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Coming off a disappointing effort in its 4-2 loss Saturday against Rensselaer, Union had a chance to get back on track against an Iona team that had just three wins. For a time, though, the Dutchmen weren’t inspired. Not even allowing the first goal of the game seemed to awaken them.
Eventually, the Dutchmen got going. Kris Goodjohn scored a shorthanded goal, Jordan Webb netted his team-leading 10th goal and Union set a team record for fewest shots on goal allowed in a game in its 4-1 non-conference win Sunday at Achilles Rink.
“We had an emotional game [Saturday] night,” Goodjohn said. “It took us a while to get our feet under us. It was a different kind of hockey game. It took us about 30 to 40 minutes to get our game going. Once we did, it was all right. We could have battled a little bit more, but it was a good win.”
The Gaels (3-11-1) stunned the Dutchmen (7-6-3) by getting the first goal 1:57 into the first period. Trevor McCall sent the puck from the Iona zone to Ryan Manitowich in the neutral zone. Manitowich skated down the left wing, then cut to the Union net. He put a shot past goalie Tim Roth.
The Dutchmen tied it on some nice work by Matt Blabac. He forced Iona defenseman Jean-Paul Chaput to turn the puck over in the Gaels’ left-wing corner. Blabac got the puck to Jason Visser behind the goal line, and Visser sent it in front to Scott Seney, who one-timed it past goalie Ian Vigier.
Blabac was serving an obstruction-interference penalty when Goodjohn broke in alone on Vigier. Goodjohn faked a forehand shot and slipped a backhander underneath Vigier’s left pad at 13:34 of the first.
“I was actually going off because I was tired,” Goodjohn said. “I looked up and I had a lot of ice. I had [Vigier] going across one way. I put on the breaks and stopped, and he kept going, so I had the open side to tap it in.” Despite having the one-goal lead after the first period, Union coach Kevin Sneddon wasn’t pleased with the team’s effort.
“The first period, I thought we were real flat,” Sneddon said. “Obviously, I had to challenge them a little bit in the locker room.”
The Dutchmen responded. They held the Gaels to 13 shots on goal in the game, the fewest they have ever allowed. The old record was 15 by Bemidji State on Nov. 3, 2001.
“We had to clamp down in our zone,” Blabac said. “We’ve been running around a lot. It’s going to be important in league games that we’re playing defense.”
Union got its final two goals on the power play. Webb scored midway through the second period, putting a shot in the top part of the net. Marc Neron got his ninth goal of the year, putting in a rebound of a Randy Dagenais shot past Vigier with 1:45 left in the game.
“Was it our best game? By no means was it our best game,” Sneddon said. “I was impressed with their ability to bounce back in a non-conference game after a disappointing loss [Saturday] night and at least get the job done.”
Ken Schott covers college hockey for The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y.