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In Aaron Kemp, WCHA sees ‘passionate’ new women’s commissioner

Aaron Kemp, the senior associate athletic director at Mercyhurst, has been named the new commissioner of the women’s WCHA and will assume the position July 1 with a four-year contract.

The 38-year-old Kemp succeeds Sara Martin, who has served as the WCHA commissioner since its inception in 1999.

“I’m honored and excited for the opportunity to join the WCHA in this role,” Kemp said in a news release. “The WCHA has identified itself as the premier women’s hockey conference, producing some of the most elite players in the game today. I’m thrilled to begin serving the member institutions and student-athletes. I’m committed to the same tradition of excellence and look forward to enhancing the overall operation and image of the league moving forward.”

“Aaron is most passionate about hockey and has long been a strong proponent of student-athletes,” added St. Cloud State professor and search committee chair Bill Hudson. “He has overseen both women’s and men’s Division I ice hockey programs, he has a wealth of experience coaching both women’s and men’s collegiate teams, he has been involved in planning and organizing Frozen Fours and he has been a member of the NCAA hockey rules committee.”

Kemp joined the athletic administration staff at Mercyhurst in June of 2008. He was promoted to senior associate athletic director/Mercyhurst North East director of athletics in June of 2011 after serving as the associate athletic director/director of compliance on the Erie, Pa., campus.

Prior to joining the administration, Kemp was an assistant men’s hockey coach at his alma mater, Canisius, from 2002 to 2004 and was a member of the women’s hockey coaching staff at Mercyhurst from 2004 to 2008.

He has served on the executive committees for Atlantic Hockey and College Hockey America conferences, was on the local organizing committee for the 2003 men’s Frozen Four, was the tournament director for the 2011 women’s Frozen Four and currently serves on the NCAA hockey rules committee.

“I also want to take this opportunity to again thank retiring commissioner Sara Martin for all she had done to promote both the WCHA and women’s collegiate ice hockey over the past 15 years,” added Hudson. “Her commitment and dedication have been exemplary and we will always be grateful to her.”

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Clarkson co-head coach Shannon Desrosiers steps down

After winning the 2014 national championship, one half of the Clarkson husband-wife coaching duo, Shannon Desrosiers, is stepping down to spend more time with her family.

Her husband, Matt, will assume all head coaching duties and Matt Kelly has been promoted to first assistant coach.

“It is with both sadness and excitement that I step down from my duties coaching the women’s hockey team at Clarkson,” Desrosiers said in a news release. “It has been an amazing 11 years with the program and I could not be more proud of how far the team has come in my time here. I have been very fortunate to work with extremely talented and hardworking players, both past and present, and a staff that has made the job extremely competitive, entertaining and fun to come to work every day. Each year has brought a different challenge and has helped me grown personally and professionally.

“This year I learned from our team the true power of belief. That no matter what adversity we faced, the belief in a goal was far more powerful. It was an unbelievable experience and one that I will always remember.”

Desrosiers was first a Clarkson assistant coach from 2003 to 2008 and then co-head coach with Matt for the past six seasons.

“For now, it is time for me to focus more time and energy on our growing family,” Desrosiers added. “I will miss coaching tremendously, but I also look forward to the new challenges that lie ahead and thank Clarkson University for supporting me in doing so. I also personally want to thank president Tony Collins and Steve Yianoukos and Scott Smalling in the athletics department for allowing me the opportunity to help build the women’s hockey program at Clarkson. I love working at a prestigious institution like Clarkson University and appreciate the support given to both the program and me throughout my career here.”

A national search is underway to find a new Clarkson assistant coach.

New Hampshire tabs former Yale coach Witt to guide women’s team

New Hampshire announced Wednesday that Hilary Witt, who most recently served as assistant coach on the women’s 2014 U.S. Olympic team, has been named the Wildcats’ head women’s coach, effective May 5.

“It is an honor and a privilege to have the opportunity to join the University of New Hampshire and lead this program into the future,” said Witt, who is the fourth head coach in the 37-year history of the program, in a statement.

Witt has been involved with the U.S. Women’s National Team the past several years as both assistant coach and head scout. In addition to silver at the 2014 Olympics, she helped the U.S. win a pair of gold medals (2011, 2013) and silver medals (2007, 2012) at the IIHF Women’s World Championship.

Witt was previously an assistant at her alma mater, Northeastern, from 2010 to 2012 and prior to that, spent nine years (2002-10), including the final eight as head coach, at Yale, where was honored as ECAC Coach of the Year in her first season at the helm (2003).

As a player, Witt is the only Northeastern player who has eclipsed either 100 career goals or 200 career points, as she is the all-time leader with 113 goals and 208 points. She also ranks third in career assists (95), as well as second in games (140), and was a three-time Patty Kazmaier Award nominee.

Lassonde leaves Denver, named new associate coach at Dartmouth

Dartmouth announced Wednesday that David Lassonde will join the staff as an associate head coach for the 2014-15 season.

