SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — The last time these two teams met it was the semifinals of the ECAC tournament and the Dutchmen advanced with a 3-1 victory.
From watching this game it looked like both teams thought they were back in Albany as both played very physical. There were a lot of hard hits and shoving after plays, not to mention nine penalties. At the end of the game, though, Union stood victorious again with another 3-1 win.
“Yeah, I guess there was a lot of energy carried over from [the semifinal] game,” said St. Lawrence head coach Joe Marsh. “The last two periods of that playoff game I thought we played really well, we just couldn’t put anything past Kinkaid, same thing tonight.”
Both teams started out the game strongly, combining for 26 shots on the period. Freshman goalie Matt Weninger played phenomenally for St Lawrence making some very acrobatic saves, but at the end of the period Union had the 1-0 advantage.
Justin Pallos scored the goal 5:06 minutes into the period. The chance started when Kyle Bodie intercepted the puck in St Lawrence’s zone and wristed a shot that whizzed past the goal and bounced back to a waiting Justin Pallos who pushed the puck into the net.
In the second period St Lawrence was able to tie it up.
With less than a minute left in the period St Lawrence came roaring into Union’s zone after a turnover. With a quick pass, Greg Carey found himself in front of the net and flicked a shot into the top left corner for the goal.
Less than four minutes into the third period Union took back the lead with what wound up being the game winning goal. On the goal Adam Presizniuk fought for the puck in the corner and found a wide open Kelly Zajac in the center of the ice. After a quick pass Zajac shot it above the glove of Weninger to give the Dutchmen the 2-1 advantage.
“We had pretty good momentum. We were starting to build some energy on the bench and getting a little better management on our shifts. Then all of a sudden their guy came right down the gut,” Marsh said.
With the assist Presizniuk became Union’s all-time leader in points and assists in their D-1 era.
“It feels good. It is just great to be back playing. It is always in the back of your mind so it is kind of nice to just get it over with. I knew it would come if I just kept working on it,” said Presizniuk.
“It is nice for him to get that point because he is basically playing with a cast on his hand and it is tougher for him to generate now, but you know it was nice to see. He is getting better every day and it is well deserved by him,” Leaman added.
Union put the game away with 54 seconds left in the game as Kyle Bodie scored an empty net goal. Bodie received the puck and placed it between two defenders to have it sail into the net and give the Dutchmen the 3-1 victory.
The big story line in this game was the play of both penalty kill units. Union came into the game with the nation’s top ranked power play unit, but all three of their power play opportunities were killed off by St Lawrence’s penalty kill unit. Even more impressive was the Dutchmen’s penalty kill unit which killed all six power play opportunities the Saints had in the game.
“Our penalty kill and goaltending were excellent, and they needed to be. I thought it was Keith’s best game in his last 10 and I thought our penalty kill came up big,” Union head coach Nate Leaman said. “Our forecheck was a lot better tonight and it allowed us, when we did get into our zones, it allowed us to have a little more energy.”
“I thought we played hard and I thought we played pretty well. Just not consistent enough to win against a real good team like this in their building. That is taking nothing away from them. They did a great job and played extremely well,” Marsh added.
St Lawrence continues their road trip tomorrow against RPI while Union stays at home to take on Clarkson.