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Video: Union’s Stevens, Novak after winning national championship

PHILADELPHIA — Union goaltender Colin Stevens and forward Max Novak talked to the media in the locker room after winning the 2014 national championship with a 7-4 win over Minnesota on Saturday.

Video: Minnesota’s Mike Reilly, Cammarata after championship-game loss

PHILADELPHIA — Minnesota defenseman Mike Reilly and forward Taylor Cammarata talked to the media after a 7-4 loss to Union in the national championship game.

Line combinations for Minnesota vs. Union

PHILADELPHIA — Neither Minnesota nor Union has made any changes to its lines for Saturday’s national championship game.

Here’s how they’ll line up:

Minnesota (28-6-6)

11 Sam Warning-7 Kyle Rau-24 Hudson Fasching
16 Nate Condon-25 Justin Kloos-13 Taylor Cammarata
14 Tom Serratore-22 Travis Boyd-17 Seth Ambroz
21 Connor Reilly-27 Gabe Guertler-19 Vinni Lettieri

2 Brady Skjei-12 Justin Holl
5 Mike Reilly-6 Jake Parenteau
10 Ben Marshall-20 Michael Brodzinski

32 Adam Wilcox
1 Michael Shibrowski

Union (31-6-4)

9 Daniel Carr-21 Mike Vecchione-17 Daniel Ciampini
19 Matt Wilkins-12 Eli Lichtenwald-7 Michael Pontarelli
15 Matt Hatch-18 Max Novak-16 Kevin Sullivan
23 Cole Ikkala-11 Sam Coatta-8 Nick Cruice

22 Mat Bodie-24 Sebastien Gingras
14 Shayne Gostisbehere-2 Jeff Taylor
6 Charlie Vasaturo-28 Noah Henry

30 Colin Stevens
1 Alex Sakellaropoulos
31 Dillon Pieri

Our writers give a quick thought and pick for the championship game

PHILADELPHIA — Some of our staff writers give their thoughts and a pick on Saturday’s Frozen Four championship game between Minnesota and Union (7:30 p.m. EDT, ESPN):

Drew Claussen, Big Ten Columnist: I think Adam Wilcox is going to be the difference in the game for Minnesota as he was in the semifinal game. However, with the way my bracket has played out this year, Union fans should be elated that I’m picking Minnesota and sparing the Dutchmen of my curse. Minnesota 3-1

Jim Connelly, Hockey East Columnist: Although the popular pick may be Minnesota, I think that Union is the better, deeper team. Union 3-2

David H. Hendrickson, Hockey East Columnist: I was too impressed by Union’s play against Boston College to pick against the Dutchmen now. Not to mention that the Dutchmen had to beat three Hockey East teams to get here. Union 3-2

Chris Lerch, Atlantic Hockey Columnist: While Minnesota is coming off arguably the most dramatic non-overtime win in Frozen Four history, I think Union will be able to contain the Gophers and win a close game. Union 3-2

Nate Owen, ECAC Hockey Columnist: The Dutchmen should be patient and solid enough defensively to get by Minnesota. Union 4-3

Matthew Semisch, NCHC Columnist: Minnesota’s last-second win over North Dakota was one for the ages, but North Dakota would’ve won that game if not for Adam Wilcox, and I think Union might be able to do what UND didn’t. Union 3-1

Paula C. Weston, Big Ten Columnist: The Dutchmen look like they are playing complete, nearly flawless hockey. The Golden Gophers just squeaked by North Dakota. Union 3-2

Another unlikely star? Minnesota has a few possibilities

PHILADELPHIA — Before Minnesota’s 2-1 win over North Dakota Thursday night, senior Justin Holl was known as a stay-at-home defenseman and the consummate role-playing teammate, one who saw a little time as forward last season when asked, one who went back to defense willingly this year when told to do so.

One day later, Holl is a hero, scoring his first goal of the season with 0.6 seconds left in regulation, a beautiful, perfectly placed goal-scorer’s shot from between the circles that sailed past North Dakota’s Zane Gothberg and caught the net just inside of the right post.

Sometimes, the big stage creates big stars out of previously unknown players. In 2013, it was Yale junior Clinton Bourbonais, whose fourth goal of the season at 19:56 in the second period held up to be the winner against Quinnipiac. In 2009, it was Boston University sophomore forward Colby Cohen, whose eighth goal of the season at 11:47 in overtime lifted the Terriers over Miami.

This year, it’s Holl.

“I’m really happy for Justin, obviously,” said Minnesota forward and captain Nate Condon. “Being a really selfless player for our team, you’re really happy when a guy like that gets a big goal like that.”

Before Thursday night’s contest, Condon said that he and his teammates were joking about who would do the proverbial stepping up, mentioning Holl because he had yet to score a goal this season.

On a team where scoring is a collective effort, however, anyone can be the hero for the Golden Gophers on Saturday, if there’s a hero to be had.

There’s Condon himself, whose nine goals this season are three short of his career-high 12 in 2012-13, and whose last goals were two against Robert Morris two weeks ago, breaking a six-game drought.

There’s senior forward Tom Serratore, who has three goals this season — four fewer than last year — and who last scored March 1 against Penn State, the winner at 13:15 in the third period of a 2-1 game.

There’s junior defenseman Ben Marshall. With three goals this season, he’s five short of last year’s total. Like Serratore, Marshall’s last goal was a game-winning marker against Penn State — 20 games ago, at 15:59 in the third period of a Jan. 12 contest against the Nittany Lions.

Then there’s senior defenseman Jake Parenteau, who is one of two Golden Gophers skaters without a goal this season. In 30 games, Parenteau — another stay-at-home defender — has three assists. The only other skater without a goal is sophomore forward Ryan Reilly, who has played in just three games.

And Condon said that Parenteau was named alongside Holl before Thursday night’s game.

“I’m more than happy that Justin took the cake on that one,” said Parenteau. “That was a big goal and I’m glad he got it. We’ve still got one more game, so we’ll see what happens.”

Parenteau has four career goals in 112 career games.

Union remembers first win over Minnesota in 2010 as ‘a huge step’ for the program

PHILADELPHIA — It was over three years ago, but the Union Dutchmen still remember a 3-2 overtime win over Minnesota in the opening game of the Dodge Holiday Classic in Minneapolis.

“That was a massive win for us,” senior captain Mat Bodie said of the Dec. 31, 2010, tournament semifinal game at Mariucci Arena. “Guys were really excited. It was an overtime game. It was at their place. It was one of the bigger programs we’ve ever beaten. It’s all about taking baby steps, and I think that was a huge step in the growth of Union College.”

That the last time the teams met, and it was the first win against Minnesota for the Dutchmen, who had lost to the Gophers in the two previous meetings, including an 8-0 defeat in 2005.

Saturday features another chance for Union to reach a milestone against Minnesota — a win would give the Dutchmen their first national title.

“It was a monumental win for us because we went out there a few years previous … it wasn’t pretty,” Union coach Rick Bennett said. “I know one of our defensemen at the time, Lane Caffaro, found his way through the crease and ran their goalie over. I think we had to put him in a stick bag to get him out of there because it was pretty hostile. Who knows, maybe [the win] set the tone at that time for where they are today.”

Should Union beat Minnesota on Saturday, it would mark the second time this year an ECAC Hockey team has beaten a Minnesota team in the national championship. The Clarkson women’s team beat the Gophers 5-4 last month to win the school’s first national title.