Every hockey player has been in that kind of game. There’s kind of a code. You don’t play your regular power play and you don’t go for big hits. That kind of lead rarely happens, but in that situation, you just want to play simple hockey. I commended the Union coach for keeping his team at a competition level and he didn’t let things get chippy. On the power play, it just escalated for us. Our guys did a good job throughout the course of the night and stayed disciplined.
This coming weekend is our annual home-and-away weekend with our travel partner, Colgate. The Raiders come to Lynah Rink on Friday night and we travel to Hamilton on Saturday evening.