SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — Union regained some the offensive spark that was missing in its ECAC games at Cornell and Colgate nearly two weeks ago. The Dutchmen worked hard for the goals they scored Tuesday against Providence. Now they must find a way of making the opposition work hard for its goals, too.
Nonetheless, Union coach Kevin Sneddon was very happy with the team’s 4-4 non-conference tie against the Friars at Achilles Rink. The Dutchmen (3-3-2) fired a season-high 48 shots on goal. They also went 2-for-5 on the power play. They scored their first goal of the game with the man advantage, ending their streak of 14 attempts without a power-play goal.
“I thought our work ethic was phenomenal tonight,” Sneddon said. “We played a very good team. I thought our team had the edge. From the red line in to the offensive zone, at times we just dominated. That’s hard to do against a very good team.”
But the Friars (4-7-1), who were the preseason favorite to win Hockey East, twice erased Dutchmen one-goal leads in the third period. Chris Chaput turned a Charles Simard giveaway into a goal at 3:52, making the score 3-3.
Then at 14:22, just as Providence killed off a Peter Zingoni five-minute major spearing penalty, Peter Fregoe led a rush into the Union zone. He dropped the puck back to Jonathan Goodwin, who was serving the major penalty because Zingoni was ejected from the game. Goodwin fired a slap shot that beat goalie Brandon Snee.
“I will still work on it every day — we’ve got to get better in our own zone,” Sneddon said. “We played one of our better games this year, but we still aren’t making teams earn their goals. The two goals they scored in the third, we didn’t make them earn it. Once we start taking away those, then we’ll be a winning team.”
But Sneddon was pleased that the Dutchmen regained their offensive touch. After scoring 19 goals in their first five games, Union was shutout at Cornell on Nov. 9, and had only one against Colgate on Nov. 10. The Dutchmen lost both games.
“We spent a lot of time this week focusing on cycling, and going to the net with it,” said defenseman Randy Dagenais, who assisted on Jeff Hutchins’ first-period power-play goal and Jason Kean’s four-on-four tally at 9:38 of the third, which gave Union a 4-3 lead.
“The previous games, we were taking some shots, but often from the outside. We focused on going to the net tonight. Everybody went to the net hard. They weren’t all pretty, but hard work pays off.”
Down by a goal, the Dutchmen began the third period with a two-man advantage. They had a bigger advantage when Providence penalty killer’s Jon DiSalvatore and Eric Lundberg lost their sticks. It paid off when Nathan Gillies scored on a rebound of a Doug Christiansen shot 49 seconds into the third.
“It was a key turning point in the game to capitalize on that,” Gillies said. “If we wouldn’t have, they would have had the momentum.”
Just over two minutes later, Christiansen gave Union the lead when he tipped a Chris DiStefano shot past goalie Nolan Schaefer.
“There was a lot of action,” Providence coach Paul Pooley said. “Both teams are very similar. They’re young up front, we’re young on [defense]. A tie is better than a loss.”