Roundup: Union Rallies Past Quinnipiac to Move Into First Place
Yale, Merrimack Strong in Ties
CHN Staff Report
RPI's Brock Higgs scored a highlight-reel goal in a 5-2 win over Princeton.
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Union overtook Quinnipiac for first place in the ECAC with a 6-4 win Saturday. It marked a weekend sweep for Union, which defeated Princeton on Friday.
"I want to embrace the fact that we're still growing as a program," Union coach Rick Bennett said. "You're going to need these type of wins along the way. I thought tonight was a great test of moving forward in a positive direction. ... We faced a ton of (adversity) tonight."
Union put the puck into its own net to make it 2-2 in the second period. With the goalie pulled for an extra skater on a delayed penalty, defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere managed to put one in his net. Later, however, Gostisbehere saved a goal on the defensive end, and the Dutchmen overcame the play.
"We all make mistakes, and he responded and he saved a goal," Bennett said.
Quinnipiac regained the lead with two goals early in the third period, but gave the lead right back less than a minute later. After killing off a 5-on-3, the Bobcats eventually allowed the go-ahead goal.
"I thought we stunk tonight. I thought we were absolutely atrocious," Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said. "Running around, our 'D' didn't do what they were supposed to do, our forwards didn't do what they were supposed to do. We blew two backchecks, blew a faceoff coverage, it was chaos. Really disappointing."
The freshman class was all over the scoresheet for Union, including two goals and an assist from Eli Lichtenwald. Lichtenwald helped set up the game winner, with 5:29 remaining, on a give-and-go with Matt Wilkins, who buried it.
"(Daniel Carr) made great play on the blue line to get the puck in," Wilkins said. "I just grabbed it, and lucky that Eli's 6-7 because I passed it a little far in front of him, but he made a great backdoor pass to me, and I was lucky enough to get a stick on it."
"This was the one that we wanted, to prove we're a team to be reckoned with. Not just in the ECAC but the national level as well."
Quinnipiac bounced back a number of times in the game as well, but it was little solace to Pecknold.
"We stunk. We probably should've lost six or seven nothing," he said. "We lost focus, we lost commitment. That's not how we're supposed to play. But in the end, it's a teachable moment."
Yale and Harvard played to a 2-2 tie, despite a 54-27 shot edge for the Bulldogs. It was a bounceback effort for Yale, which lost to Dartmouth on Friday.
“We came out ready to play tonight,” Yale coach Keith Allain said. “Our energy was fantastic and our work ethic was really good. It was a 2-2 tie, but I think we were the better hockey team for most of the game. It just seemed like we couldn’t catch a break.”
Harvard took a 2-0 lead despite what seemed to be a territorial edge after two periods. But Yale rallied in the third.
“We were upset. We sat in silence for a while and then rallied around each other,” Yale's Matthew Beattie said. “Coach came in and got us pumped up for the third.”
Matt Killian's first goal got Yale on the board. Kenny Agostino tied it with just over five minutes remaining in regulation. Beattie assisted on both goals, his first two assists of the season.
“(Beattie) made a nice pass to me down the wall. It looked like a two-on-one was developing," Agostino said. "Once I saw their D pick up the other driving guy, I just shot for the five-hole. I tried to throw them off and it worked.”
Yale killed off a late penalty to preserve the tie.
“Our attitude and character were fantastic tonight," Allain said. "When you are playing as hard as we were playing and you're down, it’s easy to say it’s just not our night. As a result, we were able to scrape out a point.”
The teams will next play a non-league game Jan. 11 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
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Merrimack freshman forward Chris LeBlanc scored early in the second period, as the Warriors got three points out of a home-and-home weekend with Boston University.
Seeking its first-ever weekend sweep of BU in program history, Merrimack held a shot attempt advantage of 27-4 at one point in the second period.
BU's Matt O'Connor, however, posted a 38-save performance to limit the Warrior offense. Meanwhile, Merrimack's Rasmus Tirronen finished the game with 23 saves, including several acrobatic ones down the stretch to keep the Terriers from stealing the game late in regulation and in overtime.
Merrimack failed on three power-play attempts in the third period that could've won it.
"(This weekend) we took a step towards being the team we need to be to have success," Merrimack coach Mark Dennehy said. "I think this weekend can be something to build on."
BU played a game last week against Cornell when it outshot 39-11, but won the game.
"I made a joke at the end of the second period," BU coach David Quinn said. "I looked at our shot total and said, 'Hey, we're pouring it on, we got 5.'"
Sean Maguire was supposed to get the start in net for BU, but is still dealing with lingering back issues, Quinn said.
"I feel good where we stand," Quinn said. "Not an excuse but we're young."
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Boston College senior Kevin Hayes provided the game-winning goal late in the second period, the fifth of his career, and added an assist to lead all point scorers in a 2-1 win over New Hampshire. Boston College swept the weekend series, winning 6-2 on Friday.
Johnny Gaudreau extended his point streak to 11 games (10-10—20 in that span), helping out on Bill Arnold's third goal of the season at 16:07 of the first period. He had a goal and an assist on Friday.
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Rensselaer topped Princeton, 5-2, led by a highlight-reel goal from Brock Higgs.