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Union Plays Role To Beat Eagles
Posted by Rudy Martinez on Apr 10, 2014 - 5:22:57 PM

PHILADELPHIA—The Union Dutchmen make their fourth appearance their best. Since competing in Division I hockey in 2011, the small school from central New York dominated the Boston College powerhouse to make their first trip to the National Championship. Daniel Ciampini scored his first career hat trick in a 5-4 win at Wells Fargo Arena on Thursday night.


The Dutchmen make another run at their first Frozen Four Title while the Golden Eagles continue a longstanding legacy. As the smallest school comes into the 2014 National Semifinals, the hope of playing hard against one of the best ECAC teams that have won five titles with their last coming in 2012.  The Division three school with less than 2,500 students fights for the fourth time since making their tournament appearance in 2011.


Union showed great puck play at the start of the first trying to get their offense up to speed against a division one powerhouse. Boston College got on the board with a fight in the neutral zone where they stole it and broke into the Union end where a battle in the crease ended with Johnny Gaudreau scoring two minutes into the period for his 36th of the year.


Gaudreau nearly scored his second with a high shot over Colin Stevens but hit the crossbar. Union took their shots on net to Golden Eagles net minder Thatcher Demko but were denied off the start. The received their first power play where a shot went off the crossbar nearly tying the game. The Dutchmen kept pace with the Eagles in the remaining minutes of the period but down a goal meant a more power playing movement in the second. Union outshot BC 11-9.


Union turned around the game in the second period where their first shot made it a tie game from Mat Bodie. On a fight into the Boston College zone, Bodie sent a drive through the legs of a defenseman that went over Demko on the stick side to tie the game and give him seven goals. Considered one of the best shooters in the tournament, the junior defenseman continued to put pressure on the big school showing that the underdog was not meant to be underestimated.


Both teams began to take risky chances at net where the Dutchmen made a huge save out front near Stevens and then nearly made it their game to hold with a shot off the post in the BC end. Union continued to show determination as they gained offensive ground that the Golden Eagles couldn’t handle. Ciampini made it 2-1 off the faceoff where a wrist shot went off the glove of Demko for Ciampini to put the stick on the rebound and scored his 20th of the season.


It became the breaking point for BC’s frustration as Demko went to the bench to yell at his team to get their act together. Their best attempt came on a 4 on 1 situation but failed to tie the game on Union’s defensive slip up. A twisted wrister helped the Golden Eagles to tie the game where a perfect drive went right under the bar. “We got the puck out of the zone a clean breakout Chris Calnan saw me coming late I didn’t really aim, just shot it and got a lucky bounce,” said Santini who scored his third goal this year.


It was the goal to bring Boston back into the game. With a ticket to the national championship at stake, both college squads showed tremendous power where Union outshot BC 17-15 through the period. Union took a 3-2 lead on a cross pass from where Ciampini took a one timer through center to give him his second of the night. The Dutchmen made a big mistake as Matt Hatch checked BC’s Michael Sit into the glass falling down and having trouble getting up. It sent the Golden Eagles on a huge five minute power play. Hatch was sent off the ice for the rest of the game as his check hit Sit from behind that might result in a suspension.


Boston College’s time to attack was Union’s biggest pressure point of the game but began as a slow offense from the Golden Eagles who are 0-4 on the man advantage through the tournament. They took four shots in the five minute span where the last here Teddy Doherty’s shot near Stevens hit the cross bar. The Dutchmen made them pay dearly for the wasted time as Mike Vecchione scored on a rebound from Kevin Sullivan’s shot that was stopped by the glove of Demko to go back to the freshman forward making it a two goal margin for the tiny upstate New York school. ”I don’t think we ever had a doubt in our minds that we weren’t in this game they got a little momentum swing but we still pushed back,” Ciampini said.


Boston College was not out of the game yet as they battled hard with time falling off the clock in a desperate attempt to make the comeback and force overtime. With 105 ticks left, they made it a one goal margin where a drive from Micheal Matheson came to the stick of Ryan Fitzgerald where he put it behind Stevens for his 13th.

Sullivan nearly got away with an empty net goal as Demko was leaving the ice for the extra attacker. It wasn’t the last attempt for Union as Bodie cleared the puck out into the BC zone where Ciampini ran to the other end to gain possession and score the empty netter for his first career hat trick. “It’s not just me I play with great players on the line and I got lucky with two tips and one he fumbled there so just being in the right spot at the right time,” he said about his accomplishment.


Demko went back to the net where he slammed the stick into the post in complete anger. Time was still on the clock as the Golden Eagles again left the net empty to attempt a two goal miracle. It began to work as a drive from Patrick Brown scored over the Stevens’ glove for his 15th. 4.2 seconds remained on the clock and amazingly the Golden Eagles won the faceoff where Gaudreau took one last shot on net that was stopped by Stevens to end the game.


The massive upset couldn’t be described as such due to Union’s competitive spirit in the past few years. They came into the tournament as the fourth best defensive team and second best at scoring the puck. Both were shown to be better against Boston College on the night and will go on to try and become the smallest school to win a major national Division I championship. “Both teams were very skilled and worked extremely hard and it came down to them not giving up and it made the difference,” said Santini.


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