SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — After a five-game hiatus, Union’s power play came back to life.
After not scoring a power-play goal in their last 33 opportunities, the Dutchmen connected not once, but twice in the second period on Saturday against 18th-ranked Harvard.
Matt Cook and Lane Caffaro got those goals, Luke Cain assisted on both of them and later scored an even-strength goal that sealed the Dutchmens 3-1 ECAC Hockey victory over the Crimson at Messa Rink.
In ending a seven-game winless streak (0-6-1) against Harvard at Messa, the Dutchmen scored their first power-play goals since they got two in the opening game of the season against Quinnipiac.
Since Stephane Boileau’s power-play tally in overtime against Quinnipiac Oct. 17, the Dutchmen went through a prolonged dry spell with the man advantage.
The low point came Friday against Dartmouth, when the Dutchmen (1-1 ECACH, 4-2-1 overall) went 0-for-11.
“It’s been frustrating because, even [Friday] night, we had 12 created scoring chances, and we weren’t really popping them,” Union Coach Nate Leaman said. “Part of that was Dartmouth had such a great kill. It was good for us to get the power play going [against Harvard].”
The Crimson (2-2, 2-2) got their power play going at 9:10 of the second when Alex Killorn poked a loose puck past goalie Corey Milan. It would be the last shot they would get the rest of the period; the Dutchmen had the final 17 shots.
Harvard took five straight penalties, and Union, which had 15 power-play shots in the second, capitalized.
Cain set up the first power-play goal. Carrying the puck into the Harvard zone, Cain cut from the right wing to the left circle and fired a shot that was kicked out by goalie Matt Hoyle. The rebound landed on Cook’s stick in the right circle, and he fired it home at 11:16.
“It was near the end of a shift, and I was kind of tired,” Cain said. “I thought I would throw the puck on the net. It’s never a bad play.”
Caffaro scored his power-play tally on a two-man advantage late in the second. He sent a hard wrist shot from the top of the left circle over Hoyle’s right shoulder.
Cain’s goal with 7:30 left clinched the win.
Harvard coach Ted Donato wasn’t around to see the final 39.3 seconds. He was ejected after Killorn’s apparent short-handed goal was waved off after a video review. Referees Andy O’Brien and Richard Patry ruled that Doug Rogers knocked down Milan before the puck went into the net. However, the replay appeared to show the puck was past Milan’s right shoulder before Rogers made contact.
Donato argued vehemently, and was tossed.
“From my eyes, the puck was in the net before there was any infraction,” Donato said. “To me, that was the case.”
Ken Schott covers college hockey for The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y.