ITHACA, N.Y. — The Union Dutchmen rediscovered some of the October and early November magic that helped them record the best start in their Division I hockey history.
They were checking 10th-ranked Cornell hard Friday night. Scott Seney scored a goal for the first time in two months, and goalie Kris Mayotte frustrated the Big Red with his solid play. Still, it wasn’t enough to end the Dutchmen’s winless skid. Union settled for a 1-1 ECAC tie with Cornell at Lynah Rink.
Union (7-11-4, 2-7-1 ECAC), which had a 1-0 lead going into the third period, snapped its nine-game losing streak, but saw its winless slide extended to 11 games (0-9-2). The Dutchmen, who haven’t won since beating Vermont Nov. 15, will look to end the slump when they visit Colgate on Saturday night at 7.
“We played hard,” Union coach Nate Leaman said. “We’ve been working hard for two weeks. Getting the first goal helped us because it got our confidence. I thought for the first five minutes, we were really tentative, just like we were against RPI.”
At the same time, Leaman isn’t happy with the tie against the Big Red (7-3-6, 5-1-3).
“There’s disappointment,” Leaman said. “It was hard-earned point. Not many teams come in here and get a point. At the same note, it wasn’t a win.”
Mayotte was the sharpest he has been in a while, stopping 32 shots. The only puck to get past him came off the stick of Cam Abbott with 5:58 left in the third period. During Cornell’s only power play of the first period, Mayotte stopped five shots. All of the shots were quality attempts as the Big Red spent the majority of the advantage in the Dutchmen zone.
“We played really well tonight,” Mayotte said. “It’s still a little frustrating. We’ve been working hard. It’s rough when you’re working hard and competing, and not getting the breaks. It’s good to come in here and get a point, but we’re not satisfied until we get a win.”
With 6:19 left in the second period and Union on the power play, Ryan Vesce and Jeremy Downs had a two-on-nothing break on Mayotte. Vesce carried the puck into the zone, and tried to deke Mayotte. But Mayotte stood his ground, stopping a weak shot as Vesce crashed into him.
“I figured Vesce would take [the shot],” Mayotte said. “The second guy rolled off a little bit. He was probably waiting for a rebound. I was thinking watch the five-hole shot, and if he doesn’t go there, then hold your ground and make a save to one of the sides.
“He faked a shot. My mind started racing. I was able to stay on my feet. Then he made a move to his forehand, and I was able to slide over.”
Mayotte’s performance impressed Cornell coach Mike Schafer.
“Mayotte didn’t give us any second shots,” Schafer said. “I don’t how many times the puck hit him and stuck to him. That’s a sign of a great goaltender.”
Seney ended his 10-game goalless drought at 7:11 of the first period. He was in the slot when he took a pass from Olivier Bouchard from the right wing. Seney took a wrist shot along the ice that slid past the left pad of goalie David McKee, who never saw the puck coming.
“It’s good to be back on the board again,” said Seney, who leads the Dutchmen with 10 goals. “I was calling for the pass from Bouchard, and I was just trying to get it on net because the goalie wasn’t going to be superior as [David LeNeveu was] last year. [McKee] was screened, and I just put it low and he didn’t cover the corner.”
Ken Schott covers college hockey for The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y.