It certainly was a great weekend for Union junior center Max Novak.
Forget about being named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA hockey tournament East Regional. He earned a much higher honor.
His first-period power-play goal in Friday’s 5-2 semifinal victory over Vermont was the “SportsCenter Top-10” play of the night.
On the goal, Novak was going to the net when he took a Kevin Sullivan pass from the bottom of the right circle. The pass was slightly behind him, so he had to corral it with his skate. Novak got it to his stick and, as he was falling to the ice, he lifted a backhander past Catamounts goalie Brody Hoffman.
“I got a couple of texts right around 11:50 [Friday night], like 10 minutes before they showed it,” Novak said. “I wasn’t really knowing what to expect. I watched it, and they were going through all the plays. I was like, ah, I guess I didn’t make it on there.
“It turned out being the No. 1 play. It was a cool thing.”
There was a little bit of razzing from his teammates.
“They were just calling me an all-star and a superstar,” Novak said.
When Novak was asked about the goal Friday, he said he didn’t fall down. When he saw it later, he realized he did lose an edge.
“I might have blacked out at that point,” Novak said. “I didn’t remember it.”
Novak, who was also named to the all-tournament team, had three goals and an assist in the regional. He had the game-winning goals both days. He was surprised to win the MOP.
“It’s just a testament to the guys I play with,” Novak said. “They put me in good situations throughout the season and, fortunately for me, I’ve capitalized on a few of those.”
Three of Novak’s teammates joined him on the all-tournament team. They were defensemen Mat Bodie and Shayne Gostisbehere, and goalie Colin Stevens.
The other team members were forwards Mark Jankowski of Providence and Chris McCarthy of Vermont.
FROZEN FOUR TICKETS
Union will begin selling all-session passes for the Frozen Four on Monday. The Frozen Four will be April 10 and 12 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
The three-game packages cost $230 for the lower bowl, and $205 for the upper bowl.
To purchase tickets, call the Union ticket office at 388-6020, or by email at email@example.com.
Based on availability, individual game tickets may be purchased at the NCAA ticket site. Tickets may also be purchased through www.ticketmaster.com.
The semifinals April 10 are 5 and 8:30 p.m. The championship game is April 12 at 7:30 p.m. The Dutchmen will face the winner of the Northeast Regional.
With the Union students on spring break this week, the school band didn’t make the trip to the regionals.
So, Union did the same thing it did two years ago, asking the Sacred Heart University band to fill in. With them playing, the Dutchmen are 4-0 and have won the regional twice.
Providence coach Nate Leaman was impressed with Gostisbehere’s effort, especially when he played goalie in the first period, stopping stopped Conor MacPhee twice when Stevens was caught out of position during a scramble in front of the Union net.
“Last night, I said he’s their best forward,” said Leaman, the former Union coach. “Tonight, he might be their best goalie. He’s a big-time player. He’s very deserving of being a Hobey Baker finalist. I think people will be talking about that kid for a long time.”