SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — Mario Valery-Trabucco was expected to contribute to the Union offense in his first season with the team. Goalie Rich Sillery was a late addition to the Dutchmen’s 2006 recruiting class, and was going to have to battle junior Justin Mrazek and fellow freshman Shaun Williams for playing time.
Both players had major roles Friday against Army.
Valery-Trabucco had a goal and two assists, and Sillery made 23 saves for his first collegiate win to lead the Dutchmen to a 4-1 victory over the Black Knights at Messa Rink.
Valery-Trabucco, who had a goal disallowed early in the second period when the net came off of its supports, is the Dutchmen’s top freshman scorer with four goals and four assists.
He scored the game-winning goal early in the third period when he redirected a Brendan Milnamow pass from the left circle past goalie A.J. Drago. Valery-Trabucco, who had an assist on Jeff Christiansen’s power-play goal late in the second, positioned himself in the slot when T.J. Fox skated down the right wing and sent a backhand shot wide of the net. The puck then came to Milnamow.
“Fox had a lot of speed coming down the side, so I figured I crash the net and see what happens and get a shot of the rebound came out,” said Valery-Trabucco, who came to Union from Northwood Prep. “It ended up missing me, but the puck came right out to Milnamow. He put it right on my tape. It was a beautiful pass.”
Valery-Trabucco made a great pass on Matt Cook’s goal with 6:13 left in the game that sealed the win. Leading a two-on-one rush into the Army zone, Valery-Trabucco feathered a pass to Cook, who skated down the slot and beat Drago with a backhander past the stick side.
Union coach Nate Leaman is expecting great things from Valery-Trabucco.
“I feel with him and Jason Walters, we have two freshmen who can contribute offensively,” Leaman said. “I feel that they are as good as any freshmen in the league. Tonight, Mario really stepped us his game when we needed some guys to make some plays. He made some great plays.”
Sillery, who was making his second start of the year, kept the Dutchmen (4-3-2) in the game in the first period. Union, playing its first game since Nov. 4, came out slow and was outshot, 11-3. Sillery made six of those saves during Army’s second power play of the period.
“The more you feel the puck on your pads early, the more comfortable you feel as the game goes on,” said Sillery, who played at Gilmour Academy last season. “I definitely had confidence from that. I was just fortunate enough on one of those that it caught my pad right at the end.”
Leaman credited Sillery with keeping the Dutchmen in the game with his first-period performance.
“I thought Rich played a very good period the first period,” Leaman said. “You could tell we’ve been off 2 1/2 weeks. We didn’t have much rhythm, we didn’t have much urgency at all. He kind of held us in there, and made some real good saves.”
With Williams having left the knee a few weeks ago because of knee problems, Sillery and Mrazek will share the playing time.
“I started [Sillery] because he had a great week of practice,” Leaman said. “I felt confident in him in his week of practice, and I think the team did, also. It’s a big boost for our team just to have him play the way he played.”
Fox had a goal and an assist for the Dutchmen. Mike Schreiber added two assists. …
Sillery lost his shutout with 8:46 left in the game when Owen Meyer tipped a Tim Manthey left-point shot into the net for a power-play goal. …
The Dutchmen host 14th-ranked Massachusetts on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Ken Schott covers college hockey for The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y.