College Hockey:
D’Alba Blanks Union Again

— After experiencing some offensive success last Friday against non-league opponent Holy Cross, Union returned to its struggling ways in the ECACHL against Brown.

The Dutchmen were shut out for the fifth time in league play Friday, and sixth time overall, as freshman goalie Adam D’Alba made 24 saves in a 3-0 Brown victory at Messa Rink.

The six shutouts overall ties a team record for the Dutchmen (11-18-1, 7-11-0 ECACHL), which has lost eight straight league games. Union was blanked six times in a season in 1992-93 and 2001-02. The five league shutouts in one short of the team record, also set in 2001-02.

Since starting 6-0 in ECACHL play, Union has gone 1-11. During the league slide, the Dutchmen have been outscored, 45-9.

The power play has been awful. After going 0-for-7 against Brown (13-7-3, 8-6-2), Union has just two power-play goals in its last 76 attempts in ECACHL play. That includes a skid of 32 straight power plays without a goal.

It’s becoming an all too familiar refrain for Union, which scored four goals against Holy Cross last week.

“When guys slump, you try to stay with them, and stay behind them,” Union coach Nate Leaman said. “They’ll get through it.”

It was D’Alba’s second shutout against Union this season. He stopped 36 shots in a 2-0 win at Meehan Auditorium Dec. 4.

“Most of the shots these two games have been real easy,” D’Alba said.

But two shots in third period were very difficult.

Trailing, 1-0, on a first-period goal by Brian McNary, the Dutchmen had a wonderful opportunity to get some goals with 12:50 left in the third period when they got a two-man advantage for 1:17.

Scott Seney and Joel Beal had great chances to tie it. Both players had D’Alba down, and had openings in the upper part of the net.

Seney had a shot from the bottom of the left circle. Somehow, D’Alba got his blocker on it.

“I saw nothing but net, and just shot for it,” Seney said.

“He’s a goalie that’s usually on the ice and plays his angles. I tried to shoot up in top left-hand corner, and he just made a great save.”

Seconds later, Beal came in from the left point and fired. Again, D’Alba flicked out the blocker to rob the Dutchmen.

“I tried to go upstairs, and I didn’t get it high enough,” Beal said.

After killing off the five-on-three, Jeff Prough scored with 7:15 to give Brown a two-goal advantage. Mike Meech’s power-play goal late in the third sealed the win.

But it was D’Alba’s stops that turned the tide for Brown.

“I thought he a huge save,” Brown coach Roger Grillo said.

“Certainly, I thought that was a key point in the game because it [could be] a tie game, and we may press a little bit and get a little nervous and anxious. But I thought our guys handled it pretty well.”

Notebook: Union has four games left in the regular season. Next weekend, the Dutchmen play at Colgate on Friday and Cornell on Saturday before wrapping up the season with home games the following weekend against Yale and Princeton. … Brown visits RPI for the Big Red Freakout! Saturday at 7 p.m. The game will be televised by CSTV. … With Clarkson’s 3-2 win over Vermont, the Dutchmen fell into ninth place, one point behind the Golden Knights for the final first-round home-ice berth. Clarkson plays Saturday at Dartmouth. … Les Haggett had two assists for Brown. … Union goalie Kris Mayotte made 28 saves. … The Dutchmen had just two shots on goal in the first period. They went nearly 18 minutes between shots.

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

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