SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — After losing three straight one-goal games at Messa Rink, and facing a 10th-ranked Clarkson team that had the nation’s longest current unbeaten streak, Union needed some kind of spark.
Goalie Justin Mrazek and forward T.J. Fox provided that spark.
Mrazek made 32 saves, and Fox scored the game-winning goal 1:04 into overtime Saturday to give the Dutchmen a 2-1 ECACHL victory that ended the Golden Knights’ 10-game unbeaten streak.
Union (4-8 ECACHL, 11-11-2 overall) had dropped 3-2 decisions to Harvard two weeks ago, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute last Saturday and St. Lawrence on Friday.
“I really like this team,” Union coach Nate Leaman said. “It’s been frustrating because this is a very good hockey team. We just haven’t had the results to show for it in the league. Out of league, we’ve done great.
“Hopefully, we can use this as a spark to light the fire within the league. I told the guys in the locker room [Saturday] morning the propane gas is leaking right now. We just need the spark. If we get the spark, we’re going to catch fire.”
Mrazek was on fire all game. He was brilliant over the second and third periods, stopping 21 shots.
His best save came midway through the second period during a Clarkson power play. Mrazek quickly slid to his left to make a pad save on a one-timer by Chris D’Alvise from about five feet out.
“He’s unreal,” Union forward Torren Delforte said. “He’s been playing awesome lately. All through practice, he’s been working hard. It’s just coming together.”
Mrazek credited his defense with making things easy for him against the Knights (6-3-2, 14-6-3).
“I think the difference was I could see most of the shots, where as [Friday] night, [St. Lawrence] did a better job of getting in front,” Mrazek said. “Our ‘D’ did a great job tonight of taking the guys out in front, and letting me see everything. That makes all the difference in the world to a goalie.”
The Dutchmen didn’t wait long to put the game away in OT.
Josh Coyle started the game-winning play, sending the puck to Delforte in the neutral zone. That created a two-on-one break. Delforte skated down the left wing, and had Fox on his right. As Delforte got to the left circle, he sent the puck over to Fox.
Fox, who leads the ECACHL in scoring lead with 29 points, got the puck on his backhand. He quickly moved it to his forehand and lifted over goalie David Leggio for his 11th goal of the season.
“Josh made a strong play on the boards, and won the battle and poked it up to Torren,” Fox said. “We were using our feet, and beat their guys up ice. He made a nice pass, and I buried it, somehow.”
Clarkson coach George Roll credited the Dutchmen with making a great play, and was also pleased with his team’s performance.
“We have nothing to hang our heads about,” Roll said. “We played a hell of a hockey game. It could have gone either way.”
Ken Schott covers college hockey for The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y.