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.