SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — It was a good night to be a goalie at Messa Rink.
Union’s Corey Milan and Dartmouth’s Mike Devine put on a show Saturday. Milan made 32 saves, while Devine stopped 40 shots as the Dutchmen and Big Green played to a 0-0 ECAC Hockey tie.
It’s the first scoreless tie for Union since Feb. 26, 2005, against Princeton. It was the Dutchmen’s third scoreless tie in their 17-year NCAA Division I history. The other one was at Army on Nov. 4, 1995.
The last scoreless tie for Dartmouth (3-10-3, 8-11-4) was against Maine on Nov. 27, 2004. It was the Big Green’s seventh scoreless tie all-time.
“It was a goaltenders’ duel,” Union coach Nate Leaman said. “Corey played great. It’s a great sign for us.”
The tie helped the Dutchmen (7-5-4 ECACH, 12-10-5 overall) gain ground on fourth-place Cornell for the last ECACH tournament first-round bye berth. Union is now one point behind Cornell, which dropped a 4-2 decision to St. Lawrence. Union plays at Cornell on Friday.
With a combined 72 shots, it certainly didn’t seem like the game would end without a goal scored. Both teams had numerous quality scoring opportunities. And both teams had key players missing. Union’s Josh Coyle had the flu, while Dartmouth leading scorer J.T. Wyman was out with an injury.
“For a 0-0 game, I thought there was a lot of great saves, and some really good offensive plays,” said Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet, who was a goalie for the Big Green. “The action was end to end. There was a lot of good hitting, and a few penalties. I thought it was an exciting college hockey game.”
Milan, a freshman, earned his first collegiate shutout. He preserved it when he made a shoulder save on Kyle Reeds from the left side with five seconds left.
It was more remarkable since he stumbled as he was moving to his right. He recovered in time to stop the shot.
After the final buzzer sounded, Milan was bent over. But he said later he was
“I came out of the net, and I think I was too antsy,” Milan said. “I just blew a wheel there. It was nice to make the save.”
Devine, who shut out Union, 4-0, on Nov. 9 in Hanover, N.H., saved his best effort for the final 1:40 of the third period. Union fired seven shots on him, all tough ones. Devine stopped them all, including three by Matt Cook.
“It was kind of fun,” said Devine, who has a shutout streak of 130 minutes, 52 seconds against Union. “I was just reacting to the play. We didn’t clear the zone, but I was able to see the puck and it didn’t go in.”
Cook was frustrated. Earlier in the third, he hit the post on a one-timer off a Jason Walters pass from the left-wing boards.
“It doesn’t feel good,” Cook said. “It feels like you let the team down because we worked so hard for those chances. We have to capitalize on them.”
With six games left in the regular season, Leaman has an interesting decision to make with his goalies. He pulled starter Justin Mrazek after allowing two goals in the first period of Union’s 3-2 loss to Harvard on Friday. Milan stopped 48 of 49 shots over the weekend.
Leaman wouldn’t commit to naming Milan his No. 1 goalie.
“I’m going to evaluate that this week,” Leaman said. “Obviously, we have six games left, and going on the road [next week]. We’ll have to see.”
Ken Schott covers college hockey for the The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y.