Looking back at previous Union-Princeton men’s ECAC Hockey tournament matchups

Two hockey players, one reaches in with stick

Union's Matt Allen makes a pass next to Princeton's Nick Carabin at Messa Rink on Saturday.

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SCHENECTADY — Union and Princeton are becoming very familiar foes in the ECAC Hockey tournament.

The teams will meet at 4 p.m. Saturday at Messa Rink in the single-game first round. It is the fourth postseason meeting in the last seven years between Union and Princeton, and sixth time overall. Princeton has won three of the series.

Union clinched the eighth seed and the last home-ice slot with Saturday’s 3-1 win over Princeton at Messa.

Here is a look back at the previous five series.


Saturday’s game won’t be the first time the two teams have met in an elimination game.

Back in 1995, 10 of the 12 teams made the ECACH tournament. Preliminary-round games started the tournament, with the seventh-10th seeds playing in an elimination game. The 10th-seeded Dutchmen traveled to Hobey Baker Rink on March 3 for a game against the seventh-seeded Tigers.

Princeton took a 2-1 lead on first-period goals by Ian Sharp and Mervin Kopek. Russ Monteith had the Union goal.

Jonathan Kelly made it 3-1 midway through the second period. Greg Buchanan pulled Union within two at 8:47 of the third period. But 1:13 later, J.P. O’Connor regained Princeton’s two-goal lead. Robbie Sinclair’s goal with 4:18 left made it 5-2 and put the game away for the Tigers.


The eighth-seeded Dutchmen met the third-seeded Tigers in the best-of-three quarterfinals March 13-15 at Hobey Baker Rink. Union was coming off a first-round sweep of Clarkson, its first Division I playoff series win.

In Game 1, Adam Presziniuk’s first-period goal gave Union a 1-0 lead. Dan Bartlett tied it for Princeton early in the second period. Early third-period goals by Mark Magnowski and Lee Jubinville gave the Tigers a 3-1 lead. Stephane Boileau’s power-play goal with 6:50 left pulled Union within one. The Tigers held on for a 3-2 win.

Union evened the series the next night with a 5-2 victory. The Dutchmen took a 2-0 lead on first-period goals by Mario Valery-Trabucco and Brendan Milnamow. They increased their lead to 4-0 on second-period goals by Jason Shaffer and Valery-Trabucco. The Tigers’ Dan Bartlett scored twice to cut into Union’s lead. But Matt Cook’s empty-net goal with 2:14 left sealed Union’s victory.

The Tigers won the series the next night with a 3-1 triumph. Goals by Brett Wilson, Bartlett and Jubinville in the first 6:34 of the game sealed the Dutchmen’s fate. Andrew Buote scored Union’s lone goal.


The teams met for the third time, this time at Messa Rink for the quarterfinals March 10-11. Union was the second seed, and Princeton the seventh seed.

Union captured Game 1 4-1. Mike Vecchione gave Union a 1-0 lead at 6:11 of the first period. Ryan Siiro tied it over five minutes later. Cole Maier’s early second-period goal gave Union a 2-1 lead. Spencer Foo scored on the power play in the third, and Vecchione added an empty-net goal to seal the deal.

The next night was probably one of the most dramatic games in Union postseason history.

The Dutchmen took a 2-0 lead on goals by Nick DeSimone and Cole Maier 1:32 apart midway through the first period. David Hallisey scored a power-play goal for Princeton in the second period. The Tigers tied it on a Ryan Kuffner power-play goal with 4:38 left in the third, and then took the lead with 1:10 to go on an Alex Riche goal.

Union goalie Alex Sakellaropoulos was pulled for an extra attacker, and the move paid off when Spencer Foo scored with 21.8 seconds left to send the game into overtime.

The OT didn’t last long. Vecchione was on a breakaway when he was hooked by Joe Grabowski 2:46 into OT. Vecchione was awarded a penalty shot. Playing in his last game at Messa, Vecchione beat goalie Colton Phinney to win the game 4-3 and sweep the series.


The teams were back at Messa for another quarterfinal-round matchup March 9-10. The seedings were the same as in 2017. The results would be different.

In Game 1, Union had a 3-2 lead after two periods thanks to goals by Liam Morgan, Maier and Anthony Rinaldi. But the Dutchmen collapsed in the third period. Kuffner tied it for the Tigers on a power-play goal at 7:06. Liam Grande gave Princeton the lead with 2:09 left, and Eric Robinson clinched the 5-3 win on an empty-net goal 57 seconds later.

There would be even more heartbreak in Game 2.

Union rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie it at 2 on second-period goals by Rinaldi and Ryan Walker. The score remained that way as the third period wound down. Overtime appeared to be on the horizon.

But an ill-advised pinch to keep the puck in the Princeton zone at the right point by Union senior defenseman J.C. Brassard sent the Tigers on a 3-on-1. Hallisey scored with 9.5 seconds left to give the Tigers a 3-2 win and a series sweep. Princeton went on to win the ECACH tournament title. 


The teams were back at it March 4-5 in the first round at Messa. Union was the seventh seed, and Princeton was the 10th seed.

Union took Game 1 3-2. Matt Allen gave Union a 1-0 lead 2:22 into the game. Liam Gorman tied it midway through the second. The Dutchmen regained the lead midway through the third on Gabriel Seger’s power-play goal. Brandon Estes made it 3-1 with 2:34 left, and that became the game-winning goal when Noah de la Durantaye scored with 1:15 left.

Game 2 was no contest as Union cruised to a 5-1 series-clinching win. Caden Villegas got things going on a goal with 7:15 left in the first period. Liam Robertson made it 2-0 midway through the second. A three-goal third put the game away as Collin Graf had two goals and Chaz Semdsrud had the other. Goalie Connor Murphy lost his shutout bid when Corey Andonovksi scored with 43.2 seconds left.

Contact Ken Schott by email at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @slapschotts.

Categories: -Sports-, College Sports, Union College

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