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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Union College Men’s Hockey: Garnet Chargers to Face Colgate, Cornell for the First Time this Season

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SCHENECTADY — The Union College men’s hockey‌ team, also known‌ as the Garnet Chargers, have had ‌a busy season, facing off against RPI, Brown, Clarkson, St. Lawrence, ‍and Yale. ‍They’ve also had one-on-one matches with Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, and Quinnipiac.

However, it’s⁤ only now, in the second weekend of February, that the Garnet Chargers are preparing to meet the two Central New York teams, Colgate and Cornell.

This scheduling anomaly means‍ that Union will ⁤finally play against Colgate and Cornell​ this weekend ‍at Messa Rink. The Raiders are scheduled for Friday, while the Big Red, who are ranked 12th in the USA Hockey⁢ Magazine/The Rink Live poll‍ and 13th⁢ in the USCHO.com poll, will ⁢play ‌on Saturday. Both games are set to start at 7 ⁢p.m.

“We’re navigating our way through the schedule,” Union captain Ben Tupker said during the team’s media briefing Tuesday at Messa Rink. “It’s interesting that they’re‌ the only two teams we haven’t encountered yet. So, it’s an exhilarating opportunity to⁤ finally play against them.”

These two games mark the beginning ​of the final month ​of the‍ season. ‍Next weekend, Union will travel to Quinnipiac and Princeton. The following weekend,⁤ the Garnet Chargers will play their last home games of the season​ against⁢ Harvard and Dartmouth. The season concludes on March 1-2 at Cornell and Colgate.

“It’s ​a thrilling time for‌ us,” Union head coach Josh Hauge said. “The team has worked hard ⁤to earn the right to play in ​these crucial games.⁣ This weekend ⁤is the ​start ⁢of them. It’s a challenging‌ task‌ with both of these teams. They’re slightly different, ⁢but they’re⁢ both excellent and playing well.”

However,⁢ Hauge expressed his disappointment that it took until the second weekend of February to meet Colgate ⁣and Cornell for the first time.

“I would have​ preferred a more balanced schedule where we’d face teams in ⁤both halves of the season,” Hauge said. “But ​this is the hand⁤ we’ve been dealt. ⁤They’re both strong teams, so it should be a good challenge.”

These two games are crucial for the Garnet Chargers (6-6-2 ECACH, 22 points; 12-12-2 ⁤overall) ⁢in⁢ their quest to secure an ECACH tournament first-round bye.

Union is currently in fifth place, just a point behind fourth-place Clarkson for the final first-round bye slot. The ‍Garnet Chargers are four points behind third-place Colgate (8-5-1, 26 points; 11-12-3) and five ⁣points behind ‌second-place Cornell‌ (8-4-2, 27 points; 13-4-4).

Both Colgate and Cornell have been performing exceptionally well recently. ⁤Colgate has won five of its last six games, including its ‍last two. Cornell, which plays at RPI on Friday, is 7-0-3 in its last 10 games ‍and has⁤ not lost a game in 2024.

Union goalie Kyle Chauvette understands⁤ the significance of this weekend’s‍ games.

“I see it as a great opportunity, not just to earn points, but to take points ‌from those teams,” Chauvette said. “Every weekend ‍going forward⁤ is crucial.”

The Garnet​ Chargers have been scoring ​an average of 3.86 goals​ per game in their last seven games. They have scored four ⁣or more goals in a ​game ⁣five times. They fired a season-high 26 shots on goal​ in‌ the‍ third period as⁣ they rallied to tie Brown 4-4⁢ last‍ Saturday. Union⁣ earned an extra point by winning the shootout.

If Union continues to apply this level ⁤of offensive‌ pressure, they could potentially sweep the weekend.

“I ⁣think ‌as a team, we’re​ just starting to hit our stride, and it’s happening at⁤ the right time, as we head into the final stretch,” ‌Tupker said. “Everyone’s ⁤contributing and ⁤performing as expected. ⁤I believe we can still find​ another gear and ⁤level, but it’s⁢ exciting. Right⁢ now, we’re in the thick of the fight, so we just have to keep pushing‌ forward.”

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Beckett Nielson
Beckett Nielson
Transitioning from a collegiate athlete to a sports journalist, Beckett O’Neal channels his passion for sports into engaging stories. A Boston College graduate, Beckett specializes in local sports coverage, from high school heroes to regional professional teams, providing in-depth analysis and an athlete's insight.
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2 COMMENTS

  1. Good punctuation and grammar. Agree. So excited to see the Garnet Chargers take on Colgate and Cornell! It’s going to be an intense match-up. Let’s go Union College!

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