The Union hockey team said it wouldn’t be intimidated at all about the storied history of Boston College hockey. The Dutchmen didn’t care that the Eagles were the defending national champions.
Saturday night in the NCAA hockey tournament East Regional semifinals, the Dutchmen showed everyone that to them the Eagles were just another college hockey team. And in the process, not only did they make sure there would be a new NCAA champion this year, but they also helped ECAC Hockey make history.
Josh Jooris scored twice, and goalie Troy Grosenick made 29 saves as third-seeded Union ousted second-seeded BC, 5-1, at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
The Dutchmen (22-12-5), who won their seventh straight game, advance to tonight’s East Region championship game against ECACH rival Quinnipiac at 6:30. The top-seeded Bobcats rallied from a 3-1 third-period deficit to beat Canisius, 4-3, in the first semifinal.
The matchup of the ECACH tournament-champion Dutchmen and the ECACH regular-season titlist Bobcats (28-7-5) guarantees the league will have half the field in the Frozen Four April 11-13 in Pittsburgh. Earlier in the day, Yale won the West Regional with a 4-1 victory over North Dakota.
It’s the first time that the ECACH will have two teams in the Frozen Four since 1983, when Harvard and Providence made it. The last time the league had at least one team make the Frozen Four in consecutive years was 1988 (St. Lawrence), 1989 (Harvard), 1990 (Colgate) and 1991 (Clarkson). The 1989 Harvard teams is the last ECACH squad to win the NCAA title.
Quinnipiac won the regular-season series from Union, 2-0. The Bobcats earned a 4-0 win Nov. 30 at Messa Rink, and then rallied with three third-period goals for a 3-2 win Jan. 12 in Hamden, Conn.
BC got the game’s first power play at 3:11 of the first period when Dutchmen defenseman Greg Coburn slashed Johnny Gaudreau, who got a step on him in the Union zone. The Eagles’ best chance came when Steve Whitney’s shot hit the crossbar.
Coburn came out of the box, picked up a loose puck along the boards in the neutral zone and had a breakaway. He tried to slip a backhander between goalie Parker Milner’s pads, but was denied. However, Milner looked back to see if the puck was loose.
The Eagles’ Patrick Brown sent a soft shot from the left circle that seemed to handcuff Grosenick, but Grosenick was able to cover it up.
Union got its first power play at 9:03 when Steven Whitney was called for roughing in the Dutchmen zone. The Dutchmen, whose power play went only 1-for-12 in four ECACH tournament games, made Whitney and the Eagles pay 22 seconds later.
Kevin Sullivan made a nice backhanded cross-ice pass to Jooris in the left circle. Jooris fired a one-timer over Milner’s right shoulder.
Jooris gave BC its second power play when he was called for high-sticking at 12:40. The Eagles nearly capitalized as the puck found its way to Destry Straight in front of the net. Straight’s shot was turned aside by Grosenick with 5:44 left in the first.
After colliding with Mat Bodie at the BC blue line, Matt Wilkins drove to the net, but his backhand shot was smothered by Milner.
The teams started the second period playing four aside, and the Dutchmen took advantage.
First, Wayne Simpson spotted Jooris to the left of the net. Simpson’s pass from the bottom the right circle caught BC defenseman Isaac MacLeod flatfooted, and Jooris fired a one-timer past Milner 39 seconds into the period.
Twenty-five seconds later, Cole Ikkala took a chip pass from Max Novak in front of the Union bench along the left-wing boards. He skated down the left side and fired a shot underneath the crossbar for a 3-0 lead. After the goal, BC coach Jerry York called his timeout to stop Union’s momentum.
Late in the period, Shayne Gostisbehere blasted a shot from the high slot past Milner for a 4-0 lead.
Daniel Ciampini scored Union’s third power-play goal at 5:19 of the third period when he redirected a Coburn shot past Milner.
Grosenick’s shutout bid ended when Gaudreau beat him with a wrist shot through the pads with 3:58 left.
Union 1 3 1 — 5
Boston College 0 0 1 — 1
First Period — 1, Union, Jooris 11 (Sullivan, Carr), 9:25 (pp). Penalties — Coburn, Uni (slashing), 3:49; Whitney, BC (roughing), 9:03; Jooris, Uni (high-sticking), 12:40; Arnold, BC (hitting from behind), 19:08; Carr, Uni (goalie interference), 20:00.
Second Period — 2, Union, Jooris 12 (Simpson), :39. 3, Union, Ikkala 3 (Novak), 1:04. 4, Union, Gostisbehere 8 (Carr, Hatch), 18:16 (pp). Penalties — Dyroff, BC (hooking), 2:51; Hatch, Uni (hooking), 6:31; Wey, BC (holding), 11:33; Hatch, Uni (hooking), 15:46; Whitney, BC (hooking), 16:29.
Third Period — 5, Union, Ciampini 10 (Coburn, Simpson), 5:19 (pp). 6, Boston College, Gaudreau 21 (Wey), 16:02. Penalties — Whitney, BC (goalie interference), 4:40; Silk, BC (high-sticking), 12:25; Union bench, served by Wilkins (too many men), 17:32.
Shots on Goal — Union 11-16-8 — 35. Boston College 7-7-16 — 30.
Power-play opportunities — Union 3 of 7; Boston College 0 of 7.
Goalies — Union, Grosenick 17-9-5 (14 shots-14 saves). Boston College, Milner 22-11-4 (27-23).
A — 6,253.
Referees — Ryan Sweeney, Shane Ferrier. Linesmen — Bill McGoldrick, Brendon Blanchard.