Ryan’s late goal wins it for Union

Fresh­man’s first tally of sea­son on 2-on-1 break wins it in third pe­riod

Albany Times Union - Sunday - - SPORTS - By Ja­son Franchuk Sch­enec­tady

Union hockey team­mates prepped Michael Ryan for his first postgame me­dia ses­sion Satur­day night, after the fresh­man be­came the game-win­ning hero.

“Just keep say­ing ‘Me, me, me’ and ‘I, I, I’,” one Dutch­men play­fully chided out­side the locker room. Ryan had no part in that kind of talk.

The fi­nal goal was more than enough for him. Ryan’s early third-pe­riod net finder came in a 3-2 win in front of an amped-up crowd (2,088) at Messa Rink. It broke a 2-all score and Union, which played with­out sur­ren­der­ing a power play in the fi­nal 20 min­utes, capped a per­fect week­end while snap­ping a two-game los­ing streak to Clark­son.

“You try not to think about that (in­di­vid­ual) stuff when you play,” Ryan said. “Just put the team first. But get­ting it off your back is def­i­nitely big. And in a big game like that, it’s def­i­nitely a pretty nice night.”

The mem­ory came with 14:41 left in the third pe­riod off a 2-on1 break up the right wing with Zachary Emelifeonwu as his mid­dle man.

Now, Ryan — a fresh­man from Mar­ion, Mass. — has a sou­venir. Team­mate Brendan Tay­lor re­trieved the puck from the net while the rest of the team cel­e­brated along the boards near Union’s bench.

“I’ll find a place in my dorm for it,” Ryan said with a smile.

Union had plenty of rea­sons to en­joy his suc­cess, which re­ally came from strong team play through­out — es­pe­cially in the se­cond pe­riod.

Union posted its first two goals in the se­cond pe­riod. It has a team-best 13 in that pe­riod, com­pared to a to­tal of 10 in the first pe­riod and eight (in­clud­ing this game’s win­ner) in the third pe­riod in the early stages of the sea­son.

Sure, it could just be co­in­ci­dence. But it’s worth not­ing Union (6-2-1, 2-2-0 ECAC) didn’t score in the se­cond pe­riod in ei­ther of last week­end’s losses to RPI. They had five this week­end, count­ing Fri­day’s 4-1 vic­tory against St. Lawrence.

Union coach Rick Ben­nett chalked it up to fo­cus­ing on bet­ter starts of pe­ri­ods, and be­ing a more dis­ci­plined team in general.

“When we play hard, fast and smart,” Ben­nett said, “I think we’re a fun team to watch.”

Union had its first two scores against Clark­son come on power plays. Ryan Walker scored dur­ing an early ad­van­tage and Brett Supin­ski also tal­lied his third goal of the sea­son at the 10-minute mark after Clark­son found it­self down two play­ers after calls of too many play­ers on the ice, then a hold­ing penalty 1:13 later.

Of course, it’s worth not­ing Union’s power-play de­fense held up in the se­cond pe­riod de­spite three penal­ties. The last two came at 17:04 and 18:28, but the Dutch­men sur­vived the re­main­der of the pe­riod and the early stages of the third.

Clark­son tied the score at 2 (Nico Sturm’s fourth goal this sea­son) with 16:42 left in the game on a quick break­away right after it sur­vived a power play.

But Union an­swered with a shot-block­ing men­tal­ity, and Ben­nett praised his group for be­ing “good and not cute” when Clark­son was an­gling for shots near the blue line.

Ryan’s score came after a phys­i­cal de­fen­sive stand by a team­mate along the boards un­leashed a rapid-fire fast break.

Lead­ing by a goal, Union wasn’t threat­ened much in the fi­nal 14:41 un­til Clark­son started pulling its goalie with about two min­utes left.

But Jake Kup­sky (13 saves) was up to the task on a rel­a­tively quiet night when Clark­son (4-3-0, 1-1-0) posted five shots in each pe­riod. Union had 29, in­clud­ing a 23-10 ad­van­tage across the fi­nal two pe­ri­ods.

“We stayed with it in the third,” Ben­nett said. “We didn’t take a penalty, which was key. We tried to stay de­tailed and dis­ci­plined, and I thought we did that.”

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