Forming a More Perfect Union
It’s not surprising to hear a coach talk about
frustration after a poor showing or while mired in a losing
streak. That is expected, and that’s why Nate Leaman’s statements
in regard to his team’s Oct. 29 win at UMass Lowell are
His frustration came from seeing so many things
that he liked, all demonstrated in the same game, from his
Union Dutchmen. What he liked best is that his team is starting
to understand that it can play well against any level of
“They’re learning that. The Lowell game was
frustrating as a coach. What I mean by that is the way we
played in the Lowell game was everything I envision wanting
this program to be,” Leaman said. “We were moving our feet,
we were tough to play against, we were finishing hits, we
didn’t give up a lot of odd-man rushes and we were creating
Last week he saw more of the good Union team
than the under-confident and inconsistent Union team. The
Dutchmen posted back-to-back wins over Princeton and Union
and maintained an undefeated home record at 4-0-1.
Union overcame adversity in Friday’s win.
They killed off a 3-on-5 short-handed situation that lasted
for 1:27 early in the first period and then got goals from
Josh Coyle and Jonathan Poirier to take a 2-0 lead.
“It could’ve been a big confidence thing,
especially because we had a rough weekend last week. We’re
a young team so our confidence can be shaky at times,” Leaman
said. “They came out and killed that and then Josh gets
a goal and Poirier gets a goal. Jon Poirier’s goal really
helped our confidence on the bench. The guys realized that
this team can be a good hockey team.”
In the third period, back-to-back major penalties
against Union defensemen for checking-from-behind overlapped
to create 2:05 of a two-man advantage and gave Princeton
a chance to rally from a two-goal deficit. The Dutchmen
killed both without allowing a goal (and their penalty kill
had struggled for most of the season) and it provided a
good start to the weekend.
Junior defenseman and co-captain Sean Streich
led a reduced defense corps through the final 16 minutes
of the third period and has been leading the team in the
dressing room. That dynamic can’t be underestimated since
leadership and a team-first attitude have been missing in
some recent seasons. The key to the locker-room unity is
a belief in what the coaching staff says.
“I think this is the best we’ve seen. We have
a lot of freshmen and they’re listening to us older guys
and the older guys are starting to lead by example,” Streich
said. “The bottom line is that we’re all trying to get on
coach’s page, listen to him, listen to the game plan and
follow them because they know how to win and that’s what
we’ve got to do.”
They’ve seen the positive results on the ice,
as was the case last weekend. And they’ve seen what can
happen when individuals don’t but into the team concept
in the form of one-sided losses against Colorado College,
Air Force, and St. Lawrence. Leaman knows and accepts the
challenge that he faces.
“As a young coach, coaching a young team,
it’s positive that you start to see the team the way you
envision it,” he said, “but it’s a matter of getting it
AND HEARD IN THE ECACHL
Moving forward – Seeing
Princeton play is a bit metaphorical. When they’re on the
ice, Tiger players are always looking to move the puck forward.
If a Princeton defenseman corrals a dump-in along the boards,
rarely will he loop back behind the net to set up a breakout.
The immediate reaction is to head man the puck and get it
to a forward in the neutral zone with speed. The Tigers
play the game in straight lines. It’s a north-south style
of play that was introduced by coach Guy Gadowsky last season
and Princeton’s system is fun to watch.
The same can be said for how Gadowsky sees
the Tiger program evolving. He wants it to move forward,
and signs of progress are evident.
“It’s actually very good. We really like the
atmosphere and the culture that we’re trying to create in
the locker room and I believe very strongly in the guys
we have. It’s such an impressive group of guys,” Gadowsky
He has a young foundation to work with, as
just four of the 18 skaters in last week’s lineups were
seniors. Significant contributions have come from younger
players, but Gadowsky continues to search for the right
combinations. He re-assembled the top line of Darroll Powe,
Grant Goeckner-Zoeller, and Patrick Neundorfer for Saturday’s
game at Rensselaer.
“We’ve really played some good hockey for
being early in the year,” Gadowsky said. “The guys that
we have are very hard-working and they stick together.”
Great Weekend Getaway
at Cornell (Sat.)
The interest in this game comes from the
current state of the teams. Can Union continue its
good play at a hostile rink? Will Cornell rebound
from a clunker at Dartmouth last weekend? Last year,
Union played well in a loss at Lynah. They’re
looking to reverse that result this time.
While You’re There: Feeling
ambitious? Then start the day at noon in Schenectady,
where the undefeated Union football team opens the
NCAA Division III playoffs against Cornell's next-door
neighbor, Ithaca College. Take time to marvel at the
efficiency of a 32-team postseason format spread over
four weeks in November and December.
Well done, Union defense quartet of Sean Streich, Mike
Harr, Brendan Milnamow, and Michael Beynon.
After your defense corps was reduced to four due to
checking-from-behind majors, you kept things simple,
reduced shift times, and were a steady presence in
defending a lead for the last 15 minutes of last Friday’s
win over Princeton.
…and another stick salute to
CN8 for the webcast of Tuesday’s Harvard-BC
game and bringing college hockey into the
office of a Central New Yorker…
which I saw some questionable defense by the
Boston College Eagles. All four of Harvard’s
goals were scored within a 10-foot radius of the top
of the goal crease, and the four goal scorers were
hardly even bothered. It’s a basic hockey strategy
– cover the guy in front of the net –
and one that BC’s players were probably well-schooled
on during practice this week.
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• After just two full weekends of ECAC
Hockey League play when most teams have played only four
league contests, not a single team is undefeated in the
ECACHL and Yale is the only team not to have earned a win
in league play.
• When Dave McKee was pulled from the
game 4:09 into the second period of Saturday’s game it was
the first time in his Cornell career that he was yanked
due to poor performance. He sat out roughly nine minutes
in his sophomore year and 13 minutes in his freshman year
as backups played a cameo role in Big Red wins.
• It appears that goalie Kevin Ackley
is ready to return to the St. Lawrence lineup after injury,
but he’s having trouble getting back on the ice due to capable
play from Justin Pesony. He’s started nine straight games
and has a 7-2-0 record with a 2.56 goals-against average.
• The goaltending situation at Yale
is getting a little clearer. All three goalies – Josh Gartner,
Matt Modelski, and Alec Richards – have seen significant
playing time thus far. Richards, a freshman, got the start
on Saturday and played well in a 4-2 loss to Clarkson.
• Colgate, Clarkson, and Harvard rank
third, fourth, and fifth in the nation in scoring. All teams
are averaging at or over 4.00 goals per game. Colgate is
also eighth in scoring defense, allowing just 2.11 goals
against per game.
• The Raiders can maintain or extend
their lofty national ranking in those categories if they
can take advantage of a substantial homestand. They have
six straight home games over the next three weeks. Seven
of Colgate’s first nine games were played on the road.
• Dartmouth made a statement with a
6-1 win over Cornell. Don’t be fooled by the 0-4-0 start
to the Big Green’s season. They are a team to be feared
and coaches around the league respect their talent and depth
and know that they’ll be among the top teams at the end
of the season.
• Quinnipiac headed in the other direction
with losses to Rensselaer and Union after winning its first
two ECACHL games. The offense might be to blame. They scored
twice against RPI and were shutout by Union after entering
the weekend averaging 4.4 goals-per-game.
• Brown and Harvard play a Sunday matinee
and fans across the nation can see it on ESPNU. Unfortunately,
if you hope to pick it up on satellite at a local sports
bar, you will probably be vetoed by NFL action.
A variety of sources were utilized in
the compilation of this report.