Union Defeats UVM

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Union scored four unanswered goals in the third period to erase a 3-1 deficit in a 5-3 win over Vermont Friday in ECAC Division I men’s ice hockey action at Achilles Rink.

Vermont, 11-17-3 overall and 9-13-0 in ECAC play, can not host a playoff series after Friday night’s results.

The two teams played to a scoreless but entertaining first period that saw just one penalty but plenty of chances by both teams. Vermont’s Shawn Conschafter made nine saves in the opening 20 minutes, none better than a close-in stop on defenseman Randy Dagenais with less than 20 seconds left.

Union, 14-15-4 overall and 10-9-2 in the ECAC, took a 1-0 lead with a shorthanded goal by Nathan Gillies at 7:08 of the second period, but Vermont answered with a goal of its own just 20 seconds later off the stick of Bryson Busniuk. Busniuk pounced on a rebound of a shot by Jeff Miles, with Scott Mifsud also assisting on the goal, his sixth of the season.

Just 2:10 later, Vermont took a 2-1 lead when Miles scored his team-leading 18th of the year from Busniuk and John Longo. And at 12:33, the Catamounts scored their third unanswered goal of the period when Joey Gasparini nailed his fourth of the campaign from Brady Leisenring and Ben Driver. In the third, Union made it 3-2 on Kris Goodjohn’s goal at 7:16, and then got one goal from Chris DiStefano and two from Matt Vogvolgyi in the final eight minutes to make for the 5-3 final.Vermont had two excellent scoring opportunities, with Leisenring involved in both. Midway through the period, Leisenring went one-on-one with a Union defenseman, beating him between the legs before going hard to the net and getting a shot on Dutchmen netminder Tim Roth while on his back. Roth made the save, and Gasparini got a good rebound shot off from between the circles that Roth also blocked.

The second good chance for the Catamounts came with 5:43 left when Leisenring made another great move at the Union blue line and tried to go low between the pads of Roth, who shut the door just in time.

Conschafter had 33 saves for the Catamounts, while Roth stopped 11 for Union. With the loss, the Catamounts finish the regular season in 10th place in the ECAC standings, and will play at Clarkson in a best-of-three series next Friday, Saturday and Sunday (if necessary). The winner of that series will then play one of the top four seeds for a spot in the ECAC Championships at the Pepsi Arena in Albany.

The other first-round playoff matchups are: #12 Princeton at #5 Brown; #11 Rensselaer at #6 Union; and #9 St. Lawrence at #8 Colgate. Cornell finished as the top seed, with Harvard second, Dartmouth third and Yale fourth. The four top seeds get first-round byes.

Rensselaer, 10-23-3 overall and 4-15-3 in the ECAC, took a 1-0 lead on the power play at the 7:40 mark of the opening period when Eric Cavosie scored his first goal of the year from the near slot, lifting a backhander over the shoulder of Vermont goaltender Shawn Conschafter. Nolan Graham and Ryan Shields assisted on the tally.

Vermont, 11-18-3 and 8-14-0, had a number of solid scoring chances in the opening 20 minutes, out-shooting Rensselear 12-7 in the frame, with junior Jeff Miles getting at four good shots on Nathan Marsters. The Engineers kept the Catamounts bottled up in their own end for much of the final 10 minutes, though, and Conschafter kept it close with a number of outstanding saves, including two on RPI’s leading scorer, freshman Kevin Croxton.

Early in the second period, Vermont tied the score at 1-1 with a power-play goal of their own at the 4:45 mark. Miles ripped a shot on Marsters, who kicked the rebound into the slot where Bryson Busniuk banged in his second goal in as many games and his seventh of the season. Miles and Thomas Hajek assisted on the goal.

Rensselear scored their second power-play tally of the evening midway through the second when Graham pocketed his seventh of the season from the slot to the right of Conschafter. Cavosie and Danny Eberly assisted on the goal, and the Engineers took a 2-1 lead into the locker room after the second period.

In the third, Cavosie scored his second of the game at 6:59 on the power play before Vermont’s John Longo scored a shorthanded goal at 12:07, with assists going to Miles and Busniuk, to make it 3-2.

Croxton finished out the scoring late in the game, nailing his 14th of the year unassisted to give the Engineers a two-goal advantage, which they carried for the remainder of the game.Conschafter had 27 saves for the Catamounts, while Marsters stopped 28 for Rensselaer.

The Cats then took on Rensselaer and took a 4-2 loss in the final regular-season game for both teams Saturday at Houston Field House. Eric Cavosie scored two goals as the Engineers scored three power-play goals in their