Lassonde replaces Dave Peters, who left to become head coach for the Selects Academy at the South Kent School in Connecticut.

“I am very pleased to have David join our staff and am excited to welcome him to the Dartmouth hockey family,” Dartmouth head coach Bob Gaudet said in a news release. “David brings a wealth of experience and a passion for the game that I know will be major assets to our program.

“I have worked with David over the years in numerous hockey clinics and festivals, and have always admired and respected his work ethic, knowledge of the game, eye for talent and coaching ability.”

At Dartmouth, Lassonde will work closely with the Big Green’s forwards and power-play units, as well as the team’s goalies. He will begin work in late June.

Most recently, Lassonde helped lead Denver to the NCHC tournament championship and a berth in the 2014 NCAA tournament.

“I would like to thank Coach Gaudet and the entire Dartmouth athletic administration for giving me the opportunity to return to the Granite State and practice my labor of love,” Lassonde added. “During my recent visit to Hanover, I was very impressed with the culture Coach Gaudet, Peters and John Rose have created around the hockey program, and I am grateful for the opportunity to become part of, and contribute to, the tradition of Big Green Hockey.

“Competition in ECAC Hockey has never been greater and I welcome the challenges of working in the league and at my first Ivy League institution. I am excited about this new chapter in my coaching career and ready to begin the work of helping the program, and its players, realize their goals, both on and off the ice.”

Prior to his time in Denver (2011-14), Lassonde was on staff at New Hampshire as an assistant coach (1988 to 1991 and 1997 to 2002) and associate head coach (2002 to 2011). Between his two stints with the Wildcats, Lassonde spent three seasons at both Wisconsin (1991 to 1994) and Miami (1994 to 1997).

The AHCA recognized Lassonde with the Terry Flanagan Award in 2007, presented to an assistant coach that has demonstrated a superior body of work throughout his career.

Lassonde was a goalie at Providence from 1981 to 1983.

Northeastern women promote Pellegrini to associate head coach

Northeastern announced the promotion of Jeff Pellegrini from women’s assistant coach to associate head coach on Tuesday.

Pellegrini replaces former associate head coach Linda Lundrigan, who stepped down following the 2013-14 season to pursue a new career path in clinical research.

“I am excited to move Jeff into the role of associate head coach,” Huskies’ head coach Dave Flint said in a statement. “Jeff works extremely hard and has proven that he is deserving of the position. I am confident he will pick up where Linda left off and will be successful in his new role.”

Pellegrini is entering his third year on the Northeastern coaching staff after joining the program prior to the 2012-13 season. He will continue to assist in all aspects of the program, including recruiting, planning and running practices, video breakdown and scouting.

Prior to joining the Huskies, Pellegrini worked with the Harvard women’s team as an assistant coach in 2011-12 and was an assistant coach of the Bowdoin men’s team from 2009 to 2011.

Pellegrini also served as an assistant coach at Massachusetts-Boston from 2006 to 2009.

Laylin tabbed new head coach at Hamline

Former Minnesota player Cory Laylin has accepted the head coaching position at Hamline.

Laylin has been the head coach of the North American Hockey League’s Brookings Blizzard the past two seasons.

“The entire Blizzard organization wants to wish Cory and his family all the best in the future,” said Blizzard owner Chris Canavati in a statement. “He has provided many young men the opportunity to grow and develop as hockey players. We want to thank he and his family for their time and service to our organization and the community of Brookings.”

Laylin played at Minnesota from 1988 to 1992 where his teams won two WCHA titles and played in the 1988 NCAA national championship game. He played professionally for 16 years in the United States and in Europe before starting his coaching career

Gaudreau’s 80-point season for Boston College earns player of the year honors

140411 18314400 Gaudreaus 80 point season for Boston College earns player of the year honors

Johnny Gaudreau had 36 goals and 80 points for Boston College (photo: Melissa Wade).

College hockey has not seen a forward like Johnny Gaudreau in quite a while.

How long will it be before this level of hockey sees another player of his caliber?

Boston College’s Gaudreau became the first player in 11 years to reach 80 points in a Hobey Baker Award-winning season, and it’s little surprise that Gaudreau is USCHO’s choice as national player of the year.

In an era of moderate individual scoring totals, Gaudreau’s season resume sits at the top of the pile.

En route to a 36-goal junior season, he had eight multiple-point games. That was capped by a hat trick in the Eagles’ NCAA tournament first-round win over Denver.

That game also was one of 22 this season (out of 40) in which Gaudreau had at least two points. He had a hand in all six BC goals and finished plus-5 for the game.

He had at least one point in 31 straight games, from Nov. 1 to March 15, tying the Hockey East record set by Maine’s Paul Kariya in the 1992-93 season.

For more on Gaudreau’s season and three-year career with Boston College, read our feature written after he won the Hobey Baker Award.

USCHO’s awards were selected by staff writers at the Frozen Four. The All-USCHO teams, rookie of the year and coach of the year were unveiled earlier.

