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Dutchmen Land Offensive Whiz

By Ken Schott

Schenectady Daily Gazette, February 18, 2004

Union College has received verbal commitments from two recruits in the last few days. One recruit will bring some muchneeded scoring punch to the Dutchmen, while the other is a Capital Region native.

College hockey sources have said that New Hampshire Junior Monarchs forward Josh Coyle and Waterloo Black Hawks forward Jake Schwan, who is from Clifton Park, will join the Dutchmen in the fall.

Coyle is the top recruit the Dutchmen have landed this season. He is tied for the Eastern Junior Hockey League scoring lead with 28 goals and 27 assists in 29 games. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound right wing was also recruited by Maine and New Hampshire.

The Dutchmen have struggled offensively this season, particularly in ECAC games. They are averaging just 2.06 goals per game in conference play, which is the worst among the 12 teams.

Coyle is expected to help spark the offense. He is particularly good at running a power play.

"I think Coyle is an excellent get for Union because he addresses a very specific need," said Chris Warner, who runs U.S. Hockey Report. "He'll juice up the offense from the get-go. Plus, he'll be excellent on the power play. Union doesn't really have a player like him right now, and it shows."

Union coach Nate Leaman can't comment on Coyle, because he hasn't officially been accepted yet. But Leaman knows that the Dutchmen need to rejuvenate the offense.

"Without a doubt, you can never score too many," Leaman said. "We had five or six games in a row where we scored one goal. We're a team that struggles putting it in the net a little bit."

Schwan is in his third year with Waterloo of the United States Hockey League. One of his teammates is former Shenendehowa standout Peter MacArthur.

Schwan has three goals and five assists with 67 penalty minutes in 41 games this season, and 14 goals and 20 assists with 271 penalty minutes in his career.

"This is a great accomplishment for Jake," Waterloo coach P.K. O'Handley said on the team's Web site. "Jake exemplifies what it is to be a Black Hawk by playing for the crest on the jersey night in and night out."

Schwan is the younger brother of former Clarkson player Zach Schwan, who was at the center of last year's controversy with Golden Knights coach Mark Morris. Schwan accused Morris of hitting him in practice, and the school later fired Morris.

New Clarkson coach George Roll cut Zach Schwan early this season, and he then withdrew from school.

Home for playoffs

RPI is one of five teams that has clinched at least a home-ice series for the ECAC tournament.

Brown, Colgate, Cornell and Dartmouth have joined the Engineers in securing home ice. However, no team has clinched a firstround bye.

RPI (11-6-1 ECAC, 17-11-2 overall) and Cornell are tied for third with 23 points each. They are three points behind league-leading Brown, trail second-place Colgate by one point and are a point ahead of fifth-place Dartmouth.

The Engineers can finish as high as first, and as low as seventh.

Meanwhile, 10 th-place Union (5-10-3, 11-14-5) still has a shot at home ice in the first round.

The Dutchmen have 13 points, one behind Clarkson and St. Lawrence, who are tied for eighth and the final home-ice slot. Union holds the tiebreaker over the Saints by virtue of winning the season series, while it split with the Knights.

Union can finish as high as sixth, and as low as last place. The Dutchmen have a two-point edge over 11 th-place Princeton, and four over last-place Vermont.

Almost ranked

The Engineers received some votes in the USCHO.com/NCAA hockey and USA Today/American Hockey Magazine polls on Monday. However, it wasn't enough to crack the top 15.

RPI earned 28 points, the second-most among other teams receiving votes, in the USCHO.com poll, and six points in the USA Today poll, which was tied for fourth-most.

The Engineers did come in at No. 20 in the Inside College Hockey.com power rankings.

Basiuk honored

Engineers defenseman [Scott] Basiuk was named ECAC co-player of the week Monday.

Basiuk, a senior, had three goals in helping RPI beat Harvard and Brown. He scored twice against the Crimson, including the gametying goal late in the third period. Against the Bears, Basiuk scored the game's first goal, a power-play tally in the second period, that proved to be the game-winner.

Sharing the award with Basiuk is Cornell forward Shane Hynes. He had five points in a weekend sweep of Princeton and Yale. He had two goals and two assists in Friday's 6-1 triumph over Princeton.

Road sweep

RPI's wins over Harvard and Brown was its first ECAC regular season weekend road sweep in two seasons.

The last time the Engineers completed a regular-season road sweep was Feb. 15-16, 2002, when they beat Princeton and Yale.

Players kept home

Union second-string goalie Tim Roth and forward Brent Williams didn't make the trip to Brown and Harvard over the weekend for disciplinary reasons. Leaman wouldn't specify what the problem was, other than saying it was a violation of team rules.

It marked the second straight weekend that a Union player was suspended. The previous weekend, Dutchmen forward Joel Beal missed the Clarkson-St. Lawrence series at home.

Earlier last week, freshman forward Jon Thiel was dismissed from the team for academic reasons.

Union defenseman Chris DiStefano didn't make the weekend trip, but it was because of injury. DiStefano has missed the last four games because of a shoulder injury, which he hurt in a practice before the Clarkson game.

Bus trip

Union will have a bus trip to its final regular-season game next Saturday at Princeton.

The bus will leave the campus at 10 a.m. and arrive in Princeton around 2 p.m. A box lunch will be provided.

Cost is $40 for season-ticket holders, and $45 for the general public. For more information, call the Achilles Center box office at 388-6134. The deadline is Saturday.

Hanson hurt

Vermont sophomore goalie Matt Hanson suffered a broken neck in a collision at practice last Thursday.

Hanson was coming out of the net to play a puck when he dove after it and collided with a player's leg.

"Matt Hanson sustained a fractured cervical vertebrae, and had surgery Friday to stabilize the vertebrae," Vermont team physician Dr. Jon Porter said in a statement. "He is currently in stable condition, and he has normal neurological function."

Hanson received well-wishes from coaches in the ECAC and Hockey East, as well as a call from Travis Roy, the Boston University forward who was paralyzed after breaking his neck in his first collegiate game in 1995.

"We can't say enough good things about how wonderful everyone has been at UVM," Hanson's parents, Bob and Diane Hanson, said in statement. "Dr. Porter has been so kind and supportive and patient and caring, and the athletic trainers - John Stawinski, Gregg Brueck and Becca Lindsey - have been absolutely terrific. Matt was in a potentially dangerous situation after the incident, and the athletic trainers who treated him on the ice did everything perfectly, and we are most grateful."

Hanson was expected to be released from the hospital Tuesday.

Slap shots

After getting swept by Vermont and Dartmouth over the weekend, Clarkson is on a five-game losing streak. It is the Knights' longest skid in five years. . . .

Yale's Joe Zappala scored his ninth game-winning goal of the season in Friday's 3-1 win over Colgate. Zappala is one away from tying the ECAC record, which is shared by Colgate's Tom Earl (1969-70) and Harvard's Tim Barakett (1986-87). . . .

Clifton Park's Jessica Link had a pair of goals over the weekend against Harvard, but the Bears lost twice to the Crimson. . . .

The St. Lawrence women upset top-ranked Dartmouth twice over the weekend at Thompson Arena by scores of 3-0 and 3-2. The Saints take over the lead in the ECAC with 22 points.