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College Hockey:
Union sticks to the game plan, and it pays off

— After taking advantage of numerous opportunities Friday, namely a multitude of Colgate turnovers that led to three goals, it was Union’s inability to convert through the first two periods against Harvard that stood out Saturday in the ECAC Hockey Championship.

The Dutchmen pelted Harvard goalie Rapheal Girard with 27 shots through the first two periods, including 15 in the first.

But the Harvard sophomore was up to task, sliding effortlessly across the crease to deny the best-laid plans of the Dutchmen and keep the game scoreless.

“It was plain and simple; stick to the process,” Union coach Rick Bennett said when asked what he told his team after the first two periods. “Stick to our game plan and it’s going to come through.”

That approach worked for Union, which scored three unanswered goals after Alex Killorn gave Harvard a 1-0 lead at 4:52 in the third.

The late outburst helped Union win its first ECAC Hockey playoff title with a 3-1 win, two years after losing to Cornell in its first title game.

“It means that we get to walk around like champions,” an emotional Bennett said when asked what the win meant for the Union program. “That’s something we’ll always remember.”

The Dutchmen have a good chance at getting one of the four No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament when the pairings are announced at noon EDT Sunday.

“They have a good blend of special teams and goaltending and they seem to be pretty healthy, which is not that easy to do at this time of year,” Harvard coach Ted Donato said. “We’ll be pulling hard for them and I think they can do some damage.”

Grosenick versus Girard

It was Union’s Troy Grosenick, not Girard, who entered the game as a Hobey Baker Award finalist. But the Harvard sophomore was every bit up to the task through the first two periods, holding Union scoreless. Grosenick, meanwhile, didn’t face a Crimson shot in the second until there were just under three minutes left.

When Killorn fired a shot pass Grosenick off an odd-man rush at 4:52 in the third, that seemed to be enough given the way Girard way playing.

“I definitely thought we could win [after Killorn scored],” Girard said. “Even though I made some good saves, guys were getting sticks in front of me and getting rebounds in corners.”

Still, it was a strong way to end the year for Girard, who took over for Steve Michalek in mid-February, and helped the Crimson grab a first-round playoff bye and home ice with a third-place finish.

All-tournament teams

Harvard and Union dominated the all-tournament team, as Grosenick, Killorn, Union forwards Jeremy Welsh and Daniel Carr, Union defender Shayne Gostisbehere and Harvard defender Danny Biega made up the team. Welsh was named the tournament’s most outstanding player, while Killorn finished leading the league in playoff scoring with 10 points on five goals and five assists.


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  • Union Tampa

    This was written about harvard with and at then end  “oh by the way, Union won.. let’s talk about how great harvard played..”

    As a Union fan, I’m numb… doesn’t matter.

    On to Tampa.. I mean BPORT.

    UT

    • css228

      You really need to stop acting so cocky. Your program has been to 2 ECAC title games, and only won 1. We’ve been to more ECAC title games in the last 4 years than you have in your entire history. Yet if we were in your position, despite having way more right to be arrogant about our program, you would not see us Ithacans booking hotels in Florida at this moment. Two years ago RIT made the Frozen Four. It wouldn’t remotely shock me to see you guys lose in the first round. You guys earned your Whitelaw, but don’t become UND fans overnight. It’s NCAA Hockey, not basketball. Being a 1 seed doesn’t make you an overwhelming favorite to win it all. 3 years ago the last team in made the Frozen Four and another four seed was less than a minute from winning it all. Once again, congratulations, but pride cometh before the fall.

      • Union Tampa

        Big Picture – Union doesn’t care about ECAC teams – we pummeled the division.  Not bragging – we did.  We care about blowing the doors off Michigan State, then the winner of Miami/UMASS-Lowell. 

        All of these teams demand our focus – but the team isn’t afraid anyone.  This isn’t 2011.  They were in BPORT last year, they’re here again.  Zajac said they weren’t ready and didn’t know what to expect.  They do now.

        College Hockey Fans are old school.  I get it.  But lets not get caught up in legacy..  Past titles are irrelevant.  Notre Dame football used to be good too, they haven’t been relevant in 15 yrs either… 

        Repeat it – “Big. Picture.” – “Union. Tampa.”

        Barry “I’m a Union Guy” Melrose can say it.

        UT

    • ibanezist00

      Considering this writeup was a recap of a game that included HARVARD as well as Union and the fact that it took Union about 50 minutes to overcome Harvard’s defense, I’d say they deserve all the talk they got. You remind me of the comments section of any article or writeup on this site that is about North Dakota.

      This is not NCAA basketball, please don’t give the ECAC a bad name by acting like hoops or WCHA hockey fans. As an RPI fan, I’m happy for Union and as a leaguemate wish them nothing but success in representing the ECAC, but you need to cool it/stop trolling every writeup. Anyone who is paying any semblance of attention knows Union is a good team and that there are no guarantees in NCAA hockey.

      • Union Tampa

        1st: – Props to RPI TV on a job well done!

        2nd:
        ECAC needs some swag.  ECAC fans let’s stop the in-fighting.  Your heads are not red and you’re not a stepchild.

        3rd:
        This site needs to give credit where it is due.  It is turning around, but until they won the whitelaw – the last Union blog article was written after the coach left in spring or early summer of 2011.  For the overall season champ and the tourney champ – the Union coverage is a joke.  Barry “I’m a Union Guy” Melrose, should help.

        This is probably related to the size of the fanbase, but also the size of the school.  Technically, only 500 graduates per yr – 250 men.  Assuming there are 60years of Union grads alive there are only 15,000 male alumni alive..  Add all the living women and you’ve got 30,000 total.  So I get it – sort of.

        4th:
        If Union rolled over, Harvard would have gotten in the tourney too – giving ECAC 3 teams in the tourney and taking away a CCHA team (michigan state – probably).

        5th:
        here’s our new slogan…  “Union:  At least we’re not Cornell.”  What?  I just went against my second point… Ahhhh…

        6th:
        OK, OK, – I will buy all the ECAC fans MOLSONs in TAMPA!!!

        UT

    • Guest

       I wanted to be happy for Union, and then I read your comment…

      • Union Tampa

        You’ll get over it.. 

        ECAC fans have an inferiority complex…  It’s not attractive..

        UT

  • Leggs2

    Barry Melrose predicts a BC-Union final.

    • Sioux Poo

      Who cares what that greasy mullet thinks!    

      • Union Tampa

        Can’t wait for Union to steamroll UND in Tampa..

        I’ll tell them to stop scoring after Union’s up by 6…

        “Just dump the puck boys, go easy on ‘em… hockey’s all they’ve got in ND”

        UT

    • css228

      So we should probably expect that it won’t happen, since this is a guy who was unaware that Ferlin is out for the season.

  • Fatty Mcgee the Union Alum

    Fans can be cocky all they want.  Esp fans of Union b/c we have suffered.  I graduated in the 90′s and saw a lot of really brutal hockey.  Bottom line is that it is the players on the ice that have to walk the walk.  I like our chances in the bracket, but it certainly won’t be easy.  Sparty is always good, Umass/Lowell is outstanding and Miami seems to always be on the verge of the Frozen 4.  Anyone of those schools could stomp Union easily if they are not playing their game and I am 100% certain the coaches and players know that.  It is great to be in the discussion and maybe if they play hard and get some breaks, we could end up in Tampa.        

    • Union Tampa

      Fatty – Beers are on me in Tampa…

      Welsh, Carr and Zajac are rolling into Sparta in a wooden horse….

      Then , Miami of Ohio is going to wish they were in south beach…

      UT

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