SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — It was Jan. 20 of last year when sophomore forward Jordy Federko, who had played just one game his freshman year, was given an opportunity to be a regular in Union’s lineup. A two-point performance against Connecticut helped Federko’s cause, and he ended the season with five goals and five assists in 23 games.
However, the magic wasn’t there for Federko in his junior season. He had just one goal in his first 10 games, and he wasn’t in the lineup on a regular basis.
But Federko may have started his resurgence Saturday against Brown. He scored two goals, including the game-winner midway through the second period, helping the Dutchmen to a 3-2 ECAC hockey win at Achilles Rink.
“It was really frustrating,” said Federko, the son of former St. Louis Blues great Bernie Federko. “I couldn’t get it going for a while. Tonight, I finally got something going. Hopefully, I can keep it going here.”
Federko, who won the team’s most improved player award last season, collected the second two-goal game of his career. He had his first one March 9, 2001, against St. Lawrence in Game 1 of the ECAC first-round playoffs.
He couldn’t explain why he got off to a slow start this season.
“It was rough for a while,” Federko said. “I guess I have to keep playing through it, and keep trying new things until finally something clicks. It clicked pretty well tonight.”
Federko gave the Dutchmen (6-6-3, 2-4-1 ECAC) a 1-0 lead 2:23 into the game. Union had a four-on-two break as it entered the Brown zone. Crisp passing helped set up the goal. Seamus Galligan sent a pass to Jeff Wilson in the right circle. Wilson’s shot was stopped by goalie Yann Danis, but the rebound lay in the crease. Federko was there to put it into the net.
Doug Christiansen gave the Dutchmen a two-goal lead with a power-play tally at 13:54 of the first period. Charles Simard skated down the left-wing boards, and centered the puck to the front of the net just as he skated behind it. Christiansen one-timed it past Danis for his team-leading fifth goal.
“It was a great pass,” Christiansen said. “He has such skill. You know anytime he has the puck, he can put it on your tape.”
Brown (4-7-2, 3-5-2) closed to within one on Josh Barker’s power-play goal at 9:32 of the second period. But 21 seconds later, Joel Beal made a nice pass from the left-wing boards in the Brown zone to Federko in the left circle. Federko fired a wrist shot over Danis’ glove.
“I believe this gives him some confidence,” Union coach Kevin Sneddon said. “I believe he was a little bit down on himself. He wasn’t a regular in the lineup. Jordy’s done a nice job of staying positive and trying to fight through the dry spell.”
Brent Robinson’s goal 1:22 into the third period pulled Brown to within one. Danis was pulled for an extra attacker in the final minute as the Bears tried to repeat last year’s game at Achilles, when they tied the score with one second left in regulation.
But the Bears, who rallied to tie Rensselaer on Friday, didn’t muster much of a chance on Union goalie Brandon Snee.
“We were trying to eke out a tie, but we certainly didn’t deserve it,” Brown coach Roger Grillo said. “Our guys battled tough at the end, but it was too little, too late. We got what we deserved this weekend.”
Notes: Union backup goalie Marc Wise received a 10-minute misconduct penalty, along with Brown forward Keith Kirley, after a scuffle at the end of the first period.
Ken Schott covers college hockey for The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y.