For a moment, Union defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere was scared.
Late in the first period, Gostisbehere was kicking the puck in the Union left-wing corner after Vermont’s Pete Massar hooked him, causing him to lose his stick. As he kicked the puck and with his back to the play, Vermont’s Jonathan Turk came at him, and Turk’s right knee slammed into the back of Gostisbehere’s knee.
Gostisbehere was hunched over and favored the knee as he skated to the bench. Fortunately for Gostisbehere, he didn’t miss a shift.
“I was a little concerned,” Gostisbehere said after the top-ranked Dutchmen beat the Catamounts, 5-2, in the NCAA hockey tournament East Regional semifinal at Webster Bank Arena. “My leg was a little numb there. I was glad I could put some pressure on it. It was fine from then.”
Gostisbehere did slip a couple of times in the second period, but he blamed that on the ice and not the knee.
“I mishandled the puck a couple of times,” Gostisbehere said.
Gostisbehere didn’t believe Turk’s hit was dirty.
“It’s a hockey play,” Gostisbehere said. “It’s two hockey players just playing hard against each other.”
Union coach Rick Bennett wouldn’t say if Turk’s hit was dirty.
“You could see it up on the big screen,” Bennett said. “It looked like his knee came up. But at the same token, the ref had a great explanation. I’ll keep that between him and I because I thought the reffing was phenomenal. I thought the linesmen were excellent. I’ll leave it at that.”
In the postgame handshake line, several members of the Union team thanked Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon for his role in helping the Union program start the growth process.
Sneddon was with the program from 1993-2003. He was the head coach from 1998-2003.
“I said, ‘Thanks for everything you accomplished at Union,’ ” Dutchmen senior defenseman and team captain Mat Bodie said. “He came in a real tough spot. He really was the first one to get the program moving in the right direction. Even though I don’t know the man at all, I’m grateful for what he did for us. I just thought that it was important that he heard that from current players.”
Sneddon was moved by the Dutchmen’s actions.
“Some of their players in the line actually thanked me for helping the program move forward, which you don’t often hear in a handshake line,” Sneddon said. “They’re classy individuals.”
Already owning the team Division I record for most career points, Union senior left winger Daniel Carr set another record.
With the two assists he had in the game, Carr increased his season point total to 47. That broke the record of 45 set by Mario Valery-Trabucco in 2009-10.
The last three Union wins have been by 5-2 scores.