SCHENECTADY, NY - After a two-game series sweep of Penn State, No. 7/8 Union (8-2-1, 3-1-0 ECAC Hockey) turns its attention back to league play this weekend, as the Dutchmen will take on red-hot Quinnipiac (8-3-2, 4-0-0 ECAC Hockey) and Princeton (3-4-1, 2-1-1 ECAC Hockey) at Messa Rink.
The Bobcats enter the weekend in the midst of a six game unbeaten streak (5-0-1), earning a 2-2 tie at Massachusetts on Nov. 24 in their most recent contest. Quinnipiac has been one of the top defensive teams in the nation early this season, allowing 1.77 goals/game (T-3rd NCAA). The Bobcats have allowed two goals or less in each of the last seven games.
After a series sweep at home against Cornell and Colgate on Nov. 9-10, Princeton has gone 1-2-1 in its last four games, including a 3-1 loss at UMass-Lowell in its last contest on Nov. 24.
»Last Time Out
On Sunday, sophomore defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere scored a go-ahead power play goal at 3:23 of the third period to lift Union men's ice hockey to a 4-1 win over Penn State in front of 1,512 fans at Messa Rink. Junior goaltender Troy Grosenick returned from a lower body injury and made 37 saves to earn the win in net for the Dutchmen.
Grosenick's counterpart, Penn State's Matthew Skoff was outstanding in net for the second consecutive night, stopping 42 shots. Sophomore forward Mark Bennett and junior forward Daniel Carr added third period goals, while sophomore forward Daniel Ciampini had a goal and an assist, scoring in the opening frame for the Dutchmen, who notched four goals in a contest for the seventh time in 11 games this season.
»A Nice Birthday for Ciampini
On Sunday, sophomore forward Daniel Ciampini celebrated his 22nd birthday in style, scoring his fifth goal of the season in the first period of a 4-1 win over Penn State. Ciampini added an assist on sophomore defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere's game-winning goal of the third period.
»Kyle Bodie Off To Impressive Start
Senior forward Kyle Bodie is off to an impressive start for the Dutchmen, leading Union in scoring with 15 points (three goals, 12 assists) in 11 games. Bodie is third in the nation with an average of 1.09 assists per game, and has recorded a point in all but two games this season.
»Home Is Where The Heart Is
Since the start of the 2010-11 season, the Dutchmen have an impressive record (25-4-6) in their last 35 regular season home games at Messa Rink. Not including exhibition contests, the Dutchmen are 153-138-45 all-time at home. Union has been even more dominant in ECAC Hockey play at Messa Rink. Over the past two plus seasons, the Dutchmen have compiled a record of 17-3-3 in ECAC Hockey regular season home games.
»Gostisbehere Emerging As Top Offensive Defenseman
Sophomore defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, tied for third on the team in scoring with 10 points (four goals, six assists), has emerged as one of Union's top offensive defenseman this season.
In fact, his offensive contributions can be traced back to the second half of the 2011-12 season, as Gostisbehere has recorded 23 points (6 goals, 17 assists) in his last 27 games since Jan. 27, 2012.
»Shorthanded Scoring Binge
Union leads the nation with five shorthanded goals in 11 games this season after junior forward Matt Hatch's shorthanded goal on Nov. 10 against Dartmouth.
On Oct. 12, in a 5-3 win at Bowling Green, the Dutchmen scored two shorthanded goals on the same penalty kill in the third period, as Kyle Bodie scored at 6:22 and junior defenseman Mat Bodie notched another goal at 6:21 to give Union a 5-2 lead.
It was just the fourth time since Nov. 30, 2002 that Union has scored two shorthanded goals in a game, and the first time since Jan. 14, 2012 in a 5-1 win over RPI.
