NEW HAVEN, Conn. — When you give up two shorthanded goals and still win, you must be doing something right.
Union survived shorthanded tallies by Zach Mayer and Christian Jensen on Saturday to take a 5-2 ECACHL victory from winless Yale at Ingalls Rink.
It is the sixth straight win for the league-leading Dutchmen (6-0 ECACHL, 7-5 overall), and broke the team record for consecutive ECACHL victories. The old record of five was set Jan. 18-Feb. 1, 2003.
It also ties the team’s overall record for consecutive wins. The Dutchmen won six in a row Dec. 21-Jan. 10 during the 1996-97 season.
But the Dutchmen, who got goals from Scott Brady, Casey Ftorek, Jordan Webb, A.J. Palkovich and Olivier Bouchard, aren’t celebrating the team’s best-ever league start.
“It means nothing until we’re 7-0, and then that means nothing until we’re 8-0,” said Ftorek, whose power-play goal late in the first period gave the Dutchmen a 2-1 lead. “We have to play every game like it’s our last and most important. That’s contributed to a lot of our victories this year.”
Union coach Nate Leaman wasn’t happy with the shorthanders by Yale (0-6, 0-8), both on breakaways. Mayer scored with 27.9 seconds left in the first period to tie the score, 1-1. Jensen took advantage of a Sean Streich giveaway in the Union zone and beat goalie Justin Mrazek with 4:06 left in the second, cutting Union’s lead to 4-2.
“They were outworking us,” Leaman said. “Later in the game, I thought we had some good chances. But they really had their feet moving on the penalty kill, and were pressuring us on the breakout hard. We coughed it up a couple of times. You have to give them credit.”
Ftorek’s power-play goal with 11.3 seconds left in the first helped Union quickly recover from Mayer’s goal and gave the team the lead back. He blasted a shot from the slot past goalie Josh Gartner.
“We went out for the faceoff, and wanted to gain back some momentum after the shorthanded goal, which was kind of a dagger with [less than] 30 seconds left,” Ftorek said. “The pass came across, and I was fortunate to get a good shot off and it went in. I think it put the momentum right back on our side for the start of the second period.”
The Dutchmen got the first two goals of the second period. Webb scored his team-leading 11th goal of the season, a power-play tally, less than five minutes in.
Webb picked up his 99th career point when he assisted on Palkovich’s goal with 7:50 left in the second. He sent a pass to defenseman Michael Beynon coming off the bench. Beynon skated around the net, and hit Palkovich with a pass as he was coming down the right wing. Palkovich one-timed it past Gartner.
“A guy who made a big play on it was [defenseman] Chris DiStefano,” Webb said. “I just happened to be the other defenseman. I think there was some confusion with the line change. Chris made a nice play, playing the body on the guy. I just managed to get it from their player. I saw [Beynon] coming off the bench. I just tried to get it to him as quickly as I could.”
Ken Schott covers college hockey for The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y.