Union-Colgate ECACH championship game postgame report (with 2 videos)
A recap of Union’s 5-2 win over Colgate in the ECAC Hockey tournament championship game Saturday at 1980 Rink-Herb Brooks Arena.
Union became the third team in the league’s 53-year history to win three straight tournament titles. The Dutchmen join Cornell and Boston University on the short list. 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 of what it takes to play college hockey.”
Union coach Rick Bennett improved to 12-0 in ECACH tournament games. He is tied with Ned Harkness for the second-longest winning streak. BU’s Jack Parker is the leader with 13 straight wins.
“These guys have touched on ... the people that have worn the jersey before that,” Bennett said. “But it goes even deeper than that. Support from our school, president [Stephen] Ainlay, [athletic director] Jim McLaughlin, our Garnet Blades and [president] Tim Meigher. Their support for this program has been phenomenal.”
Union didn’t look like a team looking to make history.
The Dutchmen were outplayed in the first period. The Raiders, 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,” Bennett said. “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.”
If Colgate could have gotten one, they could have had the momentum.
“There was a little bit of frustration,” Colgate coach Don Vaughan said. “Against a team like Union, they’re patient, they’re going to stick to their game and they’re not going to get rattled. So, one or two [goals] might have helped.”
“I thought they did a good job weathering it,” Colgate forward Tyson Spink said. “But, sometimes, that’s the bounces of hockey.”
The 16-team NCAA tournament field will be announced at noon Sunday on ESPNU. Union should be in the top seed in the East Regional in Bridgeport, Conn.. The games are Friday and Saturday.
Both USCHO.com and College Hockey News are predicting an ECACH vs. Hockey East semifinal. Union will face Vermont, which is coached by former Dutchmen head coach Kevin Sneddon. The other semifinal has Quinnipiac meeting Providence, which is coached by ex-Dutchmen head coach Nate Leaman. The story lines are endless.
Streaks and records
— Union extended its unbeaten streak to 13 games (12-0-1). The Dutchmen are tied with Minnesota State for the longest unbeaten streak in the nation.
— The Dutchmen improve to 5-0-1 on the big ice sheet this season. Brooks Arena is 15 feet wider than normal rinks.
I have two postgame videos.
To see Union’s press conference, click here.
To see Union celebrating the title, click here.
My three stars of the game:
1) Daniel Carr, Union left winger — One goal, two assists.
2) Matt Hatch, Union left winger — One goal, one assist.
3) Daniel Ciampini, Union left winger — One goal, one assist.
That is all from Brooks Arena. Check my blog Sunday for the NCAA tournament announcement.
Good Night! Good Hockey!