College Hockey:
Union Tops Lowell

Valery-Traucco's two tallies buoy Dutchmen

— Union coach Nate Leaman and UMass-Lowell coach Blaise MacDonald saw their teams play well in spurts Friday at Messa Rink.

The Dutchmen dominated the opening period. The River Hawks had control of the final 40 minutes.

But Union did just enough to snap its four-game losing streak. Mario Valery-Trabucco scored twice as the Dutchmen held on for a 4-3 non-conference win over the River Hawks.

Union (6-7-2) had the first six shots on goal of the game. At one point in the first period, the Dutchmen had a 14-3 shot advantage. They ended the period outshooting the River Hawks (3-9-4), 15-4, and taking a 1-0 lead on Josh Coyle’s power-play goal with 4:10 left.

More importantly, Union stayed out of the penalty box in the first.

“I thought in the first period, we played our game plan to a ‘T,’” Leaman said. “We played well. I thought it came a little bit too easy for them.

“Because it came too easy to us, we started to fall asleep mentally.”

After Valery-Trabucco scored 2:04 into the second period to make it 2-0, Union ran into penalty trouble. The Dutchmen took four straight penalties, and the River Hawks, who had 11 freshmen in the lineup, started to take control. Cleve Kinley scored on one of Union’s penalties, at 13:46.

Valery-Trabucco got that goal back for Union late in the period, firing a wrist shot over goalie Carter Hutton’s right shoulder and off the crossbar.

“The first period, we were doing things well,” said Valery-Trabucco, who had his second two-goal game of the season. “We were forechecking hard. The puck was on our sticks. We were doing good. We kind of thought to ourselves, ‘It’s coming easy to us.’”
Even though Union had a two-goal lead after two periods, UML had a 10-4 shot advantage.

“That’s kind of the trials and tribulations of a young team,” MacDonald said. “We haven’t quite captured the idea that there’s 60 minutes in a game. The entire year, we’ve played surprisingly well in spurts, and then we find ways to beat ourselves.”

UML did everything it could to cut into Union’s lead. The River Hawks had the first 12 shots on the third period, but nothing got by goalie Justin Mrazek.

Union didn’t get its first shot of the third until there was 6:46 left. The Dutchmen scored on it. Jason Walters skated down the right wing and threw a backhand shot on net that slipped through Hutton’s pads.

“We got off to a really good start,” Walters said. “We took them a little bit for granted after the first period.”

That goal proved to be the game-winner. Kory Falite scored twice in a 3:35 span for the River Hawks, who outshot the Dutchmen, 19-5, in the third, and 33-24 for the game. They had the pressure on the Dutchmen in the final minute. But Mrazek, who made 30 saves, preserved the win.

“We were opportunistic,” Leaman said. “Because we had the lead, we didn’t have to press quite as hard as they did. It wasn’t pretty, but we got the win.”

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

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