The road to making ECAC Hockey history wasn’t easy for the Union Dutchmen in their tournament title game against Colgate.
But after slumbering through the first 30 minutes of the game, the Dutchmen took control with a three-goal second period. The rest, as they say, was history.
Top-seeded and second-ranked Union won its third straight ECACH tournament title with a 5-2 win over Colgate on Saturday at 1980 Rink-Herb Brooks Arena. Union (28-6-4) clinches an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament for the fourth straight year. The Dutchmen will most likely be headed to Bridgeport, Conn., for the East Regional on Friday and Saturday. The 16-team field will be announced at noon today on ESPNU.
The Dutchmen join Cornell and Boston University as the only schools in the league’s 53-year history to win three straight titles. Cornell and BU each won four in a row. Cornell did it from 1967-70, while BU won from 1974 to 1977.
“It’s a testament to where this program’s been and where it’s going,” said Dutchmen senior forward Matt Hatch, who had a goal and an assist. “We came in here, and it was on the rise. That’s where we’re leaving it as a class, so it’s a testament to all the hard work that’s been put in before us.”
“A lot of testament to all the guys here before us,” said Union senior left winger Daniel Carr, who had a goal and two assists and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. “Adam Presizniuk, John Simpson, Brock Matheson, Andrew Buote, all those guys did a great job from day one when our class got here of showing us what it takes to play college hockey.”
The Dutchmen were sluggish in the first period. The second-seeded Raiders (20-13-5), coming off Friday’s emotional 3-2 double-overtime semifinal win over third-seeded Quinnipiac, dominated play and had a 16-5 shot advantage. Meanwhile, the Dutchmen were trying for the extra pass when they should have been shooting.
Thanks to goalie Colin Stevens stopping all the shots, Union escaped the period with a scoreless tie.
“We had to weather the storm,” said Union coach Rick Bennett, who is 12-0 in ECACH tournament games. “I thought Colgate came out with a little bit of jump. I think that fed off from the night before. They were on a big high, and I think that carried through to the first period.
Hatch gave the Dutchmen a 1-0 lead with 8:43 left in the second. Kevin Sullivan deflected a Shayne Gostisbehere right-point shot. The puck was near the net, and Hatch pounced on it and put it in.
Nine seconds after Darcy Murphy was called for elbowing, Carr was at the top of the right circle when he one-timed a Matt Bodie pass past goalie Charlie Finn with 6:09 left.
Carr figured in Daniel Ciampini’s goal 1:49 later when Finn stopped his wraparound. Ciampini put the rebound home.
Freshman center Mike Vecchione made it 4-0 7:30 into the third. Colgate gave a scare to Union with late goals by Spiro Goulakos and Darcy Murphy, but Max Novak sealed the deal for Union on an empty-net goal with 2:13 left.
“I want to congratulate Union, not only on the championship, but on the season they had and the run they’ve had recently,” Colgate coach Don Vaughan said. “They’re a very good hockey team and an unbelievable organization from top to bottom. They proved again tonight how good they are.”
Union dominated the all-tournament team. Carr, Vecchione, Stevens and defensemen Bodie and Gostisbehere made the squad. Colgate forward Tyson Spink was the other member.
Colgate 0 0 2 — 2
Union 0 3 2 — 5
First Period — None. Penalties — Hatch, Uni (boarding), 10:18; Tys. Spink, Col (holding), 15:12.
Second Period — 1, Union, Hatch 10 (Sullivan, Gostisbehere), 11:17. 2, Union, Carr 22 (Bodie, Novak), 13:51 (pp). 3, Union, Ciampini 19 (Carr, Taylor), 15:40. Penalties — Wilkins, Uni (charging), 6:04; Murphy, Col (elbowing), 13:42; Sullivan, Uni (interference), 18;22.
Third Period — 4, Union, Vecchione 12 (Carr, Ciampini), 7:30. 5, Colgate, Goulakos 9 (Johnston), 12:49. 6, Colgate, Murphy 19 (Kulevich, Spink), 17:16. 7, Union, Novak 11 (Hatch), 17:47 (en). Penalty — Cruice, Uni (tripping), 4:01.
Shots on Goal — Colgate 16-8-9 — 33. Union 5-15-9 — 29.
Power-play opportunities — Colgate 0 of 4; Union 1 of 2.
Goalies — Colgate, Finn 16-7-4 (28 shots-24 saves). Union, Stevens 24-4-2 (33-31).
A — 4,850. T — 2:14.
Referees — Robert St. Lawrence, Chip McDonald. Linesmen — Jim Briggs, David Brown.