»Union in ECAC Hockey Play
Union, the defending Cleary Cup and Whitelaw Cup champions, has won three of its first four games in ECAC Hockey play this season to continue an outstanding run of success in conference play. Union has picked up 34 of a possible 44 points in its last 22 league games (15-3-4) dating back to Nov. 12, 2011, when the Dutchmen fell 4-0 at home against Yale last season.
»The Union-Quinnipiac Series
Union and Quinnipiac will meet for the 23rd time on Friday night and Union owns a 10-9-3 series mark. The Dutchmen are 7-1-2 in the last 10 meetings, and are 3-0-2 in the last five regular season contests. On March 12, 2010 and into March 13, 2010, Union and Quinnipiac played the longest game in NCAA history, timing in at 150:22. The Bobcats' Greg Holt netted the game-winner at 1:03 a.m. in the fifth overtime, giving his team a 3-2 victory in the opening game of the ECAC Hockey quarterfinals, a series that the Dutchmen would go onto win in three games.
Top Players (2012-13 stats): Sr. F Jeremy Langlois (6 goals, 5 assists), Sr. F Clay Harvey (8 assists), Sr. F Jordan Samuels-Thomas (3 goals, 4 assists) Jr. F Connor Jones (3 goals, 1 assists), So. F Matthew Peca (3 goals, 1 assists), Jr. F Kellen Jones (1 goal, 4 assists), Sr. D Loren Baron (2 goals, 2 assists), Sr. G Eric Hartzell (12 GP, 8-2-2, 1.56 GAA, .927 Save %)
Top Departed Players: Sr. F Scott Zurevinski (5 goals, 14 assists), Sr. F Yuri Bouharevich (6 goals, 11 assists), Sr. F Spencer Heichman (7 goals, 6 assists), Sr. G Dan Clarke (14 GP, 8-3-0, 2.37 GAA, .895 GAA)
Synopsis: A dangerous team in 2011-12, Quinnipiac returned all of the key cogs that helped the Bobcats earn a fifth place finish in ECAC Hockey and an overall record of 20-14-6. With head coach Rand Pecknold back in the fold after a brief courtship with UMass this summer, the Bobcats are poised to contend for the Cleary Cup after getting off to a solid 4-0-0 start in league play. Bowling Green transfer Jordan Samuels-Thomas helped the Bobcats overcome an early-season injury to Connor Jones. Quinnipiac has also emerged as a strong defensive squad, allowing just 1.77 goals/game (T-3rd NCAA).
»The Union-Princeton Series
Union is 7-2-1 in the last 10 meetings with Princeton and 13-5-2 in the last 20. The final meeting of the 2011-12 season was the 50th all-time between the two schools and the 47th in Union's Division I history. Union leads all-time series between the two schools at 23-22-5. Union holds a 22-20-5 advantage in the DI era. Union is 12-8-3 against Princeton at Messa Rink.
Top Players (2012-13 stats): So. F Tyler Maugeri (5 goals, 6 assists) Jr. F Andrew Calof (3 goals, 7 assists), Jr. F Andrew Ammon (5 goals, 4 assists) Sr. D Eric Meland (7 assists), Sr. D Michael Sdao (2 goals, 3 assists), Sr. G Mike Condon (3-4-1, 2.75 GAA, .904 Save %)
Top Departed Players: Sr. F Marc Hagel (7 goals, 11 assists), Sr. D Derrick Pallis (2 goals, 12 assists)
Synopsis: Princeton finished 11th in ECAC Hockey a season ago with a young rebuilding corps after losing eight seniors from a 2010-11 squad that finished tied for 4th in ECAC Hockey. Princeton has shown flashes this season, including a two game sweep at home against Cornell and Colgate on Nov. 9-10.
But Princeton has had trouble keeping the puck out of its own net, allowing three or more goals in six of eight games this season for a scoring defense that ranks T-40th in the nation (3.00 goals allowed/game). The Tigers returned most of the key players from a season ago, including two of the more talented contributors in the league in Calof and Sdao and have benefitted from the surprising start of Maugeri, who has already surpassed his point total from a season ago.