Hat trick of trophies makes Union’s Bennett the choice as top coach

2014041222 31 375752 Hat trick of trophies makes Unions Bennett the choice as top coach

Rick Bennett led Union to a 32-win season and the national championship (photo: Jim Rosvold).

Of the six teams that won regular season championships in Division I men’s college hockey this season, only one also claimed its league’s postseason crown.

For good measure, coach Rick Bennett and Union added the big hardware at the end of the season.

In three seasons in charge at Union, Bennett has twice guided his teams to a sweep of the ECAC championships twice; last season, the Dutchmen finished fourth in the regular season but still won the playoff title.

Bennett and the Dutchmen posted 32 wins this season, a national high and the most in program history. The last of those wins was over Minnesota for the national championship, the first in Union’s history.

Those additions to Bennett’s resume were enough to earn USCHO’s coach of the year award.

In the last five seasons, only the 2011-12 Boston College team has posted more wins in a season (33) than the Dutchmen did this season.

It has to be noted that Bennett missed three of those wins and one of the team’s six losses after being suspended for a total of four games — two from his school and two more from ECAC Hockey. That followed an on-ice incident after a loss to Rensselaer in which Bennett shoved Engineers coach Seth Appert.

The Dutchmen’s loss on Jan. 31 at St. Lawrence — the first of the four games Bennett missed — was Union’s last of the season.

Union went 16-0-1 to close the season, at one point earning three straight shutouts and averaging 4.35 goals of offense per game.

USCHO’s awards were selected by staff writers at the Frozen Four. The All-USCHO teams and rookie of the year were unveiled earlier this week; the player of the year will be announced later Friday.

43-point debut season makes Quinnipiac’s Anas USCHO’s rookie of the year

20131109 Quinnipiac Yale Dewkett16 43 point debut season makes Quinnipiacs Anas USCHOs rookie of the year

Sam Anas scored 22 goals in his freshman year at Quinnipiac (photo: Matt Dewkett).

When Quinnipiac spent much of the 2012-13 season at No. 1 and finished as national runner-up, no Bobcats player had more than 17 goals or 31 points.

A year later, rookie Sam Anas had blown past the points threshold in January and recorded his 18th goal in February.

It was part of a tremendous debut season for Anas, who has been named the USCHO national rookie of the year.

He finished with 22 goals and 43 points, leading both Quinnipiac and the nation’s freshmen in both categories.

He had four two-goal games, the last one coming March 15 to help the Bobcats knock Yale out of the ECAC Hockey playoffs.

That was also the last of his 13 multiple-point games, a list that included a four-point night at Colgate on Nov. 1.

Anas’ point total this season compares favorably with players that went on to successful collegiate careers. Two years ago, Boston College’s Johnny Gaudreau recorded 44 points as a freshman and Minnesota’s Kyle Rau posted 43. Gaudreau was this season’s Hobey Baker Award winner after an 80-point season, while Rau was a third-team All-USCHO selection.

USCHO’s awards were selected by staff writers at the Frozen Four. The All-USCHO teams were named Wednesday; awards for coach and player of the year will be announced later this week.

Four Union players land on 2014 All-USCHO teams

140410 18192659 Four Union players land on 2014 All USCHO teams

Union’s Shayne Gostisbehere was a key part of the national championship-winning team (photo: Melissa Wade).

National champion Union has four players on the 2014 All-USCHO teams, including a pair of defensemen who this week signed pro contracts.

Defensemen Shayne Gostisbehere and Mat Bodie are on the first and second team, respectively. Gostisbehere gave up his final collegiate season to sign with the Philadelphia Flyers, while Bodie signed with the New York Rangers at the end of his four-year career with the Dutchmen.

Union forward Daniel Carr was a second-team selection, while goaltender Colin Stevens appeared on the third team.

National runner-up Minnesota had three players honored: first-team defenseman Mike Reilly, second-team goaltender Adam Wilcox and third-team forward Kyle Rau.

Here are the three All-USCHO teams for the 2013-14 season:

First team

Connor Hellebuyck, sophomore goaltender, Massachusetts-Lowell

Shayne Gostisbehere, junior defenseman, Union

Mike Reilly, sophomore defenseman, Minnesota

Johnny Gaudreau, junior forward, Boston College

Kevin Hayes, senior forward, Boston College

Greg Carey, senior forward, St. Lawrence

Second team

Adam Wilcox, sophomore goaltender, Minnesota

Ben Hutton, sophomore defenseman, Maine

Mat Bodie, senior defenseman, Union

Cody Wydo, junior forward, Robert Morris

Nic Dowd, senior forward, St. Cloud State

Daniel Carr, senior forward, Union

Third team

Colin Stevens, junior goaltender, Union

Jake McCabe, junior defenseman, Wisconsin

Steve Weinstein, junior defenseman, Bentley

Kyle Rau, junior forward, Minnesota

Devin Shore, sophomore forward, Maine

Josh Archibald, junior forward, Nebraska-Omaha

USCHO awards were selected by staff writers during the Frozen Four. The coach of the year, rookie of the year and player of the year will be announced later this week.

