Union crushes No. 1 St. Cloud State 7-2

Walker, Estes score two goals each in semifinals of Three Rivers Classic
Union's Parker Foo heads up ice against St. Cloud State in the Three Rivers Classic Friday night.
Union's Parker Foo heads up ice against St. Cloud State in the Three Rivers Classic Friday night.

Hey, U, get off of St. Cloud.

The Union men’s hockey team (10-4-4) delivered a flurry of goals and knocked out St. Cloud State 7-2 in the semifinals of the Three Rivers Classic at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex Friday night in Cranberry Township, Pa..

Ryan Walker and Brandon Estes each had two goals, captain Cole Maier had four assists and Liam Morgan had three assists against the top-ranked team in the country.

Union goalie Darion Hanson made 36 saves, including a spectacular glove stop on Jack Poehling early in the second period with the Dutchmen leading 5-1.

Hanson’s counterparts — plural — on the other bench had a rough night, as St. Cloud State head coach Brett Larson pulled starting goalie David Hrenak at 1:32 of the third period, after Brett Supinski had given Union a 6-1 lead. Jeff Smith went into the Huskies net and gave up Walker’s second goal of the night just over four minutes later for a 7-2 Union lead.

The Dutchmen will play either host school Robert Morris or ECAC Hockey rival Brown in Saturday’s 8 p.m. Three Rivers Classic championship game at the Pittsburgh Penguins’ home rink, PPG Paint Arena.

It was the first meeting between the schools since Union went 1-0-1 at then-No. 1 St. Cloud State on Dec. 13-14 of 2013.

The Huskies (13-2-2) lost for just the second time this season and had a 10-game unbeaten streak stopped, which had been the longest in Division I this season. St. Cloud State’s other loss came at the hands of Northeastern 3-2 on Oct. 27, a week after Union had swept two games against those Huskies in Boston.

St. Cloud is playing without its best assist man this weekend, as Ryan Poehling is trying to win a gold medal with Team USA at the IIHF World Juniors in Vancouver.

The Dutchmen took a 2-0 lead after one period Friday on goals by Walker and Estes.

Morgan set up Walker for a one-timer to the top right corner over Hrenak’s glover hand at 15:36, and the defenseman Estes scored less than two minutes later when he shifted to his right away from a St. Cloud player to open up a shooting lane for a wrist shot through traffic.

The Dutchmen survived a furious two-minute offensive stretch by St. Cloud midway through the second period and went ahead 3-0 when Parker Foo took a pass from Maier just inside the blue line and rushed through the left circle past Jon Lizotte to beat Hrenak.

Kevin Fitzgerald, who scored both St. Cloud goals, got one back at 16:49 of the second, but Sebastian Vidmar answered for Union just 1:10 later by finishing a nice feed from Maier on a 2-on-1.

Maier set up Estes, who skated into a big patch of open ice inside the blue line, just 30 seconds into the third period for a 5-1 lead.

The Huskies appeared on the verge of cutting it to 5-2 just 40 seconds later, but Hanson dove across the crease to rob Jack Poehling of a back-hand attempt toward an open net.

Twelve seconds after that, Supinski wristed the puck toward the right post, and it deflected in for a 6-1 lead.

With four combined goals in the first six minutes of the third, it looked like it could still develop into a shootout, but that was the end of the scoring, helped by a five-minute power play for the Dutchmen. 

St. Cloud State 0 1 1 — 2

Union 2 2 3 — 7

First Period — 1, Union, Walker 7 (Morgan, Estes), 15:36. 2, Union, Estes 3 (Adams, Morton), 17:23. Penalties — None.

Second period — 3, Union, Foo 4 (Maier, Fineman), 11:14. 4, St. Cloud State, Fitzgerald 8 (Jackson, Newell), 16:49 (pp). 5, Union, Vidmar 7 (Maier, Morgan), 17:59. Penalties — Campbell, U (tripping), 16:06.

Third period — 6, Union, Estes 4 (Maier), :30. 7, Union, Supinski 5 (Rinaldi, Vidmar), 1:32. 8, St. Cloud State, Fitzgerald 9 (J. Poehling, Ahcan), 2:48. 9, Union, Walker 8 (Maier, Morgan), 5:41. Penalties — Kosack, U (hitting after whistle), 12:05; Wahlin, SC (hitting after whistle), 12:05; Meier, SC (major-grasping the facemask, game misconduct), 12:05; N. Poehling, SC (roughing), 14:55; Breault, U (holding), 17:26.

Shots on goal — St. Cloud State 12-8-18 — 38. Union 11-6-8 — 25.

Power-play opportunities — St. Cloud State 1 of 2. Union 0 of 2.

Goaltenders — St. Cloud State, Hrenak L, 10-1-1 (41:32, 19 shots-saves 13), Smith (18:28, 6-5). Union, Hanson W, 5-2-3 (38-36) .

T — 2:12. A — 1,500.

Referees — Casey Terreri, Ken Gates. Linesmen — David Panek, Matt Terreri.

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Mike MacAdam at 518-395-3146 or [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @Mike_MacAdam.

Categories: -Sports, College Sports

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