by Ryan Fay
IN A NUTSHELL
Union blanks Clarkson, 4-0, in the regular season finale in front of 2,371 fans at Messa Rink.
BYE, BYE, BYE
With the win, Dartmouth's 4-1 loss to Quinnipiac, and RPI's 4-1 victory over St. Lawrence, the Dutchmen clinched a first round bye and enter the league playoffs as the fourth seed behind Quinnipiac, RPI, and Yale. Union returns to Messa Rink to face a yet to be determined opponent during the weekend of Mar. 15-17.
"It's one of those where anyone would take it," head coach Rick Bennett said of picking up the bye. "It means we can get some players back healthy. Everybody has played so much this year, so it's refreshing to have it. We have to make the best use of it. I thought we did last year, but we have to continue to do what has worked for us this year. Last year is last year, so we have to worry about this year."
RISING TO THE OCCASION
With Troy Grosenick on the sidelines following an injury sustained in Friday's 5-1 win over St. Lawrence, sophomore Colin Stevens stepped in and stopped all 24 shots that came his way. It was Stevens' third shutout of the season and first since blanking Penn State, 2-0, on Nov. 24.
Grosenick was listed first on the line chart released earlier Saturday, which usually indicates a start, but Bennett said Stevens was the guy all along.
"I had a pretty good idea that I was going to be playing after what happened [to Grosenick] last night," Stevens said. "I went about it like any other game. Preparation is huge and I'm glad we got the two points."
Grosenick's status for the playoffs is to be determined.
LIGHTING THE LAMP
With five goals Friday and four more Saturday, Union scored nine goals over the weekend. It marked the best offensive output for a single weekend since scoring 11 goals in a sweep of RPI Nov. 2-3.
"Overall balance on the lines," Bennett said when asked about the increased offensive production. "It was really nice to get three lines going and the fourth line put up some productive shifts. [Fourth liner] David Roy is going to be a heckuva player for us. Once he gains a step here and there, it's really going to help us for the future. [Fourth liners] Sam [Coatta] and Cole [Ikkala] did a tremendous job."
100 POINT CLUB
With an assist on Josh Jooris' third period goal, junior Daniel Carr became the 10th player in the program's Division I era to reach the 100 career points milestone. Senior Wayne Simpson joined the exclusive club earlier this season.
Postgame ceremonies were held for the five seniors on the roster. Greg Coburn, Wayne Simpson, Kyle Bodie, Ryan Forgaard, and Shawn Stuart will be graduating this spring. With two more wins, the group will go down as the winningest class in program history.
"Since I've been here, it seems like senior night has been a great night all around," Bennett said. "It's nice that our guys played so tremendously hard for our seniors. That's what we ask as a coaching staff -- to play as hard as you can for them. Not that you're playing any different, but there's always something extra you like to give seniors... a nice going away present, per se."
WEEK TO WEEK
Sophomore defenseman Charlie Vasaturo was injured in the first period of Friday's win and is considered to be "week to week." The blueliner has two goals and two assists in 20 games this season.
Information on playoff tickets can be found here.
1. Stevens - The Niskayuna native came through in a pinch and helped Union clinch a first round bye in the ECAC playoffs.
"He had a great game tonight and I'm really happy for him," Bennett said.
2. Kevin Sullivan - The junior scored two goals for his first multigoal game of the season. Sullivan played his best hockey as the regular season drew to a close with three goals and three assists over the final nine contests.
"The first [goal] was basically all Hatch using his speed coming in," Sullivan said. "Just threw it in front and luckily it went on my stick. I took a couple whacks and it went in."
As for the second goal, "Carr and Jooris were working it pretty well up top," Sullivan added. "I just got a lucky bounce on my stick."
When asked for a reason behind the late season scoring surge, the forward said "bigger games, I guess."
3. Carr - The forward had two assists, both in the third period. The second helper was the 100th point of his Union career.