SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — Union’s defensemen did more than play defense Saturday against Northeastern. They provided the majority of the goals.
The defense scored three of the goals and Union also got one from a former defenseman, and that helped the Dutchmen to a 5-3 nonconference win over the Huskies at Achilles Rink.
Brent Booth, Jason Kean and Charles Simard were the defensemen led Union to even its record at 5-5-3. Forward Doug Christiansen, who began his college career as a defenseman, also scored, along with forward Nathan Gillies.
“It was extremely important [to score],” said the sophomore Booth, who notched his first career collegiate goal. “Defense is the main aspect of our game that we want to focus on. But we can prove we’re offensive as well.”
It didn’t matter to Northeastern coach Bruce Crowder who Union’s goals came from.
“I thought they outplayed us from the goal on out,” Crowder said after the Huskies dropped to 8-8-2. “I think they wanted it more than us. They had some good jump.”
Booth opened the scoring at 2:33 of the first period.
Marc Neron led a rush into the Northeastern zone, skated to the right circle and acted as if he was going to shoot. Huskies goalie Keni Gibson bought the fake and Neron hit Booth, who was streaking down the slot, and he had an easy tap-in.
“I didn’t expect it myself,” Booth said. “I called for it. Neron had the patience to get it to me.”
Kean’s goal, his third of the season, came a minute into the second period.
Jordan Webb won a faceoff in Northeastern’s right circle and centered the puck to Kean at the right point. The junior defenseman skated a couple of strides up the boards, and then beat Gibson with a wrist shot to make it 3-1.
“It was nice for us to chip in,” Kean said. “We’re still trying to keep our defensive side going, too. Whenever you get three defensemen to score three goals, it’s huge for our team. It’s a big lift.”
Simard, who late in the first hit the post with a left-wing drive, ended Gibson’s night at 9:40 of the second period. As he skated across the blue line, Simard blistered a slapshot from the high slot that beat Gibson to the glove side. Jason Braun replaced Gibson.
“They gave me the whole blue line,” Simard said. “After my shot that hit off the post, I knew he was shaky on the long ones. I figured I put it on net as hard as I can.”
It was Simard’s first goal of the season. After scoring seven last year and finishing second on the team with 21 points, Simard has been struggling to find his offense. Coming into the game, the senior had just two assists.
“He needed that one,” Union coach Kevin Sneddon said. “That’s going to be a big relief in terms of the pressure. He’s returning as one of our top scorers. Pucks weren’t going his way the first half of the season, [but] I think that’s going to open things up for him.”
Christiansen came down the slot when he one-timed a Kris Goodjohn pass from the right circle past Braun early in the third period.
If there was one disappointment for Union, it was allowing Northeastern to go 3-for-7 on the power play. Jim Fahey scored the first power-play goal in the first period. Jason Guerriero had one in the second period and another in the third.
“I didn’t think we executed real well,” Sneddon said. “We had chances to get it out. We like to be real aggressive in our own zone, in particular. I thought we let them set up and dictate what they wanted to do.”