Cranberry Township, PA- On October 25th, the Huskies blew out the Boston College Eagles by a 7-0 score. It seemed that everything they threw at the Eagles net seemed to find its way in. Admittedly, the score was not really indicative of the game as the Eagles did put forth a competitive effort. After Friday’s game, the Huskies can now sympathize with Boston College after getting blitzed 7-2 by #14 ranked Union College in the opening contest of the Three Rivers Classic College Hockey Tournament. Due to a scheduling conflict with the PPG Arena’s main tenant, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Huskies and Dutchmen were relegated to the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, the Penguins practice facility for the tourney’s opening game. With the atmosphere more like a scrimmage than a regular season game, the Huskies fell behind early, could never gain any scoring traction and lost only their second game of the 2018-19 season. Coincidentally, the team (Union College) that broke college hockey’s longest undefeated streak (SCSU) also defeated the team (Northeastern University) twice that handed the Huskies their only previous loss. In the end, kudos to a Union College team that despite being on the short-end of every statistical category in this game dominated in the only category that counted – number of goals. In a game to forget for college hockey’s third ranked defense, they skewered SCSU’s starting goalie, David Hrenak for six goals on 19 shots ultimately chasing him from the game after 41:32 of play. The loss positioned the Huskies to face tournament host, Robert Morris University on Saturday at 4:00 PM CT for the opportunity to earn some redemption after a forgettable opening game.
In a fairly even first-period of play, the Dutchmen finally opened the scoring with a goal by Ryan Walker at 15:36, his first of two goals in the game. This was followed less than two minutes later with a goal by Brandon Estes, his first of the contest on a shot from the left point that beat Hrenak to place the Huskies in a 2-0 hole. Despite outshooting the Dutchmen 12-11, the Huskies saw Union carry their two-goal advantage into the second period.
Period two was perhaps the Huskies best period of the contest with 21 shot attempts to Unions 8 but again yielding another goal to Union 11:14 into the period. Parker Foo increased Unions margin to 3-1 with his 4th goal of the season. The Huskies were finally able to get on the board on the power play at 16:49. Kevin Fitzgerald (Jackson | Newell) was finally able to beat Darion Hanson down low for his 8th goal of the season. Some intense pressure by the Huskies caused Union to take a time-out and they responded with a goal by Sebastian Vidmar at 17:59 who beat Hrenak to his right for a 4-1 Union lead. Once again, SCSU outshot Union 8-6 in the period.
Period three saw the Dutchmen put the game out of reach within the first 1:32 of the period and ending David Hrenak’s night. Brandon Estes, added his second goal of the game on a shot from the right circle just 30 seconds into the period and Brett Supinski added another 1:02 later for an insurmountable 6-1 lead. However, the Huskies did not quit battling and Kevin Fitzgerald added his second of the game with a persistent effort at the goalmouth punching the puck past Hanson for his 9th goal of the season.Union’s Ryan Walker capped things off with his second goal of the game at 5:41 for the 7-2 final. In another hard-working period by the Huskies, they outshot Union 18-8 but were outscored 3-1.
SCSU outshot Union 38 to 25 for the game and attempted 65 shots in the game vs 44 for Union. SCSU blocked 13 shots to Union’s 8 and faceoffs favored the Huskies 29 to 24. Sam Hentges was outstanding in the faceoff circle winning 14 of 18. Union was 0 for 1 on the man-advantage while SCSU was 1 for 2. David Hrenak allowed 6 goals on 19 shots and Jeff Smith stopped 5 of 6 in relief. Darion Hanson had an outstanding game in goal turning aside 36 of 38 shots on goal.
Kevin Fitzgerald was the only Husky with a multiple point game with two goals.
The Huskies return to the ice at PPG Arena on Saturday vs host Robert Morris University in the consolation game at 4:00 PM CT.
Stars of the Game: #1 Maier (Union) #2 Estes (Union) #3 Darion Hanson (Union)