With a trip to the National Championship game on the line, Union’s heart, tenacity, and skill prevailed over the finesse and star power of Boston College as the Dutchmen defeated the Eagles 5-4 Thursday evening at the Wells Fargo Center.
The trio of Gaudreau, Hayes, and Arnold is arguably the best trio in college hockey. They were established together earlier this season and have combined for a whopping 54 goals, 75 assists, and 129 points in 26 games.
However, it was Union who showed the country Thursday night just how good they are.
"First of all, I thought Union played very well, said BC head coach Jerry York. "They certainly have an
excellent hockey team, as do all the participants here in the tournament."
York added that he was impressed with Union defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere.
"Gostisbehere is an impressive player from back there", said York "That's one player that jumps at
me when I watch."
Rick Bennett’s Union squad dialed up their attack tremendously in the second period after the first period and they were rewarded for their efforts.
The Dutchmen would tie the game at one apiece courtesy of a Mat Bodie blast from the point at 2:39 of the second period. Bodie, who serves as Union’s captain, made a beautiful fake shot around the sliding BC defender and rifled a shot though a Daniel Ciampini screen over the shoulder of Thatcher Demko. It was Bodie’s seventh goal of the season. Bodie is undrafted, but he’s worthy of an NHL contract in my opinion.
"Behind the scenes the guy is a great leader," Gostisbehere said about Bodie in the post game press conference. "Leadership is a big part of why our team is where we are because of that guy." [Referring to Bodie].
The Dutchmen were shooting at Demko’s glove all night and it finally paid off in a goal as Shayne Gostisbehere’s (PHI) shot bounced off of Demko’s glove, and Daniel Ciampini collected the rebound for his 20th goal of the season at the 10:45 mark of the second period to give Union a 2-1 lead.
Not to be outdone, BC’s Steve Santini (NJ) collected his third goal of the year, which would knot the score at two with 4:07 left in the 2nd. Chris Calnan made an incredible pass to Santini who beat Stevens top shelf. Adam Gilmour (MIN) also collected an assist on the play. It was Santini’s first goal since Dec. 6 at New Hampshire, a span of 24 games.
After a thrilling second period, both teams entered the locker rooms tied at two.
With Ryan Fitzgerald in the box for interference, Shanye Gostisbehere’s blast was deflected in front by Daniel Ciampini for a 3-2 Union lead with 13:21 remaining in the 3rd period. It was Ciampini’s second goal of the game.
Union’s Matt Hatch then took a dumb check-from-behind penalty that gave BC a major power-play with 13:11 left in regulation. Hatch was assessed a game misconduct for the hit.
Fortunately, Union was able to kill off the major and get an extra bonus.
Just as the major was over, Kevin Sullivan picked off Steve Santini at the BC blueline and skated one-on-one in Demko. Demko stopped the initial shot and Sullivan found his own rebound and fed freshman Mike Vecchione who buried to give Union a 4-2 lead.
Ryan Fitzgerald made things interesting when he tucked home a rebound goal to make it 4-3 with just 1:45 to go. However, Daniel Ciampini’s empty-netter with 1:09 remaining sealed the hat trick for him and the victory for Union.
Patrick Brown tacked on a goal with 3.2 seconds to make it a 5-4 game.
For Union it was all cheers, for BC it was disappointment and despair. Union outshot BC by a 41-38 margin.
Union will be seeking their first national championship in program history as they will face Minnesota this Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Rick Bennett is now 18-2 all-time in the postseason.