SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — Friday’s game at Messa Rink featured two of the nation’s top ranked power-play teams, as Union’s No. 1 unit went up against Yale’s third-ranked squad. Neither team disappointed as both squads notched two power-play tallies.
But, it was Adam Presizniuk’s even strength goal in the latter portion of the second period that lifted the Dutchmen to a 3-2 upset win over top-ranked Yale.
“They embarrassed us the last time at Ingalls,” Union goaltender Keith Kinkaid said after picking up 28 saves. “It feels good to get the win here with our fans, they support us very well.”
“They’re a good hockey team, and I think we have a good hockey team,” Union head coach Nate Leaman added. “It was a great hockey game.”
“We didn’t play well enough to win tonight,” Yale captain Jimmy Martin said after the game. “They made us pay.”
The Dutchmen had the majority of the prime scoring chances in the opening frame, and converted on one opportunity when their power-play unit took the ice for the first time.
With 9:12 left in the period Yale’s Kevin Peel was assessed a hooking penalty. It only took Union 13 seconds to convert as Josh Jooris fed classmate Daniel Carr at the left circle, who corralled the puck and fired a shot short-side past the glove of Yale goaltender Ryan Rondeau.
Carr’s 10th power-play tally of the season is a Union record for most by a freshman.
“I think for our power play the key is to go out there and out work them,” said Carr. “I think as a five man unit, when we out work them we’re successful.”
“The first goal was big for us just to get the first one, get on the board, and get our confidence going,” said Leaman.
Special teams highlighted the second period as each team netted a power-play goal.
Union scored the period’s first goal right off the faceoff following Jesse Root’s interference penalty. Kelly Zajac won the faceoff to Wayne Simpson, who set up to the right of Zajac, where he proceeded to quickly wrist a shot past Rondeau just two seconds into the man advantage.
But, Yale cut the Union lead in half with a power-play tally of their own just a few minutes later when Brian O’Neill carried the puck down the right boards into the Union zone and slid a pass to Kenny Agostino, who was streaking down the middle of the ice. The pass was right on Agostino’s tape, which made it easy for him to one-touch the puck through the legs of Kinkaid.
The goal is Agostino’s fourth in three games.
“The defenseman stepped up, and [Agostino] did a good job of going to the net and putting his stick on the ice,” said O’Neill.
But, Union had the final say of the period when they doubled their lead on Presizniuk’s eventual game-winning goal 40 seconds after Agostino’s goal.
The goal was initiated on a pass from behind the Yale net by Kelly Zajac, who found Presizniuk standing untouched at the left circle. Presizniuk received the pass and ripped a one-timer past Rondeau.
“[Zajac] had a great look there and I just wanted to get the puck on the net. I caught Rondeau when he was down a little bit, got the puck on the net, and it went in,” said Presizniuk. “I think anytime Yale gets a goal the momentum is going to shift a bit, which is why you need to keep things simple, get pucks deep, and get it to the net.”
But, the Bulldogs once again cut the deficit in half towards the beginning of the final frame thanks to another power-play goal, this time by Martin.
Fellow senior Denny Kearney set up the play as he carried the puck to the left of Kinkaid. He spotted Martin streaking down from the point and fed him the puck in the slot where he lifted the puck past Kinkaid.
Yale built off of Martin’s goal and dominated the rest of the third period as they continuously pinned the Dutchmen in their zone. But, they were unable to put the puck past Kinkaid, who saved his best period for last.
“In the third period I thought momentum swung their way and our goaltender played well,” said Leaman.
With 1:13 to go, Rondeau was pulled in favor of an extra attacker in an attempt to apply more pressure on the Union net. The Bulldogs swarmed the Union net, but Kinkaid and the Dutchmen defense were able to keep the puck out of the net and secure the upset victory.
“It was a great win for our program,” added Leaman. “But, equally important is how we play tomorrow night because we put together a good win and now we have to back it up.”
Tomorrow night Union welcomes in Brown, while Yale travels down Route 7 to take on RPI in the Big Red Freakout.