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Rick Bennett contract extension

Created: 05/22/2014 4:41 PM WNYT.com
By: Union Sports Information

Rick Bennett, who led Union College to the 2014 NCAA Division I Men's Hockey Championship, has signed a two-year contract extension through the 2021-22 season. The announcement was made today by Jim McLaughlin '93, Director of Athletics.

Bennett owns a career record of 80-27-16 (.715) in three seasons at Union, including a postseason mark of 19-2.  He has led the Dutchmen to a pair of NCAA Frozen Fours, three NCAA Tournaments, three ECAC Hockey Tournament titles and two ECAC Hockey regular season crowns.  Since October 2009, the Dutchmen are unbeaten in 36 of 45 games (30-9-6, .733) against nationally-ranked teams.

Bennett completed a hat trick of sorts by capturing the three major coaching awards in 2013-14 – the Spencer Penrose presented by the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA), along with Coach of the Year honors from College Hockey News and USCHO.

In 2013-14, Bennett led Union to the most wins (32) and the top winning percentage (.810) in the land.  The 32 wins set a new school record (covering 71 varsity seasons) and matched the third-most wins in ECAC Hockey's 53-year history.  Union earned the No. 1 spot in both national polls for the first time in program history and spent 18 weeks ranked in the Top 10.

The Dutchmen were the only team in NCAA Division I to win its league regular-season and tournament championships.  Union captured the Cleary Cup as ECAC Hockey regular season champions by an eight-point margin, setting school records for conference wins (18) and points (37).  A month later, the Dutchmen secured the Whitelaw Cup, becoming the first team in 37 years to win three consecutive ECAC Hockey tournament titles.

Bennett led Union to a school-record 12-game winning streak (Feb. 21-April 12) and a nine-game winning streak (Nov. 9-Dec. 13). The team went unbeaten in its last 17 contests (16-0-1), suffering its last loss on Jan. 31.  Union also ended its home campaign with 12 straight victories at Messa Rink in Achillies Center.

Other season highlights include a 17-1-2 record against nationally-ranked opponents and victories against every opponent in ECAC Hockey.  Union also won the Capital Skates Trophy by taking the season series against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

"I could not be prouder of the accomplishments of this team both on and off the ice under Rick's leadership along with his staff," said McLaughlin. "The success on the ice throughout his tenure has been remarkable and the student-athletes' achievements in the classroom and within the community have been equally impressive. His leadership goes far beyond the rink and we are very fortunate to have him at Union leading this program."

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