Union defenseman Gostisbehere won’t return for senior year, signs with Flyers

 

140410 19023044 Union defenseman Gostisbehere wont return for senior year, signs with Flyers

Union’s Shayne Gostisbehere will start his pro career with Adirondack of the AHL (photo: Melissa Wade).

Shayne Gostisbehere won a national championship last weekend in Philadelphia with Union and the hometown NHL team took note.

On Tuesday, the Philadelphia Flyers announced they have signed the junior defenseman to an entry-level contract and Gostisbehere will report to the club’s AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms, for the remainder of the season.

Gostisbehere was originally selected in the third round (78th overall) by the Flyers in the 2012 NHL draft.

He led Union with a goal and two assists to go along with a plus-7 in the championship game, a 7-4 win over Minnesota, last Saturday night.

Over the course of three years at Union, Gostisbehere recorded 22 goals and 60 assists for 82 points in 118 games.

Notebook: Future’s bright for Union, Minnesota

2014041219 40 365590 Notebook: Futures bright for Union, Minnesota

Minnesota’s Justin Kloos scores the first goal for Minnesota on Saturday (photo: Jim Rosvold).

PHILADELPHIA — Union coach Rick Bennett and Minnesota’s Don Lucia both had high praise for their freshman classes after the Dutchmen’s 7-4 victory in Saturday’s national championship game.

“The freshmen (Justin Kloos, Taylor Cammarata, Hudson Fashing) scored three of the goals tonight,” said Minnesota coach Don Lucia. “It always [tough] when you lose your final game of the year, but … for the freshmen, it’s part of the process that you learn from. Hopefully they can take this [loss] as we begin next year and take another step forward. A lot of them have had great years for us, and we wouldn’t be in the position we’re in without them.”

I0000KSgX7LuBYUQ Notebook: Futures bright for Union, Minnesota

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On the Union side, rookies Mike Vecchione and Eli Lichtenwald scored for the Dutchmen.

“Yeah, let’s hope our future is bright with those guys, said Bennett, “Because they did an excellent job this past season.”

All-tournament team

Goal: Colin Stevens, Union
Defense: Mat Bodie, Union
Defense: Shayne Gostisbehere, Union
Forward: Daniel Ciampini, Union
Forward: Kyle Rau, Minnesota
Forward: Sam Warning, Minnesota

Most outstanding player: Shayne Gostisbehere, Union

A real plus

Gostisbehere, who had a goal and four assists on the weekend was an amazing plus-7 in the title game, after recording a minus-2 in Union’s semifinal win over Boston College.

“A plus-7 is pretty staggering,” said Union coach Rick Bennett. “He’s, you know, maybe some of the plays he wasn’t really a part of, but just his presence out there does create something, because you’ve got to be aware. That’s the sign of a great player.”

Making an impression

Gostisbehere, a third round draft pick by Philadelphia, was under a microscope this weekend and responded, treating Flyers fans to a preview of what they can expect in the near future. His performance recalled that of Thomas Vanek, who was named the most valuable player of the 2003 Frozen Four in Buffalo, leading Minnesota to the national championship.

“Yeah, it’s definitely pretty cool,” he said on winning a title in Philadelphia. “But when I’m playing with my teammates, nothing else matters.”

To beat the best …

Union was ranked No. 1 in the USCHO.com poll, but was the No. 3 seed heading into the tournament. To win the title, the Duthchmen had to go through second-seeded Boston College and top seed Minnesota.

“If you looked at the end of the year, there were kind of three teams that were BC, Minnesota, and Union, that were right at the top,” said Lucia. “Union beat BC and Minnesota back-to-back, and they certainly earned their national title. They’re an outstanding team.”

Attendance and atmosphere

The championship game drew 18,742 to Wells Fargo Center, the sixth-highest crowd for a championship game.

However, not every seat was filled. The arena seats 19,537 for hockey. It marked the second time in a row the national title game was not a sellout after 11 straight years with capacity crowds (not including the unique situation in 2010 where 37,592 were in attendance at cavernous Ford Field).

But a few empty seats didn’t dampen the atmosphere, which was electric for all three games.

“I thought Philly did a tremendous job as a venue,” said Lucia. “I thought they had a great atmosphere in the building tonight. … I thought it was a great environment for a national championship.”

“I noticed the Union faithful out there for sure,” said Gostisbehere. “I saw the fans in the stands, and they looked pretty happy. My mom was crying, of course. It was really awesome.”

“I don’t think many guys really took in the atmosphere during the game, but once that buzzer sounded, you look up and it’s a big building,” said Union defenseman Mat Bodie. “I didn’t realize how high the stands went up. It was just an incredible moment for me to soak it all in and see that jam-packed building. But like I said, during the game we were just all business. I hope everyone got to take it in at the end of the game there.”

