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College Hockey:
Poirier sparks Union past UConn

— There is something about playing Connecticut that brings the best out of a Union player who wears No. 25.

Two seasons ago, sophomore center Jordy Federko wore that number and had a breakout game with his first two collegiate points — a goal and an assist in a Union win. That game propelled him into a regular spot in the lineup.

Freshman left wing Jonathan Poirier dons that number now, and he, too, experienced much of the success Federko did. Poirier scored twice Sunday night, helping the Dutchmen to an 8-0 non-league rout of the Huskies at Achilles Rink.

The goals were the first of Poirier’s collegiate career.

Unlike Federko, who was a walk-on, Poirier came to Union as a highly-touted scorer. He had 50 goals and 51 assists last season for the Eastern Junior Hockey League’s New Hampshire Monarchs.

“It was perfect,” Poirier said of his game. “I know this level is pretty hard to play at. To score two goals tonight is getting my confidence back.”

Poirier, who played on a line with center Joel Beal and right wing Marc Neron, missed the first four games of the season with a shoulder injury. He earned his first point, an assist, on Nov. 8 against St. Lawrence. He also had an assist last Saturday at Yale.

“You never like to put a lot of pressure on your freshmen early on,” Union coach Kevin Sneddon said. “With the injury that he had, it was a matter of gaining some confidence. This is going to help him.”

Poirier and Beal worked a nice give-and-go to set up Union’s first goal 2:16 into the game. Poirier gave the puck to Beal as he headed down the left wing. Beal gave it back to Poirier, who was in the slot. Poirier’s momentum had him falling away from the net, plus, he had a UConn defender on him. But Poirier was able to chip the puck past goalie Jason Carey’s right shoulder.

“We’ve been playing together all week,” said Beal, who had a goal and two assists. “Jonathan loves to give the puck up. He gave me the puck on the boards. I saw him go back to the net, and there was a guy all over him. I didn’t even see the guy all over him. I thought he was open.”

Poirier credited Beal for making the play work.

“It was all Joel,” Poirier said. “I gave it to him, and he gave it back to me. I just touched it. It seemed like the goalie moved before the shot.”

On his second goal, at 13:49 of the second period, Poirier was stationed to the right of the net. With no one checking him, Poirier easily one-time a Scott Seney pass from behind the net past goalie Artie Imbriano, who replaced Carey in the first period.

In improving to 5-4-3, the Dutchmen had 15 of their 18 skaters record at least one point. Seney had a goal and two assists, and Nathan Gillies and Brian Kerr added a goal and an assist each.

Poirier’s first tally helped spark a four-goal first period for the Dutchmen that buried the Huskies (3-7-1). Kerr, Gillies and Marc Neron scored the other goals in the first.

Beal scored a power-play goal in the second period. Jason Visser and Seney added third-period goals.

“The nice thing was we got offensive production from everybody tonight,” Sneddon said. “When you’re going to score that many goals, you hope it’s not one line doing it.”

Goalie Kris Mayotte made 15 saves in earning his first collegiate shutout.

Ken Schott covers college hockey for The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y.

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