Union-Vermont NCAA hockey East Regional semifinal postgame report (with 6 videos)
A recap of Union’s 5-2 win over Vermont in the NCAA hockey tournament East Regional semifinal Friday at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn.
Well, the East Regional final matchup is set. It will be Union against Providence at 3 p.m. Saturday. It will be Union coach Rick Bennett going up against Providence and his former Union boss, Nate Leaman.
Goalie Jon Gillies made 37 saves, and ex-Dutchmen forward Trevor Mingoia had a goal and an assist as the Friars ousted Quinnipiac, 4-0, in the second semifinal.
Anthony Florentino, Mark Janowski and Shane Luke also scored for the Friars.
Special teams are special, indeed
Union’s special teams played a major role in winning the game.
The Dutchmen were 2-for-7 on the power play. They killed off the Catamounts’ four power plays. And, for good measure, Union scored a short-handed goal.
Hatch got the short-handed goal 4:15 into the game.
“I thought it was pretty crucial,” Bennett said. “The short-handed [goal] kind of got us going because I thought we were just a bit flat a little bit coming out.”
Max Novak, who was in the penalty box when Hatch got the shorty, scored both of Union’s power-play goals. The first one broke a 1-1 tie late in the first when put a pass from Kevin Sullivan into the net.
“I was yelling for Kevin to throw that puck into that open space because I had some room over there,” Novak said. “He put it in a spot where I could pick it up. I used my foot [to corral it]. I just tried to flick it into the net with my backhand.”
Novak caught a break on his second power-play goal late in the second period.
He was coming down the right wing when Daniel Carr, who was leading a three-on-two rush down the middle, passed the puck to him. As Carr broke for the net, Novak sent the puck back to him. But before Carr could get his stick on it, the puck glanced off Vermont defenseman Yvan Pattyn and over goalie Brody Hoffman’s left shoulder.
“I tried to get it around that one defender that was on me there,” Novak said. “Whether it was [Matt] Wilkins was driving back post or ‘Carrsie’ going near post, I was just throwing it out there for one of them.”
In the postgame handshake line, several members of the Dutchmen thank 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.”
I have six postgame videos.
To see Union players’ press conference, click here.
To see Bennett’s press conference, click here.
To see an interview with Union defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, click here.
To see an interview with Hatch, click here.
To see an interview with Novak, click here.
To see an interview with Union goalie Colin Stevens, click here.
My three stars of the game:
1) Max Novak, Union center — Scored two power-play goals.
2) Matt Hatch, Union left winger — Had two goals, including one short-handed.
3) Chris McCarthy, Vermont center — Scored both Vermont goals.
That is all from Webster Bank Arena. I’ll see you tomorrow night for the East Regional championship game.
Good Night! Good Hockey!