PHILADELPHIA – Union showed college hockey it isn’t intimidated by the traditional powers.
Surviving a surge from best offense in the nation, the Dutchmen defeated Boston College 5-4 in the Frozen Four semifinals on Thursday evening in Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center.
Union (31-6-4) advances to the program’s first national championship in its second Frozen Four appearance.
Boston College scored two goals in the final two minutes and got a shot on goal as time expired but the desperation run came up short.
“We couldn’t sit back. We had to keep pushing the pace,” said Union’s Daniel Ciampini, who had a hat trick. “I felt like that was the biggest thing that we needed to do is just push back and not just sit back and let them come at us.”
Ciampini provided the insurance Union would need with his third goal of the night with 70 seconds left to play. The empty-net goal made it 5-3.
Three goals were scored in the final 1:45.
Hobey Baker Award favorite Johnny Gaudreau led Boston College with a goal and two assists but had his final shot stuffed by Union goaltender Colin Stevens to end the game.
Stevens finished with 34 saves. Boston College goaltender Thatcher Demko had 36 saves.
Union, which has a 16-game unbeaten streak (15-0-1), looked overmatched in the opening period and fell behind 1-0. That changed in the second period as Boston College (28-8-4) went on the defensive and eventually lost the shots-on-goal battle 41-38. The Dutchmen’s most impressive sequence might have been a five-minute penalty kill midway through the third period. Seconds after the penalty expired, Mike Vecchione’s goal gave Union a 4-2 lead.
“There was never any give-up in us,” Eagles coach Jerry York said. “We just never got quite in sync with that major penalty. … But I think during the course of the night we played pretty good hockey here.”
Union senior captain Mat Bodie, who scored the Dutchmen’s first goal, said he’s never seen a team battle like Boston College did to the end.
The 4-2 and 5-3 differences were just too much for Boston College and Gaudreau to recover from.