Falcon hockey falls to 10th ranked Union


Ryan Carpenter, forward and team captain breaks away from two Union defenders in a game this past weekend. The Falcons lost both contests against the tenth ranked Union College.

Senior Reporter and Senior Reporter

The BG hockey team received a stern wake-up call courtesy of Union College this weekend.

Entering the weekend as the No. 10 team in the country, the Dutchmen flexed their muscles, particularly on special teams, en route to a weekend sweep for the Falcons, winning Friday’s game 5-3 and Saturday’s game 4-1.

The Falcons peaked approximately six minutes into the first game, jumping all over Union behind strong play from the line featuring Ryan Carpenter, Dajon Mingo and Adam Berkle.

The line scored twice in those six minutes. The first goal came from Berkle, who received a pass from Carpenter in the low slot and slid the puck past Union goalie Troy Grosenick.

The second came from Carpenter, who slowly skated in with Berkle on a two-on-one, waited and used the defenseman as a screen and beat Grosnick with a wrist shot.

“They did what you expect them to do,” said BG Coach Chris Bergeron regarding the play of that line. “Ryan Carpenter, there are times he can take over a game. And Adam Berkle had that glimmer in his eye; he was hitting, running people over. They really started the game off strong.”

Berkle played like a wrecking ball, laying multiple big hits on Union players. That physical intensity was part of the reason for BG’s quick start.

“I wanted to make sure I was a strong, physical presence out there,” Berkle said. “They’re a big team, so I wanted to set that tone for our team.”

After that quick start, everything went downhill in a hurry for the Falcons.

The Falcons allowed five unanswered goals, including a pair of backbreaking shorthanded goals a minute apart in the third period. All five of the goals scored by the Dutchmen were on special teams.

Union put on a power play clinic, using quick passes up high to get the Falcons out of position and open up shooting lanes. BG only took three minor penalties in the game, but Union scored on each of the ensuing power plays.

“Their special teams, their execution on both sides of it, showed why they were in the Frozen Four last year,” Bergeron said. “It was just one after another. Every play, we had the puck on our stick or were just in the wrong position for that split second.”

Bergeron was much more candid about the two shorthanded goals BG allowed, which came early in the third period while the Falcons were trailing 3-2.

“To give up those two shorthanded goals is just absolutely unacceptable,” he said. “That’s the power play people taking their foot off the gas.”

BG got its own special teams tally with six minutes to go in the third with the game mostly out of reach. Mark Cooper scored his first collegiate goal on the power play, hammering home a rebound off of a deflected Dan DeSalvo point shot.

Goaltender Andrew Hammond stopped 19 of 24 shots in the loss.

Despite the Falcons playing exceptional in five-on-five situations, Bergeron was not accepting that as a type of moral victory or something to hang his hat on following the game.

“If anyone is happy because we played hard and lost, we have no time for them and they know it,” he said.

As quickly as BG started Friday’s game, Union started just as quick in Saturday’s, with Shayne Gostisbehere scoring less than three minutes into the game.

“We were just ready to battle. You know they’re going to come out hard here, we were just more ready for it,” said Union Coach Rick Bennett.

The goal seemed to take BG out of the game mentally. The Falcons only had four shots in the first period and didn’t muster much puck possession time.

“Just having our heads ready to go,” said BG forward Cam Wojtala regarding the difference between the start of the two games. “I don’t think it’s a real easy answer, and obviously that’s not the way we wanted to start. We just have to pay more attention to the details of all our games and collectively it will work out a lot better.”

The Dutchmen once again scored early in the second period, with Gostisbehere once again doing the damage. The goal came on the power play, as did Union’s fourth goal.

“We got taught a hockey 101 tonight,” Bergeron said. “They’re a veteran team and they exposed us for all the things that we’re not right now.”

Bergeron took blame following the game, saying, “we were defeated early, and that has to come back to the coach.”

Hammond played stronger than Friday night, particularly in Union’s 14-shot second period. He stopped 13 of the shots, many of them high-quality scoring chances, to keep the game from becoming out-of-hand.

“He’s an excellent goaltender, and I think they’re going to win a lot of hockey games with him in net,” Bennett said.

BG will hit the road this weekend for a two-game series with Colgate University.