by Ryan Fay
SCHENECTADY -- Forget about collapsing in the third period.
On Tuesday night, Union saved its best for last.
The Dutchmen scored three goals in the final period to roll to a 4-1 win over Harvard at Messa Rink. Union, which won its second game in a row, had gone six games without even one third period goal.
Before Union broke out in the third, their powerplay opened the scoring late in the second. Harvard's Luke McGregor was called for holding at 16:19 and Max Novak cashed in at 17:27 to make a 1-0 game.
"Novak was real patient and made a great play with that spinaround shot," said Union defenseman Mat Bodie, who picked up his first of three assists on the goal. "It was Matt Wilkins in front and I don't think their goalie saw it."
The Union powerplay, which ranks first in the country at 26.4%, hit paydirt again on Union's first goal of the third. Union had a 5-on-3 opportunity at 7:36 when Luke Greiner was whistled for high sticking on a delayed hooking penalty on Mitchell Everson.
Wayne Simpson capitalized and made the Crimson pay, putting Union ahead, 2-0, at the 8:12 mark. It was his team-leading twelfth goal of the season and eventually proved to be the game winner.
"Not many players can make the play Mat Bodie did to get it to me," Simpson said of his teammate. "He drew some of the guys out, so it was pretty much me. I was looking for the pass initially, but I found a spot to put in, and luckily it just snuck in the corner."
Jimmy Vesey, Harvard's star freshman, made it a 2-1 game with just over nine minutes left in regulation.
"There was a little life on the bench when we scored," Harvard head coach Ted Donato said.
But Union's lead quickly grew back to two, 3-1, when Wilkins provided some breathing room with his second goal of the month at the 13:35 mark.
"Like my first goal, it was kind of weight off the shoulder," the freshman said after the game. "It's not as if I've been lacking opportunities, but they haven't been going in. Hopefully this one will get me going."
Said Bodie of the goal, "it was huge for us. I think that was the one where we felt 'alright, I think we have this one under control.'"
Bodie, who is four points from setting the school record for points by a defenseman, drew praise from Union head coach Rick Bennett.
"He's been doing the little things that the coaching staff has been showing and that tells what type of leader he is," Bennett said. "His defensive play the past two games has been dynamite. And his offense tonight was the benefit of that."
What wasn't praiseworthy was Union drawing a penalty for too many men on the ice for the third straight game.
"One of our guys had a foot over," Bennett said. "He was coming back hard, but our guy jumped forward. It's going to be a tough skate on Thursday -- for the coaching staff as well. It's a team penalty and the coaching staff is going to be held accountable just as much as the players are."
Daniel Carr's empty net goal with 19 seconds left in the game made it a 4-1 lead for Union, which outshot Harvard, 38-23, on the night. Troy Grosenick added 22 saves in the winning effort.
The Dutchmen resume play on Saturday night in a non-league contest against rival RPI at the Times Union Center.
Don't expect injured forward Josh Jooris to play in Saturday's game.
"It doesn't look great," Bennett said after the game.
Jooris was banged up in the third period of Saturday's win over Colgate and missed his first game of the year on Tuesday.
"It's upper-middle body. Could be lower-body for all I know. It's somewhere in the body. That's all I know at this time," Bennett coyly added.
Harvard vs #19 Union (Jan 22, 2013 at Schenectady, NY)