This Week in Union College Hockey - December 26
Union Returns To Action At Catamount Cup After Holiday Break – No. 12/13 Union (8-3-4, 3-2-3 ECAC Hockey) opens the second half of the season in Burlington, VT, taking on two Hockey East opponents in the Catamount Cup. Union is making second appearance in the Catamount Cup and first since the 2006-07 season, when the Dutchmen finished in third place, losing to St. Cloud State before a 5-1 win over rival Rensselaer on Dec. 30, 2006. The Dutchmen will open up the tournament against host Vermont at Gutterson Field House on Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. in the first meeting between the two teams since Jan. 29, 2005. Union and Vermont, former ECAC Hockey foes, have played 29 times in a series that dates back to 1926. Vermont holds a 17-10-2 mark in the series, including a 12-2-0 record at Gutterson Fieldhouse against Union. On Sunday at 4:00 p.m., Union will face Merrimack (6-7-3, 4-4-1 Hockey East) in a rematch of the season opener for both teams.
Must Read/See/Hear Material
USAHockey.com: Game Preview: USA vs. Germany
Schenectady Daily Gazette: Parting Schotts – Union’s Gostisbehere officially on Team USA roster for World Junior Hockey Championships
Albany Times-Union: Union’s Gostisbehere earns spot on U.S. Junior team
Fox Sports 980: 12/20 College Hockey Slap Schotts Podcast
NOTE OF THE WEEK
Union Against Hockey East – Union will face two Hockey East foes this weekend in Vermont and Merrimack at the Catamount Cup. The Dutchmen dropped a 4-1 decision to Merrimack earlier in the season at Messa Rink on Oct. 6, the season opener for both teams. The loss was Union’s first in regulation to a Hockey East team since the 2008-09 season, when the Dutchmen fell 4-3 to UMass on Dec. 29, 2009 at Messa Rink. Union is 31-77-9 all-time against Hockey East competition.
FIVE MORE NOTES NO MEDIA PERSON SHOULD BE WITHOUT
Shayne Gostisbehere Set For World Junior Championships – Sophomore defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere was one of 23 players named to final roster for the 2013 U.S. National Junior Team, USA Hockey announced on Tuesday. Gostisbehere is the first Union player ever to participate in the IIHF World Junior Championships. He will miss Union’s games this weekend against Vermont and Merrimack at the Catamount Cup in Burlington, VT, and potentially, the team’s two-game series at Lake Superior State on Jan. 4-5. A native of Margate, Florida, Gostisbehere is in the midst of a breakout campaign in his sophomore year at Union. He is tied for fourth on the team in scoring with 13 points (five goals, eight assists), has emerged as one of Union’s top defensemen this season.
Vermont’s Kevin Sneddon a Familiar Face For Union – Union will go up against a familiar face to the program this weekend at the Catamount in Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon. Sneddon was named Union’s third head coach in the Division I era before the 1998-99 season and remained in that role for five years. During Sneddon’s tenure at Union, the Dutchmen posted a record of 50-99-18 (.353), with 39 of those wins coming in his final three seasons in Schenectady. Union’s best season under Sneddon’s guidance came in 2001-02, when the Dutchmen finished 13-13-6 (8-11-3 ECAC Hockey).
Union Looks To Continue Recent Trend of Solid Second Half Play – Over the past three seasons, Union has played its best hockey of the season after the Christmas holiday. Since the 2009-10 season, Union is 46-19-3 in games played after Dec. 25, with winning streaks of at least five games in each of those campaigns.
An Eerily Similar Start - Union (8-3-4, 3-2-3 ECAC Hockey) enters the holiday break having played to three consecutive ties against Princeton (4-4), Brown (3-3), and Yale (2-2) in ECAC Hockey play. The Dutchmen are in a very similar spot to where they were a season ago at this time. Through 15 games in 2011-12, Union had a record of 7-3-5, with a 3-2-2 mark in league play. In fact, the Dutchmen went on to tie their next league opponent, so Union’s league record through eight games sits at the exact same mark as last season. Digging even further, Union’s goal differential this season is +20 (54-34), the exact same mark it was last season (49-29) through 15 games.
Nearly Perfect on the PK - Union is in the midst of a dominant stretch of play on the penalty kill. On Dec. 8, the Dutchmen held Yale scoreless in eight power play chances, the team’s best penalty killing effort since March 15, 2009, when Union held Princeton scoreless on nine power play opportunities. Over the last six contests, the Dutchmen have allowed just one power play goal, going 26-for-27 on the PK. Union is ranked No. 4 in the nation on the penalty kill at 91.7% (55-for-60) on the season.