Union hockey ready for championship game
PHILADELPHIA Union is ready to face Minnesota in the NCAA hockey tournament national championship game at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
It will the fourth meeting between the two schools. Minnesota leads the series, 2-1.
In their last meeting on Dec. 31, 2010, the Dutchmen stunned the Gophers, 3-2, in the Mariucci Classic semifinals. Josh Jooris scored 42 seconds into overtime to give Union the win.
Dutchmen defenseman Mat Bodie is one of five Union players who played in that game. He believes that game was important for the growth of the program. Later that season, the Dutchmen won their first ECAC Hockey regular-season title and made the NCAA tournament for the first time at the Division I level.
“At the time, going in there, an historic building, an historic program, it was huge,” Bodie said. “It was an overtime win. Jooris got the goal. We can remember it pretty clearly. It really fired up the team. I think that helped propel us into the second half.”
Union coach Rick Bennett was in his first year as a Dutchmen assistant coach when the team was routed by the Gophers, 8-0, in the 2005 Mariucci Classic semifinals.It wasn’t a pretty game.
Getting the win five years later was important in helping the team gain confidence in itself.
“It was a monumental win for us because we went out there a few years previous. ... It wasn’t pretty,” Bennett said. “I know one of our defensemen at the time, one of our better defensemen, Lane Caffaro, found his way through the crease and ran their goalie over. I think we had to put him in a stick bag to get him out of there because it was pretty hostile. It was one of those things.
“To come back and have that win in overtime was really special. Who knows, maybe it sets the tone at that time for where they are today.”
Saturday’s game will be televised by ESPN. Radio coverage will be provided by WPTR-AM (1240) with the Union broadcast, and WOFX-AM (980) with the WestwoodOne national broadcast.
Look for more coverage in Saturday’s print edition and online.