Notes

• Union became the 21st Division I men’s hockey program to win a national title. Three of the last four seasons have seen a school win its first title after 17 seasons of wins by teams that had previously won a championship.

• It was the seventh championship game loss for Minnesota, a record. Boston College has lost six times in the title game.

• The 89 shots on goal (49 by Union; 40 by Minnesota) was a record for a regulation NCAA title game. Bowling Green and Minnesota-Duluth combined for 96 in a four-overtime championship game in 1984.

• Coming into the game, Minnesota was 18-0-5 when scoring the first goal this season.

• Union became the third Division III school to win a national title. Colorado College (1950 and 1957) and RPI (1954 and 1985) are the others.

• This season, all four NCAA hockey championships were won by Division III institutions. Clarkson won the D-I women’s championship (also over Minnesota). St. Norbert (men) and Plattsburgh (women) won D-III titles.

When it comes to plus-minus, Union’s Gostisbehere proves to be a big plus

2014041221 53 525729 When it comes to plus minus, Unions Gostisbehere proves to be a big plus

Union’s Shayne Gostisbehere tries to stuff the puck past Minnesota goaltender Adam Wilcox on Saturday (photo: Jim Rosvold).

PHILADELPHIA — There’s a growing number of analysts within the hockey community that look at plus-minus as an overrated statistic.

A player’s plus-minus number is a cumulative figure that ticks up when that player’s team scores a goal with him or her on the ice and goes down when they concede one with him or her out there.

I0000KSgX7LuBYUQ When it comes to plus minus, Unions Gostisbehere proves to be a big plus

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It’s true it’s not always the biggest thing you can point to in terms of a player’s performance in a game, but it’s often something that tells you who seemed to be everywhere out on the rink.

Union’s Shayne Gostisbehere finished Saturday’s Frozen Four championship game, a 7-4 win for the No. 1 Dutchmen over No. 2 Minnesota, with a plus-7 rating.

Just to confirm, we aren’t talking about plus-7 on the season, although that wouldn’t be unheard of for a lot of players.

Coming into the Frozen Four at Wells Fargo Center, however, the junior defenseman led Union with a plus-28.

He was plus-7 just in the final game of the season, one that saw the Dutchmen pick up their first national championship.

“A plus-7 is pretty staggering,” Union coach Rick Bennett said. “And maybe some of the plays he wasn’t really a part of, but just his presence out there does create something, because you’ve got to be aware [he's on the ice].

“That’s a sign of a great player. I thought their defensemen over at Minnesota, No. 5, [Mike] Reilly, was phenomenal tonight for them, too, so I can see that type of pressure when you have a guy like that back there, and we’re fortunate enough this year to have had [Shayne] out there as a guy you have to be aware of.”

Gostisbehere, a third-round NHL draft pick of the Philadelphia Flyers two years ago, was a machine on the home ice of the team with whom he may soon sign. He was asked about it late Saturday during the Dutchmen’s postgame news conference, but he was noncommittal in his answer.

He scored Union’s first goal of the game 9:26 into the contest against the Golden Gophers, and he assisted on two other tallies, including forward Kevin Sullivan’s strike with 1:22 remaining that put the contest to rest.

Hockey, like any sport, is meant to be fun to play. It’s always going to be when a player contributes like Gostisbehere did this season and especially in the team’s Frozen Four games against first Boston College and then Minnesota.

What makes it even sweeter is that his and his team’s accomplishments Saturday came in front of a distinctly pro-Union crowd cheering on the Schenectady, N.Y., school.

“All the support we have is just amazing, and it makes me want to play the game,” Gostisbehere said. “The game’s just fun, just playing every day and going to the rink with [my teammates] having fun and just winning at the same time, it’s a good combination and something you can’t describe.”

Whether Gostisbehere will forgo his final season of eligibility and sign with the Flyers is really a story for a different time. Saturday night was for him to celebrate with the teammates with whom he put on a masterclass on college hockey’s biggest stage.

“When I’m playing with my teammates, nothing else matters,” Gostisbehere said, “And we’re just having fun out there and when everything’s clicking, it’s amazing.

“We go down a goal both games here in the Frozen Four and we just bounce back like it’s nothing, like we’ve been there before. It starts with the leadership with ‘Bodes’ all the way down. It’s just amazing what our team can do, and I’m glad it all paid off in the end.”

Union completes two-decade journey in a two-minute explosion

2014041220 07 105604 Union completes two decade journey in a two minute explosion

Union’s Daniel Carr pressures Minnesota goaltender Adam Wilcox (photo: Jim Rosvold).

PHILADELPHIA — It took nearly two decades for Union to transition from an afterthought to a national contender. But the Dutchmen finished their ascension in a decidedly quicker fashion, scoring three times in a 1:54 span late in the first period en route to the program’s first-ever national title Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

It was a stunning stretch for a team that’s compiled plenty of quick scoring bursts this season, perhaps none bigger than against the Golden Gophers.

