Jeremy Welsh doesn’t think much about records, especially with what’s at stake at this time of year.
But to be able to break a record of someone he played with and admired means a lot to Welsh.
The Union junior center scored his 24th goal of the season at 7:19 of the third period Friday, giving the Dutchmen a 5-1 lead in the ECAC Hockey tournament semifinal at Boardwalk Hall. The top-seeded and sixth-ranked Dutchmen rolled to a 6-2 victory to advance to tonight’s championship game.
Welsh put in the rebound of a Josh Jooris shot to put the game away for the Dutchmen. That broke the record of 23 set by Mario Valery-Trabucco in 2009-10.
“It’s a big time of year, and personal accomplishments like that wasn’t one of my goals,” Welsh said. “I wasn’t thinking too much about it. We’re going to need some more goals from myself to move forward. I’m focused on that.”
Welsh roomed with Valery-Trabucco in 2009-10, when Welsh was a freshman and Valery-Trabucco a senior.
“I remember being in awe of his shot and his release,” Welsh said. “I thought he was a terrific player. It means a lot more that I played with him and know how good of a player he is. My goals probably aren’t as all pretty as he had, but they all count.”
Union coach Rick Bennett believes Welsh setting the record is a great accomplishment. But Bennett is pleased that Welsh has his focus in the right place.
“At this time of year, this team’s not about individual awards,” Bennett said. “It’s never been a part of this program. Let’s enjoy it for tonight, and move on.”
Valery-Trabucco, who is playing for the Augsburg Panthers in Germany, sent a statement via email on Welsh’s accomplishment.
“If there is anyone who can do it, it’s ‘Welshy,’ ” Valery-Trabucco wrote. “The kid can shoot the puck, and does not hesitate to do so. [It’s] something every goal scorer should not be afraid to do, shoot.”
Forward Alex Killorn had two goals and an assist, and Marshall Everson scored twice, leading third-seeded Harvard (13-9-11) to a stunning 6-1 rout of second-seeded Cornell (17-8-7) in the second semifinal.
Defenseman Patrick McNally opened the scoring at 4:38 of the first period. Just over 21⁄2 minutes later, Killorn got his first goal.
Colin Moore made it 3-0 at 4:37 of the second period. Everson’s power-play goal midway through the second made it 4-0, and the rout was on.
Killorn and Everson scored 1:28 apart late in the third period.
Harvard goalie Raphael Girard’s bid for a shutout was ruined when Joel Lowry scored with 1:06 left in the game.
End of a career
Colgate senior right winger Austin Smith has one more game left in his college career, but it felt like it had already ended with the Raiders’ loss to Union.
Smith, the ECACH Player of the Year and a Hobey Baker Award top-10 finalist, had an assist in the game. When Welsh scored to give the Dutchmen a four-goal lead, Smith broke down.
“To be quite honest, I’ve never given up in a game before,” Smith said. “I always compete until the end. But when it 5-1, I was trying to hold tears back. The rest of the game, I was just circling. I had a million things going through my head. I wasn’t very effective.
“When it’s 5-1 against a team that good defensively and the goalie [Troy Grosenick] playing that well, it’s probably it.”
If any Union alumni are going to make the trip for tonight’s championship game, there will be a reception at the Atlantic City Bar and Grill, located at 1217 Pacific Ave.
The reception starts at 4 p.m. There will be a dinner buffet. The cost is $10 and can be paid at the door.
You can also sign up at www.union.edu/alumni.
Hobey Fan voting
Phase two of the Hobey Baker Award fan voting is underway.
Fans can log onto hobeybakeraward.com to vote for one of the 10 finalists for the award, which goes to college hockey’s top player. Two ECACH players, Grosenick and Smith, are among the 10 finalists.
Balloting will remain open through March 25. The Hobey Hat Trick finalists will be announced March 29. The winner will be named April 6 at the Frozen Four in Tampa, Fla.