Vecchione’s four goals lead men’s hockey past Niagara, 5-2

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. —Senior forward Mike Vecchione scored a career-high four goals and added an assist to lead the Union College men’s hockey team to a 5-2 win against Niagara, Saturday evening at Messa Rink. The Dutchmen go to 4-1-1, while the Purple Eagles move to 0-3-2.

Vecchione, who has 11 points (7g, 4a) in the last four games, became the first Union player to score four goals in a game since Kelly Zajac netted four against Sacred Heart on Oct. 9, 2010.  His five points on the day tied a career best.

Sophomore forward Sebastian Vidmar also had a career day, producing four points (1g, 3a). Spencer Foo extended his point streak to four games with an assist and J.C. Brassard and Greg Campbell also added helpers. In goal, Jake Kupsky made 23 saves for his first win of the season.

Union opened up a 2-0 lead on back-to-back goals from Vecchione in a 29-second span. He opened the scoring at 11:29 of the first, fighting off a Niagara defenseman before beating Purples Eagles goaltender Guillaume Therien with a backhand-to-forehand deke.

His second of the game came from a rebound following a Brassard point shot at 11:58.

The Dutchmen added their third of the period at 18:19 when Vidmar dove to poke home a feed from Vecchione after Kupsky made a sprawling save to deny Sean King on a Niagara 2-on-1.

After a scoreless second, Kris Spriggs got the Purple Eagles on the board with backhand from in tight at 4:50 of the third.

Vecchione restored Union’s three goal lead at 15:51, converting on a breakaway to complete his hat trick.

Niagara came back within two when Derek Brown scored from a rebound, but that’s as close as it would get. Vecchione added an empty net goal with eight seconds remaining to cap the scoring.

Union registered a season-high 48 shots, outshooting Niagara 48-25. The team two teams were a combined 0-for-16 on the power play, each going 0-for-8. Therien finished with 43 saves.

The Dutchmen open ECAC Hockey play next weekend, taking on crosstown rival Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in a home-and-home series. Union makes the short trip to Troy on Friday, Oct. 28 before hosting the Engineers on the 29th. Puck drop for both games is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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