I0000KSgX7LuBYUQ Union completes two decade journey in a two minute explosion

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“I think that’s been a staple of our team all year, that we come in waves,” Union senior captain Mat Bodie said. “You really felt that at the end of the first there. I thought we really carried the play for a stretch of time there. All three of those goals were pack-of-wolves goals, where guys were on net, and second and third chances. I think that’s probably one of the biggest staples of our team all year.”

Mike Vecchione started the scoring streatch at 15:09, shoving a rebound past a sprawled-out Adam Wilcox and over the head of Minnesota forward Kyle Rau, who had slid into the crease to try to cover for his goalie.

The Dutchmen went up for good at 16:06, winning an offensive-zone faceoff and then scoring when Eli Lichtenwald grabbed a rebound and flipped a shot over a falling Wilcox that trickled into the net.

Daniel Ciampini followed his hat trick against Boston College on Thursday with a score from close in, crashing the net and snapping a shot into the exposed right side of the goal to make it 4-2 at 17:03.

“Just being around the net, and guys buying in and going to those hard areas,” senior forward Daniel Carr said. “Daniel Ciampini did a great job with the puck there. … Mike Vecchione put it right upstairs. When we talk about Union hockey, those are the areas that we want to go.”

That three-goal sequence was the fastest scoring stretch by a team since Colorado College scored a trio of goals in a 1:54 span during the third period of the 1957 championship game.

“I like to write a few things down after goals and it seemed like I was grabbing that notepad and pen and writing pretty furiously there,” Union coach Rick Bennett said. “So it was a good time to write. It was just an explosion. That’s what this team can do at certain times.”

That span capped a dominating season by the Dutchmen, who started their slow, steady ascension to national prominence with the school’s first NCAA tournament appearance in 2011. They’ve been back every year since then and have also won three consecutive Whitelaw Cups.

Union ended the season on a 17-game unbeaten streak and finished with 32 wins, the most in the country as well as in program history.

Despite those impressive accolades entering the Frozen Four, some observers incorrectly pegged the Dutchmen as the long shots among the four teams in Philadelphia.

“I said earlier this week that we never looked at ourselves as Cinderella,” junior defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere said. “We looked at ourselves as Union College and we’re just a team trying to win the national title. I guess we proved all those people wrong.”

His teammates pick up Stevens, then the Union goalie returns the favor

2014041220 05 265691 His teammates pick up Stevens, then the Union goalie returns the favor

Union’s Colin Stevens rebounded from a rough start to help the Dutchmen past Minnesota (photo: Jim Rosvold).

PHILADELPHIA — When you’re named the first-team All-ECAC Hockey and second-team All-American goaltender, you’ve won a lot of games for your team. The guys in front of you have left you out to dry many a time, and you’ve saved their bacon. A lot of their bacon.

But then there are times when you need the favor returned.

I0000KSgX7LuBYUQ His teammates pick up Stevens, then the Union goalie returns the favor

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One of those came on the biggest stage of the year. Union had advanced to the national championship game for the first time in the program’s history, in part thanks to goaltender Colin Stevens. The Dutchmen were facing Minnesota, a team that had appeared in the title game 11 times and won it all in five of them.

It didn’t take long for things to go wrong.

Just 2:37 into the game, Stevens fielded a shot but the puck dropped unbeknownst to his feet. Justin Kloos swooped in and knocked it into the net for a gut-wrenching early Gophers lead.

OK guys. My bad. Pick me up.

Shayne Gostisbehere responded with a tying goal at 9:26, but just 37 seconds later, Stevens gave it back. After a Kyle Rau wraparound attempt, Stevens was slow to get back up — too slow — and as he lay prone, body pointed to center ice, Sam Warning fired the puck from along the goal line into the open net.

Two bad goals?

Two?

The contest was barely more than 10 minutes old and the unthinkable had happened. In the biggest game of his career, Stevens had given up not one, but two, bad goals in the early going.

“Obviously, I was nervous going into the national championship game,” Stevens admitted. “A couple of the goals I definitely would have wanted back.”

It was left to his teammates to pick him up as he’d done for them so many times.

“He might want to have one of those back, but he made some huge saves throughout the game,” Mat Bodie said. “I think Steve-o played a great game.

“But Shayne really picked us all up with that first goal and got us going. We just expect guys to pick each other up and that’s what we tonight.”

And, oh, how they did it. Union scored three times in less than two minutes to seize a 4-2 lead they never surrendered.

140412 22512479 His teammates pick up Stevens, then the Union goalie returns the favor

Union’s Mat Bodie and Colin Stevens share a laugh on the ice after winning the national title (photo: Melissa Wade).

Early in the second period, Minnesota scored on the rebound after a prolonged flurry, but Stevens made stop after stop after that. He’d finish with 17 saves in the period, none more impressive than when Kloos broke in, forcing a spectacular pad save on him and then Taylor Cammarata on the rebound.

“The more shots I faced, the more confident I felt,” Stevens said. “And the guys did a great job in front of me. Hats off to them.”

