SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — In front of a crowd of 2,206, Union was able to beat Princeton and take the ECAC crown for the first time in their D-I history.
Union’s power-play unit was put to work early, getting their first opportunity five minutes into the first period. The Dutchmen showed why they are the top-ranked power play unit in the nation by promptly putting the puck into the net 10 seconds into the man advantage.
Daniel Carr scored the goal for Union, his 12th power-play goal of the season, from the right circle after being fed the puck by Mat Bodie at the point.
A minute later Princeton took another penalty when defensemen Alec Rush was given a game misconduct for a hit to the head.
With the five minute power play, the Dutchmen were again able to take advantage. The goal was scored by Luke Cain on a redirection of a shot from Greg Coburn from the point.
“We got the puck deep and they ended up on top. Then me and Pallos were in front of the net and got in the goalies eyes. Bodie had a good shot there and I banked it off somehow,” said Cain of the goal.
Union would add one more goal before the period ended.
Under a minute left in the period, Josh Jooris forced a turnover and took a backhanded shot in front of the net. Princeton goalie Mike Condon was able to block the shot, but Carr was there to put the rebound in. The goal was Carr’s second goal of the night, and his twentieth goal of the season, which ties him with Chris Ford for the most goals by a freshman in Union history.
In the third period Union would extend its lead.
Stephane Boileu improved the Dutchmen’s lead to a four after knocking in a rebound with ten minutes left to play in the period. John Simpson added a shorthanded goal four minutes later.
After Union was charged with a penalty Princeton head coach Guy Gadowsky took his goalie out in favor of an extra skater for a 6-on-4 advantage. Unfortunately for the Tigers, Simpson was able to corral the puck and score the empty-netter.
With the win the Dutchmen have won the Cleary Cup and grab the top seed in the upcoming playoffs.
“It is a five month trophy,” said Union head coach Nate Leaman. “It started in October, November, December, January, now February. It has been a long road. I think we improved throughout the season. That was a big key.”
Despite the accolade Union is remaining focused on the upcoming ECAC playoffs.
“Now it is back to a 0-0 record. It is something we might think about in the summer time, but our focus is right back to the playoffs,” said Leaman.
“There are good teams in this league and everyone is really tight, and if you take the night off you’re going to lose a game and so you have to bring it every single night,” added Cain.
With the loss Princeton ends the season in sixth place missing their chance at a first round bye.
“I feel good about our chances,” said Gadowsky. “I think we’ve done a heck of a job all year. We lost to a great team tonight, who had a lot to prove and came out and I give them all the credit in the world. What they had to do in the last fourteen games was just phenomenal. I give them all the props in the world, they did a heck of a job.”
The Tigers will host Saint Lawrence next weekend in a best-of-three playoff series.