SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — Union junior defenseman Brendan Milnamow saw Connecticut forward Andrew Olson carry the puck toward the Huskies blue line. With the Dutchmen on the power play, all Olson had to do was shoot the puck out of the zone.
But his attempt to skate it out was thwarted by Milnamow. He knocked the puck off of Olson’s stick into the right-wing corner. Jason Walters got to it, centered it in front to Adam Presizniuk, who tipped it past goalie Beau Erickson with 7:02 left in the third period.
That goal not only started Milnamow on a career night, it helped the Dutchmen snap a 1-1 tie and go on to a 4-1 non-conference college hockey win over the Huskies on Friday at Messa Rink.
Milnamow, a Windsor, Conn., native, had a three point game. He assisted on Josh Coyle’s goal with 2:18 left, and then sealed the win on an empty-net goal with 3.7 seconds left.
“He’s been playing great,” Union coach Nate Leaman said of Milnamow. “He had a great tournament up in Canada. He’s really turned the corner this year.”
Instead of shooting the puck, Olson skated to his left, just above the right circle. Milnamow reached out with his stick, and the puck was gone from Olson’s stick.
“Since we were on the [power play], I wanted to be aggressive,” Milnamow said. “I don’t why he didn’t try to shoot it out. I just got my stick on it, and kept it in.
“They got caught being too offensive on their [penalty kill]. We made them pay.”
Walters hustled to the puck. With the Huskies’ penalty-killing heading up ice, Walters made a perfect pass to Presizniuk, who was alone at the net. With one hand on his stick, Presizniuk redirected it into the net, giving the Dutchmen (5-8-3) a 2-1 lead.
“‘Wally’ made a good backhand pass,” said Presizniuk, who had a goal waved off in the second period. “It was out of my reach, so I used one hand to get it up there.”
On Coyle’s goal, Milnamow was alone at the left point when he sent the puck to the net. Coyle was by himself in front, and he tipped it past Erickson’s right pad.
With Erickson out for an extra attacker, Milnamow blocked a shot as time was winding down. He got the puck, and sent it into the open net. His previous career high for points in a game was two ‘ both assists ‘ against Princeton on Feb. 11, 2006.
Union outshot UConn (5-12-1), 42-16. But until that late third-period outburst, the Dutchmen struggled to bury quality scoring chances. Stephane Boileau gave Union a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal midway through the second period.
Seconds before Chris Spicer tied it for UConn early in the third period, Union’s John Simpson was alone in the slot when he shot the puck right into Erickson’s pads.
“I thought we needed a bounce to get one by their goaltender,” Leaman said. “I thought we were doing everything very well in the game. The shots were indicative of that. We just weren’t burying our chances. Give Erickson credit, he kept them in the game.”
Ken Schott covers college hockey for the The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y.