Max Novak scored an insurance goal in the third period that soon became huge because Minnesota’s Hudson Fasching responded with a power-play goal with 3:40 remaining on to make it 5-4.

3:40.

A lifetime.

But Kevin Sullivan scored a backbreaker on the transition to seal the deal at 18:38, and Bodie added an empty-netter soon after. Union had secured its first NCAA hockey championship.

After the rocky start, Stevens stood tall, finishing with 36 saves.

“I didn’t play my best game, but it was good enough to win and that’s all that matters,” he said.

National champions.

“I can’t even put into words how good it feels,” Stevens said. “It’s kind of surreal right now, but it’s every kid’s dream to win a national championship. I can’t wait to bring the title home to Schenectady.”

Minnesota rues stretch where ‘we hung our goalie out to dry’

2014041220 07 145607 Minnesota rues stretch where we hung our goalie out to dry

Union scores one of four first-period goals against Minnesota on Saturday (photo: Jim Rosvold).

PHILADELPHIA — One minute and 54 seconds. Such a short span, but one that will undoubtedly be revisited over and over during the course of the lives of every single Minnesota player.

Leading Union 2-1 midway through the national championship game on Saturday, the Golden Gophers lost their focus for two minutes and arguably lost any chance they had at the NCAA title.

I0000KSgX7LuBYUQ Minnesota rues stretch where we hung our goalie out to dry

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“I thought we came out and had real good jump,” said coach Don Lucia. “I thought we had great energy. I’m not sure the mental part of our game matched the physical part. We made a few mistakes tonight that we don’t normally make.”

Between 15:09 and 17:03 in the first period, Minnesota’s team defense was utterly out of sync, leaving sophomore goaltender Adam Wilcox to fend for himself and allowing the Union offense to pick its moments.

First it was Mike Vecchione tying the game at 15:09, then Eli Lichtenwald giving Union a 3-2 lead at 16:06, and then Daniel Ciampini making it 4-2 at 17:03.

Even though the Gophers scored two more goals in the game, the mistakes made in that stretch were more than Minnesota could overcome in its bid for a sixth national championship.

“It just got away from us,” said freshman forward Justin Kloos. “We hung our goalie out to dry. He’s been our best player all year, and for us to put him through that was kind of disappointing.”

Wilcox, a sophomore, finished the season with a 1.97 GAA and .932 save percentage, fourth and second in the nation, respectively. He surrendered six goals Saturday, and had previously given up four or more goals in a single game just three times this season.

“Adam gave us a great year,” said Lucia. “We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him during the course of the season. It wasn’t an easy game for him.”

Lucia said he couldn’t have been prouder of the entire team, a young squad that likely overachieved by the coach’s estimation.

“You know, our guys tried,” said Lucia.

That two minutes late in the first, said Lucia, wasn’t a result of a lack of effort. In fact, it was just the opposite.

“I think some of that was just trying too hard, trying to do somebody else’s job,” said Lucia. “But that’s going to happen in a game of this magnitude. With their effort and how hard they wanted to win, sometimes you want to win too hard, too bad. You wanted to chase rather than just play your position.”

“I think we just made mental mistakes,” said Kloos. “I don’t think you can look at anyone in our locker room and say they weren’t physically trying their hardest, but mentally I think made a few too many mistakes in that segment.”

“We made mistakes that we haven’t been making all year,” said junior forward Travis Boyd. “[We] didn’t pick a great time to do it because there is no excuse for it today.

“And there is no other game where you can make up for it.”

Quinnipiac’s Anas named national rookie of the year

Quinnipiac’s Sam Anas has been named the national rookie of the year after leading the Bobcats with 22 goals and 43 points.

Anas received the Tim Taylor Award from the American Hockey Coaches Association, an honor named for the longtime Yale coach who passed away in 2013.

A Potomoc, Md., native, Anas led the nation’s rookies with 1.07 points per game.

He had 12 multiple-point games this season, including a four-point outing at Colgate on Nov. 1 and a pair of three-point games.

Gaudreau beat the odds on his way to the Hobey Baker Award

I0000q02NXsiaqCg Gaudreau beat the odds on his way to the Hobey Baker Award

Johnny Gaudreau led the nation in scoring the last two seasons, but there were times before he arrived at Boston College when his belief in himself was tested (photo: Melissa Wade).

PHILADELPHIA — Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Tom Brady dropped to seventh on the Michigan football team’s depth chart. And 16-year-old Johnny Gaudreau was cut from his southern New Jersey district hockey team.

Though he eventually became known as Johnny Hockey, leading the nation in scoring the last two years and being named the 2014 winner of the Hobey Baker Award, Gaudreau has had to endure times that tested his belief in himself.

I0000KSgX7LuBYUQ Gaudreau beat the odds on his way to the Hobey Baker Award

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For a time, it appeared that his dreams of playing collegiate hockey might be over. Without a place on his district teams, he missed key showcase tournaments and dropped off most teams’ recruiting radar.

