SCHENECTADY, NY (NEWS10) — Senior goalie Connor Murphy made 23 saves for his first shutout of the season and led the Union College men’s hockey team to a 6-0 blanking of rival Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute om Saturday night at Messa Rink.
With the win, Union snapped a four-game skid and is now 1-1-0 in ECAC Hockey play. The Dutchmen picked up their first win at home against RPI since October 27, 2017 when they defeated the Engineers 4-3.
Murphy recorded his first shutout of the season and his fourth since transferring to Union. Tonight’s shutout moves him into a tie for sixth-place on Union’s career shutout list, tying with Keith Kinkaid (2009-11), who had four shutouts in two seasons.
Eleven Dutchmen found the scoresheet and four recorded multi-point games. First-year defender Cal Mell led the way with three points and classmate Carter Korpi potted two power-play goals in the win. Junior Chaz Smedsrud scored a goal and added an assist and sophomore Josh Nixon registered his third goal of the season.
Sophomore Michael Hodge made an immediate impact in his season debut, scoring the first goal of the game off of a great pass by junior Bram Scheerer. Junior Tyler Watkins continued to be a force on the power play with his team-leading third man-up goal of the season and added the primary assist on Korpi’s second power-play goal. Union was 3-for-4 on the power play and a perfect 6-for-6 on the penalty kill.
Hodge opened the scoring at 4:58 of the game. Scheerer forced a turnover in the defensive end and took the puck up through the neutral zone, finding Hodge as the sophomore was exiting the penalty box after Union was called for too many men on the ice. Scheerer sent a cross ice pass right in front of Jack Watson and Hodge deked to the backhand for the score.
Watkins added his third power-play tally of the year with only 21 seconds remaining in the second stanza. Mell sent a pass from the near wall to Watkins, who fired a shot from the top of the right-wing circle to beat Watson.
Union did not let off the pressure, tallying four goals in the final frame. Korpi started the scoring with his first power-play goal of the night. In a scramble in front of the net, Korpi managed to backhand the puck across the line to give Union a 3-0 lead. He added a second power-play goal at 9:09 with a redirect off of a shot from Watkins.
The Dutchmen added a fifth goal from Nixon only 33 seconds later. First-year Nate Hanley sent a cross-ice pass to Nixon who lifted it over the shoulder of Watson for the score, prompting a goalie change for the Engineers. Smedsrud added a final tally at 17:57 after senior Chris Theodore broke up a pass at the blue line and took it up the ice on a two-on-one. Theodore sent a pass in front of the crease and Smedsrud fired a shot past Brett Miller.
Murphy made 23 saves for the win. Watson stopped 14 shots in 49:42 of game time. Miller made two saves in relief.
Union travels north next weekend for a match-up with ECAC Hockey foe Clarkson University. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. from Cheel Arena.