SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — The music was blaring inside the Union College hockey locker room. There were smiles on most of the players’ faces. Everyone was having a good time.
That meant only one thing — the Dutchmen finally won a game.
Behind Jason Ralph’s two goals and Clark Jones’ three assists, Union ended its 11-game winless streak with a solid 5-1 nonconference win over Connecticut on Saturday night at Achilles Rink.
The Dutchmen (7-10-3) had gone 0-9-2 during their slide, which started with a 2-2 tie against Rensselaer on Dec. 1. In their last five games of the skid the Dutchmen were outscored, 26-10.
The five goals tied Union’s season high. The Dutchmen had five goals against UMass-Lowell on Nov. 25, which was also the last time they won.
“The monkey has left the building,” Dutchmen forward Nathan Gillies said.
Except for the final minutes of the second period and the first eight seconds of the third, when a Charles Simard turnover led to UConn’s only goal, Dutchmen coach Kevin Sneddon was pleased, and relieved to see the streak end.
“I thought the boys played hard,” Sneddon said. “At some points, I thought we were a little selfish in the second period. But overall, I thought we did a good job tonight.
“I was happy for them. They had a smile on their face again. It looked like they were having fun out there, which is nice for our guys, considering how things have gone.”
Jones, who assisted on Union’s first three goals, agreed.
“It’s such a confidence builder for us,” he said.
And it was for Ralph, too.
After having a career season last year with nine goals and 12 assists, the senior forward has been struggling to find his scoring touch. Coming into the game, Ralph had only four goals and three assists.
He rediscovered the magic against the Huskies (8-12-2).
With Union already leading 1-0 on Kris Goodjohn’s power-play goal late in the first period, Ralph was in front of the net when he took a pass from Bryan Yackel and fired it past goalie John Chain for a power-play tally at 4:01.
Just over six minutes later, Ralph blistered a slapshot from the right circle past Chain.
“It feels pretty good,” Ralph said. “I think sometimes I’m squeezing the stick a little too hard. I felt a little bit of pressure at the beginning of the year, coming off a pretty good year.”
Jordy Federko, son of St. Louis Blues great Bernie Federko, scored his first collegiate goal with 3:42 left in the second period. He was in front when he took a pass from Seamus Galligan and fired it into the net.
“It feels great,” Federko said. “It was a great pass from Seamus. He set me up perfectly, and I couldn’t miss.”
Simard’s misplay at the Union blue line cost goalie Brandon Snee a shutout. Eric Goclowski picked up a loose puck, skated down the right wing and slid it over to Kurt Kamienski coming down the slot. Kamienski one-timed it past Snee.
Simard, who didn’t play in last weekend’s games against St. Lawrence and Clarkson, was benched for the rest of the game.
“I was disappointed with the first shift of the third period,” Sneddon said. “Those are mistakes we can’t make against Dartmouth and Vermont [Union's opponents next weekend].”
Jason Kean scored Union’s final goal on a slapshot from the blue line at 5:15.
“We’re starting a new season,” Sneddon said. “We’re 1-0. We’ll carry that into next weekend.”