“I got cut from a few teams and it put me down a little bit,” he said after the Hobey Baker Award ceremonies Friday. “But I had a lot of great coaches growing up that told me to just keep pushing and it would all work out. And it did.”

In a big way.

This year he scored 80 points, the first time since 2003 that any player has reached that mark. But for an athlete who even today stands only 5-foot-8 and weighs a mere 159 pounds, size has always been a question. Was he big enough?

“The first time I met him, I wondered who brought their little brother to practice,” BC captain Patrick Brown said.

Of course, the story doesn’t end there.

“Then he had three goals at our first scrimmage,” Brown said, “and I knew he was the real deal.”

As a freshman, Gaudreau’s skills became known nationwide when his highlight-reel goal sealed a win for the Eagles in the 2012 national championship game. But people who’d been watching him all season had known for a long time that Gaudreau was something special. And teammates like Brown got daily reminders.

“I’m glad I’m not a defenseman because he makes them look silly all the time in practice,” Brown said. “It’s really impressive. His ability to read a defenseman’s feet and their hips and the angle that they’re skating and then get around them is mind-boggling.”

Linemate Kevin Hayes, who’s enjoyed a front-row seat for the Johnny Hockey show, concurred: “The things he does on the ice, no one compares to it at this level.”

The list of admirers extended to even his victims.

“Johnny Gaudreau is the straw that stirs the drink,” Denver coach Jim Montgomery said after his former USHL protege ended the Pioneers’ season with a three-goal, three-assist performance. Montgomery even evoked the name of Mario Lemieux when discussing Gaudreau’s creativity.

Detractors are nowhere to be found.

“I’ve coached a lot of high-caliber players over the years, but Johnny is the elite of the elite,” BC coach Jerry York said.

Of course, the progression from a borderline collegiate prospect to the elite of the elite was no accident.

“[The secret is] his drive to get better,” Brown said. “He just loves the sport of hockey so much. Even when we’d have off days, he’d be down at the rink skating, working on his skills. He’s always trying to get guys together to play four-on-four down at the rink and play shinny. He lives and breathes hockey.”

Even with all the accolades, however, Gaudreau remains soft-spoken, as quick to pass praise to his teammates as a puck. In that respect, they’re all wide open.

“I never saw this [Hobey Baker Award] happening, but Coach York has put me with great players in my career,” Gaudreau said. “It’s hard not to play well when you’re playing with such great players.”

Union leads the way with four Division I All-Americans

140409 11174200 Union leads the way with four Division I All Americans

Union’s Mat Bodie is a first-team All-American (photo: Melissa Wade).

National finalist Union had four players tabbed All-Americans with the selections announced Friday afternoon.

Minnesota, who Union will play Saturday night for the NCAA championship, had three players chosen, while semifinalist Boston College also had a trio of players.

The fourth team in the Frozen Four, North Dakota, did not have an All-American this season.

The teams are broken up into two East teams and two West teams.

First Team – East

Player's Name
Position
Class
School
Kevin HayesFSr.Boston College
Johnny GaudreauFJr.Boston College
Greg CareyFSr.St. Lawrence
Mat BodieDSr.Union
Shayne GostisbehereDJr.Union
Connor HellebuyckGSo.Massachusetts-Lowell

First Team – West

Player's Name
Position
Class
School
Ryan DzingelFJr.Ohio State
Nic DowdFSr.St. Cloud State
Josh ArchibaldFJr.Nebraska-Omaha
Jake McCabeDJr.Wisconsin
Mike ReillyDSo.Minnesota
Sam BrittainGSr.Denver

Second Team – East

Player's Name
Position
Class
School
Devin ShoreFSo.Maine
Ryan HaggertyFJr.Rensselaer
Daniel CarrFSr.Union
Ben HuttonDSo.Maine
Michael MathesonDSo.Boston College
Colin StevensGJr.Union

Second Team – West

Player's Name
Position
Class
School
Kyle RauFJr.Minnesota
Michael MerschFSr.Wisconsin
Cody KunykFSr.Alaska
Austin CzarnikFJr.Miami
Joey LaLeggiaDJr.Denver
Colton ParaykoDSo.Alaska
Adam WilcoxGSo.Minnesota

Bruins sign Cornell junior forward Ferlin

20140222 5D3 0116 Bruins sign Cornell junior forward Ferlin

Brian Ferlin led Cornell with 27 points (photo: Shelley M. Szwast).

The Boston Bruins announced Friday that the club has signed Cornell junior forward Brian Ferlin to an entry-level contract.

Ferlin skated in 32 games for Cornell this season and led the team in goals (13) and points (27), while his 14 assists were tied for fourth.

Overall, Ferlin appeared in 92 games in three years at Cornell and racked up 31 goals and 41 assists for 72 points with a plus-25 rating.

Boston originally drafted the Jacksonville, Fla., native in the fourth round (121st overall) of the 2011 NHL draft.

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