College Hockey:
Union uses three-goal second period for third straight ECAC Hockey Whitelaw Cup

Five players scored in Union’s victory over Colgate (photo: Marilyn Zube).

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. — The number 13 is lucky for Colgate, which celebrates Colgate day every Friday the 13th, as the university was founded by 13 men with $13 and 13 prayers.

Union doesn’t have a lucky number attached to the school, but if it did, three might be a good choice.

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The top-seeded Dutchmen scored three times in the second period Saturday at Herb Brooks Arena to beat Colgate 5-2 and win the program’s third straight ECAC Hockey tournament title in front of a crowd of 4,850.

It’s the first time a school has won three consecutive Whitelaw Cups since Boston University won four straight from 1974 to 1977, while Cornell also won four in a row from 1967 to 1970.

Union has appeared in the tournament championship game in four of the last five years, while also winning three regular season titles over the last four years.

Matt Hatch, Dan Carr, Daniel Ciampini, Mike Vecchione and Max Novak scored for the Dutchmen, while Colin Stevens made 31 saves.

“I think it’s a testament to where this program has been and where it’s going,” Hatch said of Union’s dominance. “We came in here and it was on the rise and that’s kind of where we’re leaving it as a class. I think that’s a testament of all the hard work that’s been put in before us and in our class.”

For coach Rick Bennett, the Dutchmen’s success is also tied to the support the team has received from the university administration and the Garnet Blades, the team’s booster club.

“Their support for this program has been phenomenal and we’re lucky to have them,” Bennett said.

Spiro Goulakos and Darcy Murphy scored for Colgate, which was making its first appearance in the ECAC title game since 1990. The Raiders finished second in the regular season and second in the league tournament after being picked ninth in the preseason.

“I think our body of work this year from start to finish has been really special and that speaks a lot to the character in our locker room,” Colgate coach Don Vaughan said. “I don’t think a lot of people expected us to be in this position at the start of the year.”

Even with the loss, the Raiders should make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2005.

Just as they did against Cornell in Friday’s semifinals, the Dutchmen (28-6-4) took control with a quick scoring surge late in the second period.

Shayne Gostisbehere ripped a shot from the right point that was tipped by Kevin Sullivan straight to a waiting Hatch, who snapped it past Charlie Finn (24 saves) to make it 1-0 at 11:17.

Union went up 2-0 when Carr rocketed a power-play one-timer past Finn from the right circle at 13:51. Ciampini shoved a rebound of Carr’s wraparound attempt into the net at 15:40 to make it 3-0.

“I think quick strikes are one thing that we did really well this weekend,” Stevens said.

Vecchione made it 4-0 at 7:30 into the final period, but Colgate cut the lead to three with Goulakos’ goal at 12:49 and then pulled Finn for an extra attacker at 17:21.

Murphy scored to make it 4-2 at 17:16, but Novak’s empty-netter sealed it 31 seconds later.

Colgate outshot Union 16-5 and had several chances in the first period. Andrew Black just missed backhanding a rebound past Stevens in the opening minutes, and then watched Joe Wilson’s pass sail wide of him on a short-handed two-on-one rush later in the period.

“If we could have gotten one or two in the first period, I thought the game could have played out differently,” Vaughan said. “We had some good looks that didn’t go.”

Both teams will learn their NCAA tournament destinations Sunday at noon EDT. Union enters the tournament on a 13-game unbeaten streak and likely will be a No. 1 seed.

Carr was named the tournament’s most outstanding player, and was joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Mat Bodie, Vecchione, Gostisbehere and Stevens, along with Colgate’s Tyson Spink.

The win was Bennett’s third Whitelaw Cup in as many years as coach, and moved his ECAC tournament record to 12-0.

“If you have to prepare for a question like that, I guess that’s a good thing,” he said when asked how this year compared to the two previous seasons. “I’m not going to compare those last teams; I just know that this team is really special. … It means a ton.”

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