Union took the drama out of Friday’s game against Clarkson with a three-goal second period that gave the Dutchmen a 4-0 lead.
The only excitement left was to wait for the outcome of the Cornell-Quinnipiac game and whether or not the Dutchmen would win a share of the Cleary Cup.
About five minutes after their 5-0 victory over the Golden Knights, the Dutchmen celebrated when Cornell pulled out a 2-1 win. It’s the third time in four years the Dutchmen (15-3-1 ECACH, 21-6-4 overall) have won the Cup.
While Quinnipiac has been eliminated from top-seed contention, Colgate is still in the hunt for that. The Raiders (11-5-3 ECAC) are six points back with three games to go. Colgate won the season series over the Dutchmen, the first tiebreaker. Union and Quinnipiac split their season series, but the Dutchmen have four more league wins, the second tiebreaker. The Dutchmen need just one point over the next three games to clinch the top seed.
The previous two times the Dutchmen won the Cup, in 2011 and 2012, they did it on the final night of the regular season. This time, they took all the drama out of the race with a week to go in the season.
“I think it’s big,” said junior left winger Daniel Ciampini, who had two goals and an assist and wore a green fedora as the team’s player of the game. “We’ve still got a lot of work left. It’s good for our class. We got to celebrate it at home. It’s something we didn’t get to do [in 2012].”
The Dutchmen stood around their bench, waiting to see if they would get to celebrate winning the Cup. When word came down from the press box that Cornell had knocked off Quinnipiac, the players went to center ice to celebrate. ECACH assistant commissioner Ed Krajewski presented captain Mat Bodie the Cup. Bodie raised it over his head, went to the right circle in the zone Union defended in the first and third periods and the team posed for a picture.
“There was a lot of anticipation,” said freshman center Mike Vecchione, who had a goal and an assist. “It was a long 40 seconds. It was a great feeling to win it at home. It’s pretty special.”
Ciampini extended his goal-scoring streak to six games on a short-handed tally with 6:35 left in the first period. It came off a broken two-on-one with Bodie, whose pass to Ciampini was blocked by defenseman Sam Labrecque.
But defenseman Kevin Tansey took out goalie Steve Perry as he was diving on the play. He also knocked the net off. Still, Ciampini’s shot into the net counted, even though the net was off.
Ciampini sparked the three-goal second when his attempted pass to Nick Cruice hit Perry’s skate and went in at 8:17. Clifton Park native Jeff Taylor made it 3-0 just under four minutes later. Shayne Gostisbehere scored on the power play with 4:38 to go in the second.
Union’s defense smothered Clarkson’s offense. The Knights (10-9, 17-14-2) only had nine shots on goal through two periods.
Union coach Rick Bennett said the Dutchmen’s defensive play was inspired by what Team Canada did in its 1-0 win over Team USA in the Winter Olympics semifinal earlier in the day.
“[Assistant coach] Joe Dumais had sent me a text,” Bennett said. “He said this would be a good tool for tonight. As much as it hurts to say this, with Canada beating the U.S., Canada played the ultimate team game. It wins championships. That’s one of the themes we used before the game, and they bought in.”
Clarkson 0 0 0 — 0
Union 1 3 1 — 5
First Period — 1, Union, Ciampini 15 (Bodie, Carr), 13:25 (sh). Penalties — Labrecque, Cla (boarding), 4:26; Clarkson bench, served by Boucher (too many men), 8:27; Lichtenwald, Uni (hooking), 8:27; Union bench, served by Wilkins (too many men), 13:13.
Second Period — 2, Union, Ciampini 16, 8:17. 3, Union, Taylor 3 (Gostisbehere, Sullivan), 12:04. 4, Union, Gostisbehere 8 (Ciampini, Vecchione), 15:22 (pp). Penalties — Boucher, Cla (tripping), 4:21; J. Zarbo, Cla (hooking), 15:09.
Third Period — 5, Union, Vecchione 8, 15:41. Penalty — Wilkins, Uni (interference), 9:30.
Shots on Goal — Clarkson 4-5-11 — 20. Union 9-10-8 — 27.
Power-play opportunities — Clarkson 0 of 2; Union 1 of 3.
Goalies — Clarkson, Perry 8-8-2 (27 shots-22 saves). Union, Stevens 18-4-2 (20-20).
A — 2:13. T — 2:13.
Referees — Kevin Graber, Andy O’Brien. Linesmen — Dan Taggart, Ryan Knapp.