SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — A baseball play set the tone for a dominating performance by the Union Dutchmen on Friday against Clarkson.
Chris Potts swung and, in effect, hit a homer when he swatted a puck past goalie David Leggio 14 seconds into the game. Just over two minutes later, Scott Brady scored, and the Dutchmen
were on their way to a 5-0 ECACHL victory over the 14th-ranked Golden Knights at Messa Rink.
The Dutchmen extended their record-setting home-ice unbeaten streak to 11 games (7-0-4). They are also 2-0-2 in their last four games overall.
Goalie Kris Mayotte stopped 33 shots to record his fifth shutout of the year, setting a single-season Union record. The previous mark was four, set by Trevor Koenig during the 1996-97 season.
It is also the first time that Union (4-3-2 ECACHL, 11-8-4) has ever shut out Clarkson (5-3-1, 12-7-2).
“This was a team that ended our season last year [in the ECACHL tournament],” said Mayotte, who has 10 career shutouts. “Obviously, we remember that. We wanted to go out and jump on them early like we did against Harvard and Dartmouth [last weekend].”
Potts played catcher and second base at Tabor Academy, and he said he hit over .400. He looked like an excellent hitter when he scored his goal. Michael Beynon’s right-point shot deflected off goalie David
Leggio’s stick and hit high off of the glass behind the net. The puck caromed to the left side of the net, where Potts was positioned. With one swing of his stick, and making sure that it was below his shoulders and the goal post so that it was legal, Potts batted the puck behind Leggio.
“[Playing baseball] really helped on that first goal,” Potts said. “I was just sitting there, waiting. Time seemed to slow down on that one.”
Then, 2:19 later, Jonathan Poirier made a nice pass off the right-wing boards in the neutral zone to Scott Brady, who had just come onto the ice from the Union bench. Brady skated past the Clarkson defense, got to five feet from the net and beat Leggio with a wrist shot to the stick side.
The Dutchmen continued to pepper Leggio the rest of the period, but couldn’t get another puck by him.
“I thought our start the first 10 minutes put them on their heels,” Union coach Nate Leaman said. “I felt that helped us a lot. I was proud of the way we played. We got some puck luck tonight.”
In a game that featured 22 power plays, Union scored the only man-advantage goal. T.J. Fox fired a wrist shot from the slot past Leggio 1:13 into the second period.
Mayotte was outstanding in the third period, making 13 saves. He made several stops during two Clarkson power plays when Knights coach George Roll pulled Leggio for an extra attacker, giving them, in effect, a two-man advantage.
“He’s just rock solid,” Leaman said. “He’s so compact right now. He’s playing great. As I said last week, he has to be our best player if we’re going to win.”
The Knights nearly ruined Mayotte’s shutout bid with 2:37 left in the game. The puck was bouncing around behind Mayotte in the crease. The goal judge turned the red light on, signaling a goal. After a short delay to confer with the goal judge, referee Peter Feola ruled no goal.
“I know the puck came to my right, and made a pad save,” Mayotte said. “They shot [for the] five-hole. I thought I made another save. I looked over, and the puck is to the left. I dove over and covered it over there.”
Torren Delforte and Scott Seney each scored an empty-net goal in the third period to polish off the Dutchmen victory.
Ken Schott covers college hockey for The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y.