Union men's hockey team advances to East Regional Final

Posted at: 03/28/2014 10:42 PM
Updated at: 04/03/2014 11:27 AM
By: Rodger Wyland

 Max Novak and Matt Hatch scored two goals each to lead #1 Union College to a 5-2 victory over the University of Vermont in an NCAA East Regional Semifinal Game at Webster Bank Arena Friday afternoon.

The Dutchmen, 29-6-4, are undefeated in the last 14 games (13-0-1). Union will play Providence tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. in the NCAA East Regional Final. The Catamounts of Hockey East end the program's 50th season with a record of 20-15-3. It was Union's first win over Vermont since November 15, 2003, 5-1 in Schenectady.

Union oushot Vermont, 39-25. Brody Hoffman made 34 saves for the Catamounts and Colin Stevens stopped 23 for the Dutchmen.

Daniel Carr's assist on the second goal by Union gave him 46 points for the season. He broke the single season record of 45 held by Mario Valery-Trabucco set in 2009.

Vermont had the first scoring opportunity at 2:24 when Brendan Bradley's drive from the right point was stopped and the rebound came out in the slot. But it was quickly swept away by the Union defense. The Catamounts had the first power play of the day at 3:27.

Mat Hatch took the puck from inside his zone and was one-on-one with a Catamount all the way down the ice. He came in from the right close and tucked in the puck inside the left post for a 1-0 Union lead. It was the 11th goal of the season for the senior and the fourth shorthanded goal for the Dutchwomen. Union got its first power play at 5:45 and had numerous chances both from the point and in tight through traffic.

Daniel Ciampini took a slapper from the top of the left circle that was stopped by Hoffman and the big pad save came out strong in front, but Daniel Carr's shot off the rebound was wide. Mike Vecchione had a dangerous drive from the right circle at 11:41 that featured a quick right skate/pad save by Hoffman.

Vermont's Chris McCarthy went behind the Union net and passed out front, but it was deflected and dribbled to the right inside the circle. He came out and one-timed the loose puck in for his 17th goal of the season.

Union got a power play at 6:21, and at 5:33 the Dutchmen converted. Charlie Vasaturo fed Carr in on the right, who dished over to an open Kevin Sullivan. Sullivan made a nifty stop of the pass then backhanded it high over Hoffman for a 2-1 Union lead. That ws Carr's record breaking point. Vermont got a power play at 15:23 that was killed off. At 18:17, there were two penalties called on the Catamounts and one on Union. Union had a few chances including a Ciampini backhander in tight with 10 seconds left. The period ended with 16 seconds remaining on Union's man advantage. Shots in the period were in favor of Union, 19-8. It was the highest shot total for the Dutchmen in a period since Union put 23 on Princeton in the second period of a 3-2 road win on January 11.

At 5:02 of the second, Union got the man-up. Daniel Ciampini had a chance close in the slot after a point shot, but the Cats and Hoffman kept them at bay. Union got another power play chance with 9:22 left in the second. With 6:14 left, Sullivan got a pass in front from Shane Gostisbehere but was tripped and went sprawling into the cage. Union made it 3-1 on the power play at 14:22. Novak came up the right boards and fed Daniel Carr in front, but the puck went off a defenseman and into the Vermont net to give Novak his second of the day and 13th of the season. Carr now has a point in nine straight games.

Union poured on the pressure in the final four minutes of the period, and got a power play with 1:18 remaining that would leave 42 seconds of a man up to start the third…but the Dutchmen had a penalty called with 24.4 seconds left in the second. The Dutchmen outshot the Catamounts, 12-5 in the second stanza.

Defenseman Rob Hamilton took a shot from the middle of the blue line 3:35 into the third, but Stevens made the pad stop. Union killed off a Catamount power play that began at 4:24. Union pressured mid way through the period with back to back shots from Eli Lichtenwald and Mat Bodie. Bodie added more insurance at 11:25, with his fifth of the year. Sullivan fed Bodie from the right circle and the defenseman held the puck while the defenseman dove down, then rang it off the post and into the cage for a 4-1 Union lead.

Vermont got closer at 13:19 on the 20th of the season by Mario Puskarich. He had an open net on the left after an initial save off a McCarthy shot. The Catamounts pulled the goalie in the final minutes and after a Mike Paliotta shot from the point was stopped by Stevens, Hatch got the puck near center ice and a defender fell, leaving Hatch skating in alone to seal the victory with the empty netter.