ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Union came into its game at RIT with three consecutive ties. The Dutchmen made sure, very early — on their first shot — they had no intention of extending that streak to four.
The Dutchmen scored four first period goals, three on the power play, en route to a 5-0 win over the Tigers. In total, the revolving door on RIT’s penalty box resulted in seven power plays for Union, who had the best power play in the nation last year.
“We had a spirited morning session, and the guys responded well,” Union coach Rick Bennett said. “We showed a lot of pride tonight. That’s what we were looking for as a team.”
“We got beat by a better team,” RIT coach Wayne Wilson said. “I thought Union played really well. Their first and second efforts were very good. They got a lot of pucks to the net.”
The scoring started 25 seconds in. Wayne Simpson was left to his own desires on the left wing. He walked it in, putting the shot past Ruby glove side.
Five minutes later, a scramble in front of the net resulted in Union’s second score. Ruby lost his stick, allowing Jeremy Welsh to easily put in a rebound on the power play.
Union scored on another extra man advantage about 10 minutes later. Mat Bodie got one of the more painful assists when Shayn Gostisbehere’s shot from the point hit him in the back of the leg. With Bodie hunched over in pain, Kelly Zajac swooped in to fire the puck past Ruby, who lost sight of it.
The Dutchmen notched their final goal of the opening period on a two-man advantage with 14 seconds left. Great puck movement gave Welsh the opportunity to blast a one-timer from the top of the right faceoff circle, which Ruby had no chance at.
“We were fortunate to get some power plays really early,” Welsh said. “Once we got our five-on-three, that’s my shot, so I just got it off, and it found the back of the net.”
“Obviously, that took control of the game, us scoring a few power-play goals,” Bennett said. “The PK did an excellent job as well.”
Welsh also hit the post during the game, just missing notching a hat trick.
The second period went by without any scoring, despite four more power play opportunities by Union.
Union appeared to have taken a 5-0 lead early in the third period when a shot was mishandled by Ruby, trickling across the goal line. However, the ref had blown the whistle, thinking Ruby had control of the puck before it came loose.
It did become 5-0 at 5:30 with a wraparound tally by Josh Jooris.
Scott Knowles almost broke the shutout in the waning minutes with a breakaway, but Troy Grosenick was equal to the task.
“It’s you versus him,” Grosenick said. “Luckily, I came out on top.” Grosenick stopped all 23 shots for the sophomore’s first career shutout.
“We’re really happy for Troy,” Bennett said. “He played an excellent game. By resting him last night, he was the freshest guy on the ice. He showed it tonight.”
“The guys played great ahead of me,” Grosenick said. “Shutout is just the icing on the cake.”
This was RIT’s worst Division I loss, and they have yet to score a goal at the Frank Ritter Ice Arena this season, totaling 125 minutes.
Is Wilson worried about the lack of scoring?
“Not yet,” he said. “It’s funny how those things work. The next game could be a big scoring game. We’ve got to work hard to get our goals. We can’t be pretty and hope things happen.”
It was an inauspicious collegiate debut for freshman Jordan Ruby, letting in the first shot he faced. He wound up making 39 saves on 44 shots.
“He faced a lot of shots,” Wilson said. “I thought he settled down and competed really hard. It was a difficult situation.”
Union (2-0-3) stays out of conference next weekend, traveling to New Hampshire on Friday and then hosting AIC on Saturday.
RIT (1-2-1) returns to Atlantic Hockey play for awhile. Next up is a trip to Mercyhurst on Friday.