Senior forward Mike Vecchione, the active career NCAA college hockey points leader, scored twice within a span of 29 seconds in the first period and added two more tallies, one into an empty net in the third period to lead Union to a 5-2 victory over Niagara Saturday afternoon at Messa Rink in Schenectady. Vecchione also assisted on the other Union goal.
Vecchione, who is from Saugus, Mass., is one of the last of freshmen who played on Union's 2014 NCAA championship team. Another is senior defenseman Matt Krug of South Buffalo. Another Buffalo area player on the Union team is junior forward Nick DeSimone of East Amherst, a former Junior Sabre. He had a pair of goals last weekend in a 5-4 win over American International in Springfield, Mass.
The loss left Niagara (0-2-2) still looking for its first win of the season and first win ever against Union. The Dutchmen are 5-0-2 all-time in games against Niagara and 4-1-1 on the season including a split of two games at No.11 ranked Michigan.
Vecchione now has 123 career points. His first three goals Saturday were at even strength. The first came at 11:29 and the other at 11:58 of the opening period. He now has 48 goals for his career to go with 65 assists. His assist came on a goal by Sebastian Vidmar at 18:19 of the first to make it 3-0-.
Freshman Kris Spriggs scored for Niagara at 4:50 of the third with assists from freshman Derek Brown and senior Stephen Pietrobon spoiling Union goalie Jake Kupsky's shutout bid. Pietrobon scored the second Purple Eagles goal with an assist from Spriggs with 2:51 left.
Kupsky of Union made 23 saves. Niagara sophomore goalie Therien Guillaume had 43 stops. Each side was 0 for 8 on the power play.
Next for Niagara is a two-game series against Ohio State at Dwyer Arena on Friday and Saturday, both at 7 p.m.