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College Hockey:
Union shows comfort in uncomfortable situations

PHILADELPHIA — Union’s practice on Friday seemed fairly benign, with the Dutchmen mostly running through several routine drills.

But according to several players, that’s usually far from the case.

“If we ever mess up, our lines are either doing pushups or over-and-backs or something,” senior Kevin Sullivan said. “[Coach Rick Bennett] always lets us know that we’re never perfect.”

That’s something that Bennett’s team has come to appreciate.

“I read a quote, I’m not sure who it was from, but it said great players learn to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations,” senior captain Mat Bodie said. “I think that’s what the coaching staff has tried to accomplish with this team. I think guys have done a good job of pushing their comfort levels and finding out how to be comfortable in those uncomfortable spots.”

That showed in Thursday’s semifinal win against Boston College, as Union lost penalty-killing forward Matt Hatch to a game misconduct early in the third period.

With Hatch gone and the Eagles on an extended five-minute power play, the Dutchmen had to turn to several players who hadn’t seen much short-handed time this season, including Sullivan.

“It gave our penalty killers a little rest there, putting me and Mike Vecchione [on the ice],” Sullivan said. “I think it just shows that our coaches are comfortable putting anybody anywhere.”

That’s been a trait the Dutchmen have possessed all season, as defenseman Matt Krug moved to forward briefly due to injuries, while winger Daniel Carr saw time at center early in the season.

“When Hatch went out, [Matt] Wilkins stepped up to the second line,” Sullivan said. “Anybody from our first or fourth line can step up. We can play any kind of game — I think that’s why we’ve been so successful because anybody can play anywhere.”

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