SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — It seemed like every time that one looked up, a goal was being scored.
And being scored by a different player as the Union Skating Dutchmen downed the Bemidji State Beavers in a wild game in Union’s home opener, 8-6.
“What a game,” said Bemidji State head coach Tom Serratore. “It’s too bad we weren’t up in the stands eating popcorn and potato chips because it was fun, it was entertaining, and this is what college hockey is all about.”
Of the 14 goals, seven were special-teams and one an empty-net goal. The game also saw the first collegiate goals for six Dutchmen, including the game-winner by Jordan Webb.
One other odd fact: the 14 goals were scored by 14 different players.
“Nobody had a two-goal game? That’s kind of odd, isn’t it?” said Serratore.
“Is that right?” said Union head coach Kevin Sneddon. “That doesn’t happen too often, does it?”
It doesn’t happen often, but the goals came fast and furious in the second period. Union had taken a 1-0 lead on a Max Seel first-period shorthander, but to start the second Marty Goulet tied it.
The Beavers took the lead when Heikki Lofman scored on the power play, but Matt Vagvolgyi’s power-play goal evened the game at 2-2.
The Dutchmen and Beavers traded goals yet again when Brian Kerr scored for Union and Jared Hanowski scored for Bemidji. The Dutchmen would then get a power-play goal from Jason Kean and a shorthander by Glenn Sanders to take a 5-3 lead before Clay Simmons scored on the power play to bring the score to 5-4 at the end of two periods.
In the third period Marc Neron gave the Dutchmen back a two-goal lead, but Riley Riddell’s power-play goal cut the gap back to one for the Beavers.
Webb would score before being answered by Andrew Murray late in the third to make it 7-6. The empty-net goal by Randy Dagenais sealed the 8-6 win.
“Anytime we can be disappointed in the way we played and win the game, that’s a good sign for our program,” said Sneddon. “Things just didn’t go our way from the get-go tonight. Our guys came together at the end and were able to get a win. When you play poorly and come away with a win it’s a positive thing.”
“The bottom line is that is was a great hockey game and there were two teams that have a lot of parity between them,” said Serratore. “They had a couple of chances to get up on us by a three-goal margin, but we answered right back. Then they answered. We didn’t get two successive goals, which you kind of need in a situation like that, but what are you going to do?
“But the fans got their money’s worth. I don’t like being on the short end of the stick like that but I was real happy that there were a lot of positives for our team. A lot of skill and a lot of scoring. We obviously have to tighten up a little bit; they out-special-teamed us.”
“We took a step back from how we played in our previous three games,” said Sneddon. “I don’t think we played terrific when we didn’t have the puck, and that’s what our focus has to be tomorrow night.”
Despite that, Seel, Vagvolgyi, Kerr, Kean, Sanders and Neron all scored their first collegiate goals, with Sanders being the only non-freshman to get his first.
“I thought they carried the play tonight,” said Sneddon of his freshmen. “But Brandon [Snee] kept us in the game early on. He doesn’t like to take the praise, but he allowed us a chance to win the game.”
Snee stopped Bemidji State in the first period on two breakaways, and another in the second, and made 35 saves on the evening.
“That kid made some huge saves tonight,” said Serratore. “He stoned us in the first period and a few more times.”
Grady Hunt had 24 saves for the Beavers in the loss.
Amidst the goal barrage, freshmen Riddell (1-3–4) and Murray (1-1–2) led the offense.
“Riddell and Murray were the best two players on the ice,” said Serratore. “Nothing against Union, but those guys were dominant out there, and I was impressed with them.”
Union (3-1-0) and Bemidji State (3-4-0) will meet again on Saturday evening.
“We just have to pay special attention to special teams and we have to make a desperate attempt to not let that happen tomorrow night,” said Serratore.
“I’m not sure that the best team won tonight,” said Sneddon. “They’re going to be hungry tomorrow and we have to play better.”