SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — It was a powerful night for Union junior forward Olivier Bouchard, and it helped the Dutchmen to their first win of the season.
Bouchard scored three goals, all on the power play, and finished with four points, leading the Dutchmen to a 5-2 nonconference win over Sacred Heart on Friday at Messa Rink.
It was Bouchard’s first career hat trick. He became the 12th player in Union’s Division I history to record a hat trick. Bouchard is the second player to have a hat trick against Sacred Heart. Jordan Webb did it in a 4-3 overtime victory over the Pioneers Jan. 23, 2004.
Bouchard was modest about his accomplishment, and happier about the way the Dutchmen (1-2) rebounded from last weekend’s poor showings in the Ice Breaker Invitational, in which they were beaten by Colorado College, 6-1, and Air Force, 9-2.
“Honestly, it doesn’t mean anything,” Bouchard said. “We were very frustrated the whole week in practice. The whole point was to show that we could rebound as a team.”
After Jonathan Poirier gave the Dutchmen a 1-0 lead 90 seconds into the game when he stole the puck from Pioneers defenseman Noel Henck and beat goalie Jason Smith, Bouchard went to work. Lane Caffaro sent the puck from the top of the slot to Bouchard down low to the right of the net during a four-on-three advantage. Bouchard’s tip was stopped by Smith, but Bouchard put home the rebound midway through the first period.
Bouchard got lucky with his second power-play goal 2:23 into the second. He tried to pass the puck to Josh Coyle at the left of the net, but the puck hit a Sacred Heart stick and went in.
“Josh was all alone on the other side,” Bouchard said. “[When] it’s a good day, it’s a good day.”
Bouchard completed his hat trick at 6:14 of the third period. Again, he was to the right of the net when he sent the puck to Michael Beynon at the right point. Beynon’s shot was wide, but the carom came right to Bouchard, who slipped it past Smith.
“[The key] was getting big bodies to the net like ‘Bouch,’” said Beynon, who also assisted on Bouchard’s second goal.
Bouchard had a chance to become the first Division I Dutchman to score four goals in a game when the Pioneers (0-1) pulled Smith for an extra skater with 1:23 left.
Bouchard chased after a loose puck in the Sacred Heart right circle, but was knocked off by two Pioneers defenders. Still, Bouchard got the puck to Scott Seney, who scored the empty-netter with 48.9 seconds left.
“I was seeing Seney behind me,” Bouchard said. “I was trying to take on two guys on the open-net goal. I was hoping to beat them with my speed.”
Overall, Union coach Nate Leaman was happy with the Dutchmen’s performance.
“We didn’t talk about winning or losing,” Leaman said. “We talked about how we wanted to play the game, and how we wanted to work. I thought the guys had their feet moving all night. I thought they played really well.”
Union hosts Connecticut at 7 p.m. Saturday. … Seney had two assists on Bouchard’s last two goals. … Bernie Chmiel and Chris Connerty scored for the Pioneers. … Smith, a New Jersey Devils draft pick, made 33 saves. Union goalie Kris Mayotte stopped 24, including 13 in the third period.
Ken Schott covers college hockey for The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y.