Heading into Saturday night’s game against the Rochester Institute of Technology, the Union offense had been finding the back of the net constantly at their home rink. In just three home games this season, the Dutchmen had already scored 23 goals against visiting opponents. Things didn’t change tonight, as Union kept up the pace with seven goals in a 7-2 rout of the Tigers.
“Union has a really good team and are very skilled,” said RIT coach Wayne Wilson. “They’re very dangerous and are going to have a very good year.”
The Union power play was in perfect rhythm in the first period, as they capitalized on three of their man-advantage opportunities to take an early 3-0 lead. The Dutchmen would never look back.
“Just the fact that we got down so early hurt us,” Wilson said. “That was the game for us. There was nothing to get excited about after that.”
Union’s first goal came just 2:44 into the game, thanks to a five-on-three advantage and some tic-tac-toe passing. The play was initiated by Kelly Zajac, who from the top of the left circle passed the puck to Adam Presizniuk at the right post. Presizniuk corralled the puck and quickly slid it across the crease to Wayne Simpson, who deposited the puck into the open net.
RIT was unable to kill their next penalty, as the Dutchmen struck once again. Union’s Mat Bodie assisted on the play when he passed the puck from the left point to Stephane Boileau at the hashmarks. With no one around him, Boileau took his time and fired a shot past the glove of RIT goaltender Josh Watson.
Union created a three-goal cushion on their next power-play opportunity when Presizniuk tipped in a Nolan Julseth-White shot from the left point.
“Even though we didn’t have a great first period, the special teams really got us going,” Simpson said. “Right now we’re really clicking.”
“Our power play was lights out tonight like it’s been all year,” Presizniuk added. “We are just capitalizing on our chances.”
The Dutchmen extended their lead early in the second frame when freshman Matt Hatch scored his first career goal. Kevin Sullivan created the play when he dug the puck out from behind the net and flung the puck to Hatch, who was waiting in the slot. Hatch then skated to his right and lifted a backhand shot past Watson.
“It feels pretty good to get the monkey off my back,” Hatch said. “Sullivan got it right to me, right on my stick.”
Presizniuk put his team up five goals when he scored his second goal of the night on a redirected shot from the left point.
Union extended their lead to seven in the first half of the final period thanks to goals from Hatch and Andrew Buote. Buote’s goal was set up by Hatch when he flew down the left side of the ice and passed the puck in front of the net to Buote, who one-timed the puck past new RIT goaltender Shane Madolora.
“Matt made our staff look good by putting him in there,” said Union coach Nate Leaman. “He came in and gave us a lot of energy and won a lot of races.”
RIT’s Tyler Brenner spoiled Keith Kinkaid’s shutout bid with two power-play goals late in regulation.
The Dutchmen will next take the ice on Thursday when they welcome in UConn to Messa Rink, while the Tigers will return home for a matchup with Robert Morris.