SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — Union had Bentley on the ropes in the first period Sunday. But despite outshooting the Falcons, 16-0, the Dutchmen managed just one goal. Union finally delivered the knockout punch in the third period, scoring three times to pull away for a 5-1 non-league victory at Frank L. Messa Rink at Achilles Center.
Not allowing a shot in the first period is a Union team record, but the fact that they couldn’t get more than one puck past goalie Simon St. Pierre frustrated Dutchmen coach Nate Leaman. Brent Booth’s power-play goal at 13:54 was the lone tally in the first.
“When you get your chances against these teams, you’ve got to put them away,” Leaman said, “because the longer they hang around, the more confidence they get.”
That is what happened in the second period. The Falcons (1-3-1) came out more aggressive than the Dutchmen (5-1-1). They were winning the battles to loose pucks and hitting harder. It paid off with 2:35 left in the period. Shortly after St. Pierre stopped an Olivier Bouchard shot, Kyle Larman made a nice outlet pass to Paul Markarian down the right wing. He skated in on goalie Kris Mayotte and beat him with a shot between the pads.
“In the second period, they made it a game,” Leaman said. “We didn’t finish them off in the first period when we had our really good chances.”
Markarian’s goal, however, snapped the Dutchmen out of their doldrums. They got the lead back with 1:03 left when Jordan Webb scored.
“It’s the same kind of a thing that happened [two weeks ago] with AIC,” Union forward Scott Seney said. “We had a dominate first period, and then we got a little too comfortable in the second. When they scored the goal, we realized we need to turn it up, or we could lose the game.”
After a stern talk by Leaman between periods, the Dutchmen put the game away. Max Seel crashed the net and scored at 8:36 to give Union a 3-1 lead. Bouchard did likewise, tipping in a Jonathan Poirier pass at 11:53. Seney closed out the scoring with a power-play goal at 13:17.
“I guess you could say he was in there trying to motivate us,” Webb said. “He came in and made a point to let us know that we did get outworked in the [second] period. At that point, they probably deserved to win the game. We tried to turn it around coming out in the third. We got a couple of lucky bounces.
“We deserved to win, but we have a lot to improve on this week.”
Notebook: Union opens ECAC play Friday at St. Lawrence. … There were 57 penalty minutes called in third period, including 40 in one incident triggered when Seel ran into St. Pierre as he was driving to the net. Union’s Matt Vagvolgyi and Bentley’s Ryan Mayhew were given game disqualifications for fighting, and they are each suspended for their next game. Bentley later lost Brett Murphy on a game DQ for checking from behind. … Leaman dressed just 17 skaters, one under the limit. He said he didn’t dress 18 because he wasn’t pleased with some of the performances in Friday’s 9-2 loss at New Hampshire.
Ken Schott covers college hockey for The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y.