Postgame videos are below or at the link.
by Ryan Fay
IN A NUTSHELL
Union defeated Dartmouth, 4-1, in game one of the best-of-three ECAC quarterfinals.
Winning the first game of a best-of-three series is always important.
That wasn't lost on sophomore forward Daniel Ciampini, whose second period goal proved to be the eventual game-winner.
"It's huge," he said. "We've been itching to get going and dying to play. The guys have a lot of energy. Ask any of the guys in the locker room and they're up and ready to go. That was the case last week and all week this week in practice. It really showed tonight, especially in the first period. We came out guns firing."
In the opening 20 minutes, Union outshot Dartmouth, 15-7, and carried a 1-0 lead going into the second frame.
Following a one game absence with a lower-body injury, junior goaltender Troy Grosenick returned to action and piled up 31 saves in the winning effort.
Two of those saves were on breakways, one in the first period and one in the third.
"It was a weird bouncing puck that got through to [Dartmouth's Conor Dempsey]," Grosenick said of the first breakaway. "Breakaways are one on one battles and you have to have pride in that."
As for the second breakaway, Grosenick said Dartmouth's Tim O'Brien tried to beat him five-hole.
"That's a pretty smart play, actually," Grosenick said. "If you watch NHL breakaways, a lot of guys take quick shots and try to get it above the stick but below the pad and try to beat the goalie down."
"You talk about times of adversity and Troy came up big with two breakaway saves," Union head coach Rick Bennett said. "You're going to need that from your goaltender in the playoffs."
Daniel Carr scored two goals on the night, his 13th and 14th of the season. The second of two, at 9:14 of the third period, was the subject of much controversy.
The goal was momentarily reviewed to see if Matt Wilkins was in the crease, but it was eventually allowed.
Dartmouth head coach Bob Gaudet didn't agree with the final verdict.
"There was a guy standing in the crease and it's clear," Gaudet opined after the game. "It's evident. It's a call I like to have reviewed. I had to call a timeout to get it reviewed. There was a guy in the blue paint when the puck went in."
Bennett wasn't as sure.
"Sometimes you wonder with the rules here," he said. "Was he in the crease or was he not? Was he pushed in? Was he not pushed in? Whatever happens, happens, and we're going to respond in a positive way."
Carr was the recipient of a hard hit to the head in the third period courtesy of Dartmouth's Tyler Sikura, who was subsequently given a five minute major for contact to the head and a game misconduct.
After briefly staying down on the ice, Carr got up and returned to the game.
"I feel fine," Carr said after the game. "Hockey is a fast-paced game and stuff like that happens. I don't think it was anything personal. I just think it was part of the game."
"He's always battled through injuries," Bennett said of Carr. "He played with a broken bone in his wrist in his freshman year. That is one tough guy. It's amazing how you get rewarded for stuff like playing through injuries."
Bennett admitted Carr was "banged up" but said his forward wasn't seriously injured and "is good to go" for Saturday's game two.
Even though his club suffered a 4-1 loss, Gaudet isn't looking to make a lot of adjustments going into game two.
"We have to play the same way. We have to play hard," Gaudet said. "There's no secrets to this game. I've been a head coach for 25 years. The game is about winning battles, winning races, and getting pucks to the net. Every time we get a puck to the net, there are rebounds and we have to capitalize on those. It's a game of momentum."
With all Friday games final, Union rose one spot to 15th in the Pairwise.
NOT SO SPECIAL TEAMS
Both teams posted 0-fers on the power play. Union went 0-4 while Dartmouth went 0-3.
IN THE BOX
Sophomore forward Sam Coatta had zero penalty minutes in 22 games this season entering game one. He must have been in unfamiliar territory when he made not one, but two, trips to the box on Friday. He was whistled for hooking at 10:28 of the third period and roughing at the 18:48 mark.
WHERE WAS EVERYONE?
The announced crowd of 1,641 was the lowest home attendance figure since a Tuesday night game against Harvard drew 1,624 on Jan. 22.
The previous five home games drew over 2,000 fans each, including 2,271 to see Dartmouth play on Feb. 1. That game was televised nationally on NBC Sports Network. Friday's game was not televised.
The two teams meet again Saturday at 7 pm for game two. A win sends Union back to Atlantic City, New Jersey for the league semifinals next weekend. A loss forces a game three at Messa Rink Sunday at 7 pm.
1. CARR, UNION - Scored two goals, one to open the scoring at 9:46 of the first period and the aforementioned controversial tally in the third.
“I just rolled around,” Carr said of his second goal. “Mat Bodie drove through and took everyone at the net. It was a good play by him, and a good play by Josh Jooris and Wilkins to get to the net. I just threw it at the net, and it went in.”
2. GROSENICK, UNION - Returned to action while looking 100%.
3. CIAMPINI, UNION - His second period tally was the eventual game-winner and his first since Jan. 26 vs RPI.
"I was just lucky to be in the right spot at the right time," Ciampini said of his goal. "I just got it high enough over his pad for it to go in."
Union players Grosenick, Ciampini, and Carr
Union head coach Bennett
Dartmouth head coach Gaudet and forward Neiley
Union hits the ice for pre-game warmups