SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — The day will come when the Union men’s hockey team consistently capitalizes on its scoring opportunities.
Until that happens, the Dutchmen must avoid short defensive lulls that cost them leads.
Yale scored two goals in just over a minute midway through the third period to erase a 2-1 Union lead. But freshman Stephane Boileau’s power-play goal enabled the Dutchmen to earn a 3-3 tie Saturday at Messa Rink.
It was the second straight tie for the Dutchmen (0-0-2 ECACH, 2-2-2 overall); Union tied Brown 2-2 on Friday.
Chris Potts’ goal midway through the second gave Union a 2-1 lead, and Union carried that advantage into the third, but Yale (0-0-2, 1-1-2) started to get the Dutchmen running around in their zone, and their effort led to two goals in 1:13.
Jean-Francois Boucher got the first one at 10:56 when his wrister hit goalie Corey Milan and slowly got past him. Referee Bob Ritchie blew his whistle a split-second before the red light went on, but the goal stood.
“It got me in the middle of the arm,” Milan said. “I thought I squeezed it, but it trickled through. I never felt it drop out. It was a tough break.”
The Dutchmen nearly broke the tie under a minute later on a three-on-one when Mike Schreiber slid the puck to Josh Coyle on the right wing, but Yale goalie Billy Blase stuck out his left pad to stop the shot.
It was Yale that would break the deadlock. At 12:09, Denny Kearney spotted an unchecked Tom Dignard coming in from the right point. Dignard took Kearney’s pass and rifled it over Milan’s glove.
“I thought we got on our heels a little bit in the third period, and they came at us,” Union coach Nate Leaman said. “It was the same against RPI [last Friday]. We had a two-minute stretch where we didn’t quite execute.”
However, the Dutchmen executed at the right time to get the tie.
With Ryan Donald off for high-sticking, Jason Walters sent a shot to the net from the high slot. Boileau was in the perfect spot in front and tipped Walters’ shot over Blase with 6:02 left for his first collegiate goal.
“Matt Cook did some great work behind the net,” said Walters, who gave Union a 1-0 lead midway through the first period. “He didn’t have an assist on the play, but that goal was created by his down-low work. Josh [Coyle] got it up to the point, and [associate] coach [Rick] Bennett has been stressing to get shots on net when you need a goal. There’s nothing wrong with putting the puck on net and getting a couple of bounces. Stephane gets a big first [career] goal for us.”
The Dutchmen outshot the Bulldogs, 37-23. It’s the fifth time this season they have had the shots on goal advantage, but it hasn’t always translated into victories.
“Going into the third period, we should have a better lead than 2-1,” Leaman said. “It’s a game of opportunities. Our opportunities aren’t going in right now. This a very hard-working bunch that makes a lot of plays; the puck’s just not going in the net right now. The big thing is, we can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We have to buckle in and get better.”
Ken Schott covers college hockey for The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y.