SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — Another night, another controversial goal at Messa Rink.
This time, it came out in Union’s favor.
Adam Presizniuk batted the puck past goalie Bud Fisher with 2:07 left in the third period Saturday, lifting the Dutchmen to a 3-3 ECAC Hockey tie with 16th-ranked Quinnipiac at Messa Rink.
Union (7-4-3 ECACH, 12-9-4 overall), which is 8-1-1 in its last 10 games, is in fifth place. The Dutchmen are a point behind Princeton and Quinnipiac for third place, two back of second-place Cornell and four behind league-leading Clarkson.
Down 3-2 with 2:13 left and a faceoff in the Quinnipiac zone, Union coach Nate Leaman took a timeout and pulled goalie Corey Milan for an extra skater.
Stephane Boileau won a left-circle faceoff and drew the puck to Mike Schreiber in the high slot. His wrist shot deflected up in the air at the net. Bobcats’ defenseman Dan Henningson knocked the puck down with his glove, and then Presizniuk hit it home. Referee Bob Ritchie immediately signaled a goal. Quinnipiac (7-3-4, 15-7-4) protested, claiming Presizniuk hit it with a high stick.
“From what I saw from my perspective, [Boileau] won the draw back,” Schreiber said. “I had a lane to the net, so I shot it. After I shot it, the lane closed up. I saw everyone jamming around the net. The puck was fluttering around, and I saw it was around the goalie’s hip height. I then saw ‘Pres’ bat it in. It was great hand-eye coordination by him because the level of skill he has to bat that puck in the air.”
After Ritchie consulted with his assistant referees, the call stood.
“I don’t know how, but it got knocked up five or six feet,” Presizniuk said. “I was just waiting for it to come down. I remember a defenseman batting it with his glove, and I hit it with my stick. It was above the waist … but it was below the crossbar.”
In Union’s 4-3 win over Princeton on Friday, the Tigers’ Brett Wilson fired a shot past goalie Justin Mrazek in the final seconds and made a loud ‘ping’ sound, but the red light never went on, and play continued until the final buzzer sounded. After talking it over with assistant referee Stephen Shufelt, referee Dan Murphy ruled it a goal, and 10.8 seconds were put back on the clock.
Leaman credited Ritchie for being in proper position to make the call.
“The official was right on the play,” Leaman said. “That was the difference between tonight’s goal and last night’s goal. Ritchie was right on it. He was literally three or four feet from it. Once he pointed it a goal, I knew it was a goal. I had complete confidence in it.”
Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold didn’t see it that way.
“I thought it was a high-stick,” Pecknold said. “The ref has the final decision, and he felt it wasn’t.”
Presizniuk’s goal marked the second time Union rallied to tie the score. Defensemen Brendan Milnamow and
Schreiber scored 1:23 apart midway through the third period to erase Quinnipiac’s 2-0 lead. Jamie Bates scored both goals.
Bryan Leitch regained the lead for the Bobcats with 8:10 left. He nearly won it for the Bobcats 2:10 into overtime, but Milan stopped his shot from close range.
“We feel good about our tie,” said Milan, who made 22 saves. “We showed a lot of character in the third coming back twice.”
Ken Schott covers college hockey for The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y.