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After playing two solid games in a row and earning three points last weekend against St. Lawrence and Clarkson, Union needed to find out if it could put together a similar effort on the road.
For the most, the Dutchmen did just that Friday against Princeton. Union bottled up the Tigers for nearly the entire game and scored the first three goals en route to a 4-1 ECAC win at Hobey Baker Rink.
Union (2-0-1 ECAC, 4-3-3 overall) didn’t give Princeton (0-3, 0-5) many good scoring opportunities through two periods. It got a little rocky in the third period for the Dutchmen as they tried to protect a 3-0 lead. Dan Hursh scored for Princeton 5:54 into the third when he was left uncovered in front of the net.
But the Dutchmen settled down after that and earned their first win at Baker Rink since Jan. 29, 2000, and are now 4-8-1 there.
“It’s the first time that this team has played 60 minutes of real good road hockey,” Union coach Kevin Sneddon said. “It’s tough coming into an arena like this. Princeton plays extremely well here.
“We haven’t fared too well here in the past. I was real pleased with the way we set the tempo tonight.”
Princeton coach Len Quesnelle wasn’t happy with his team’s work ethic.
“It was sporadic, at best,” Quesnelle said. “To be honest, that performance was real agonizing to watch as a coach.”
The Dutchmen made things miserable for the Tigers by scoring twice in a 2:19 span midway through the first period to take the lead.
Matt Vagvolgyi opened the scoring at 7:39. Scott Seney carried the puck from the Union zone to the Princeton zone. He dropped a pass back to Vagvolgyi, who was trailing the play. The sophomore defenseman fired a wrist shot past goalie Eric LeRoux.
“As soon as Scott skated through the defensemen, he dropped it to me,” Vagvolgyi said. “I was wide open. I just walked right down the slot. The goalie stood on the goal line, so he gave me a lot of room to shoot.”
Nathan Gillies scored a power-play goal at 9:58. Kris Goodjohn won a faceoff in the Princeton left circle. He pushed it to Joel Beal, who then fed it to Gillies at the left point. Gillies fired a slap shot between LeRoux’s pads.
Max Seel scored on a nice individual effort at 11:39 of the second period. He skated out of the left-wing circle, outmuscled Tigers defenseman Seamus Young as he went to the net, and put a shot on goal. The puck rolled up over LeRoux’s shoulder and bounced into the net.
“I’ve been so frustrated the last couple of games because I had so many chances,” Seel said. “My linemates Glenn [Sanders] and [Brian] Kerr keep setting me up, and I can’t put it in. I said, ‘This is mine.’ I made a pass to myself, picked it up and prayed it went in.”
Jordan Webb added an empty-net goal for Union, his team-leading seventh of the season, with four seconds left.
Ken Schott covers college hockey for The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y.