SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — It’s going to be a long Christmas break for the Union College hockey team.
Perhaps the Dutchmen will be able to find their offense. Coming into the weekend averaging 3.09 goals per game, the Dutchmen’s offense disappeared. After getting shut out by Princeton on Friday, Yale goalie Josh Gartner stopped 32 shots Saturday, including 15 in the third period, as the Bulldogs rolled to a 4-1 ECAC hockey victory at Frank L. Messa Rink at Achilles Center.
The Dutchmen (2-3-1 ECAC, 7-5-3 overall) are now 0-3-1 in their last four games. They won’t play again until Dec. 27 against Wisconsin in the Badger Showdown. Despite the offensive woes, Union isn’t panicking.
“I don’t think we need to worry too much,” said forward Jordan Webb, whose scored Union’s goal midway through the second period that tied the score, 1-1. “We just need to stick to hard work. When we worked hard, we got our chances, although they didn’t go in. They’re going keep going in in the future if we keep working hard.”
The Dutchmen certainly had their opportunities in the third period, but Gartner was solid.
“The positive is we played our best period [in the] last period,” Union coach Nate Leaman said. “We outshot them, 15-5, in that period. They outscored us, 2-0. Their kid made the saves, you’ve got to give them credit.”
Gartner’s best save came with 7:07 left in the game and Union on a power play. Joel Beal sent a pass from the right-wing corner across the front of the net to Matt Vagvolgyi, who skated from his left point position. Vagvolgyi fired a one-timer, but Gartner quickly slid over and made the save.
“I kind of saw him out of the corner of my eye, so I had a good idea they were going to make that pass over there,” Gartner said. “You throw something in front it. He basically hit my pads.”
A bad penalty by Vagvolgyi led to a Yale power-play goal in the first period. Vagvolgyi was penalized for shooting the puck after the whistle, a two-minute minor, and was also given a 10-minute misconduct at 12:44. Fourteen seconds later, Jeff Dwyer’s right-point shot beat goalie Kris Mayotte.
“It was a horrible penalty,” Leaman said. “We talked a lot [Friday] about taking bad penalties. That was a bad penalty, and it cost our team. He put himself ahead of the team in that situation.”
After Webb’s goal, Joe Zappala stole a Sean Streich clearing pass and beat Mayotte at 14:53. Jeff Hristovski scored a short-handed goal at 9:31 of the third period, although Yale appeared to have too many men on the ice. Ryan Steeves’ empty-net goal sealed Yale’s Capital Region sweep. The Bulldogs (5-5, 5-8) beat Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 5-4, Friday.
“We really needed that,” Yale coach Tim Taylor said. “It’s the best we’ve played all year in terms of being competitors. This is a very tough trip because they’re two very good teams, and two well-coached teams.”
Ken Schott covers college hockey for The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y.