CANTON, N.Y. — One streak continues and another ends.
It’s all good for Union.
The Dutchmen overcame a sloppy first period, and set a team record for longest winning streak in their Division I history Friday when they took a 3-1 ECAC Hockey victory over St. Lawrence at Appleton Arena.
It was the seventh straight win for the Dutchmen (6-3-2 ECACH, 11-8-3 overall), breaking the team record of six, first set Dec. 21, 1996-Jan. 10, 1997, and tied Nov. 5-20, 2004. With losses by Quinnipiac and Michigan, Union is tied with Colorado College for the nation’s longest unbeaten streak. CC is 6-0-1 in its last seven.
“It’s huge,” said Dutchmen forward Torren Delforte, who scored the game-winning goal at 6:59 of the third period. “This is a tough place to play in. You have to do the little things right. You’ve got to be flying. It’s a little barn, and a great crowd. Everything’s against you.”
The win also ended a six-game losing streak to the Saints (4-7-2, 9-12-3).
“I was very proud we won the game, because this isn’t an easy building to go into and win,” Union coach Nate Leaman said. “I personally think it’s the toughest in the league because coach [Joe] Marsh has them going, and they always have good teams.”
The way they played in the first period, it looked like the Dutchmen were in for a long night.
They played the opening 20 minutes like they had just gotten off the bus after a four-hour trip from Schenectady. They were a step slow, there was no aggressive forecheck and they did not create many scoring chances.
Jordan Hack scored off a rebound off a Aaron Bogosian right-wing shot to give the Saints a 1-0 lead late in the first. The Saints could have had more than one goal if not for goalie Corey Milan, who made nine saves.
“I thought, to start the game, we were tentative,” Leaman said. “I thought we fought the puck all night.”
The second period was a different story. Union came out aggressively, which has been a trademark of its winning streak. It paid off with the tying goal.
After Saints goalie John Hallas stopped consecutive shots by Josh Coyle and Jason Walters, the Dutchmen kept up the offensive pressure. Mike Schreiber faked a shot from the left point, stepped around a St. Lawrence defender and skated to the left point.
Schreiber then slid a pass to Matt Cook in the slot, and he fired it past goalie John Hallas. That ended a scoreless streak of 83 minutes, 39 seconds against Hallas, who shut out Union, 4-0, in the Governor’s Cup third-place game Oct. 27.
Then it was freshman Justin Pallos’ play less than seven minutes into the third period that helped give Union the lead.
Taking a Schreiber outlet pass from the Union zone, Pallos got past Saints defenseman Shawn Fensel along the left-wing boards near the Dutchmen bench. Pallos skated into the Saints zone, and found Delforte flying down the slot. He slid the puck to Delforte, who redirected it underneath the crossbar to make it 2-1.
“Schreiber just threw it up the wall, and I beat the [Fensel] to the puck,” Pallos said. “Torren was yelling the whole way. He made a great play.”
For Delforte, it was his first game back, and the goal felt good. He had missed the last three games with an undisclosed injury.
“It’s awesome,” said Delforte, who had a potential second goal waved off with 9:53 left when he knocked it in with a high stick. “It feels good to be back with the team.”
Jason Walters sealed the win on a goal with 1:10 left. Hallas was heading for the bench for an extra attacker when Walters got the puck at the Union blue line and fired it dead center into the open net before Hallas could get back.
“I thought they played with a great sense of purpose, and really play hard,” Marsh said. “They play their system to a ‘T.’ They deserved to win.”
Ken Schott covers college hockey for the The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y.