Union College Advances To Frozen Four
For the first time in program history the Union College men's ice hockey team (26-7-7, 14-4-4 ECAC Hockey) is going to the Frozen Four. The Dutchmen won the NCAA Division I East Regional title game at Webster Bank Arena on Saturday night, defeating UMass-Lowell, 4-2.
Sophomore forward Josh Jooris had a goal and an assist, and junior forward Jeremy Welsh had a goal, his team-leading 27th of the year, to lead the Dutchmen. Sophomore goaltender Troy Grosenick stopped 19 of 21 shots to earn the win. Welsh was named the East Regional Most Outstanding Player.
The Dutchmen advance to the 2012 Frozen Four in Tampa, Florida, with semifinal games scheduled for April 5 and the national championship game on April 7. UMass-Lowell finishes the season 24-13-1 (17-9-1 Hockey East).
The matchup featured two programs who have had outstanding seasons with a first year coach, featuring Union's Rick Bennett and UMass Lowell's Norm Bazin. The Dutchmen were in search of their fourth straight win over Lowell (in the first meeting since 2009).
Union's first opportunity came at 2:12 when a pass out front was tipped high off the stick of Matt Hatch into the glove of Doug Carr. Lowell came the other way at 2:32 and a Joseph Pendenza shot off the glove of Troy Grosenick almost dribbled in. He swept it away just before it crossed the line and the video review confirmed the call.
The Dutchmen, 19-3-4 when scoring first this season, got a giveaway from a defenseman behind the River Hawk net. Junior forward Kyle Bodie got the puck on the left behind the net and quickly fed an open Daniel Ciampini in the slot. The freshman winger fired home his third of the season at 3:03.
UML got the first power play of the night but the Dutchmen killed off the hooking call to Jooris at 4:19. The River Hawks got only one wide shot off during the man up. At 7:06 junior forward Wayne Simpson shot from inside the left circle and the rebound was also stopped off the shot of senior forward Kelly Zajac.
The Dutchmen went on a short lived power play with a Terrence Wallin boarding call at 7:33. Doug Carr made two saves on the man up including a big pad stop off a Welsh drive from the mid point. But sophomore forward Daniel Carr was called for interference at 8:20 to set up the four-on-four.
Jooris got a pass at the top of the right circle at 13:46 that was kicked away and out of play by Carr. With 4:42 left, Union won a faceoff at the left dot and Simpson got the feed but his drive was stopped. Another defensive giveaway in the Lowell zone led to a loose puck in front for Hatch, who nailed a wrister that was stopped and rebounded right back out to Zajac, who also was stopped by Carr. With 3:27 left, the flurry continued with a drive by Welsh and a rebound shot by Jooris both denied by the River Hawk netminder. With 2:54 left, it continued with a Max Novak shot stopped close in front. Carr made seven saves in the final three plus minutes.
Lowell's Scott Wilson got a pass off a face off and his shot between the circles was snagged with the glove by Grosenick with 54 seconds left. Shots in the period were 18-9 in favor of Union.
Just 1:40 seconds into the second period, a shot off the glass bounced out in front and David Vallorani picked it up and was stopped close in front. Moments later at 1:53 Ciampini had a shot from the top of the left circle go wide. The puck stayed in the UML zone and at 3:56 a Greg Coburn shot form the right point was padded away by Carr. Union was outshooting the River Hawks, 5-1 through the first six minutes of the second period.
Then at 7:12, the Dutchmen took a 2-0 lead on their 25th shot on goal of the game. Welsh cleaned up a rebound on the doorstep for his 27th of the year. Carr and Jooris picked up assists on the play.
Lowell's second shot of the period did not come until 8:51 of the second stanza, with a right circle shot by Chad Ruhwedel tied up by Grosenick. After that shot, there were matching penalties followed by a boarding call on Union that set up a four-on-three for Lowell. Ruhwedel, the only man on the point, had a big drive stopped by Grosenick at 10:36 and a scrum ensued that saw the puck drift past his left post.
UMass Lowell got back to within one at 2-1 at 14:06. Wallin went around a checking defenseman in tight and the puck knocked off his right foot and found its way in for his eighth of the season.
The Dutchmen went on the power play with 3:34 left in the second, with Riley Wemore off for holding. Union got it back up to a two goal lead with a pretty backhander from inside the left circle by Jooris. It was his eighth of the season. Ciampini was called for a trip at 18:37. The Dutchmen outshot the River Hawks 12-4 in the period and 30-13 through two periods.
After he got out of the box early in the second, Ciampini came in covered by the left defenseman but got off a good backhander stopped by Carr. A two on one three minutes in had Carr drop a pass off to Jooris on the right circle, and his high shot rang off Carr's left post. With 4:30 gone, Lowell's Wetmore was open in the slot and held it before firing it wide left of the cage.
Lowell then got a break on a defensive giveaway behind the Union net. The puck slipped directly out in front and Matt Ferriera quickly deposited it in for his 29th of the season to pull the River Hawks within one at 3-2.
The River Hawks pressured in the Union zone and the Dutchmen called a time out with 9:26 left in the third. Just under the eight minute mark, Kyle Bodie shot in tight but was stopped on the left side by Carr. At 13:21 Welsh carried in the zone and fired from the top of the left circle and Carr made the stop.
The River Hawks had a golden opportunity when Shayne Thompson's shot deflected and just wide but a rebound attempt to tuck it in was smothered by Grosenick with 4:49 left. With 3:38 remaining a left point shot by Jake Suter went wide left of the Union net, but the puck came back out in front and Grosenick was able to get it away from a crowd on the crease. The River Hawks called their time out with 1:47 left in regulation, after Carr caught a Welsh shot from the top of the circles.
Lowell pulled Carr with just over a minute left and the Dutchmen appeared to take a 4-2 lead with 40.6 seconds left. But the officials huddled, and then counted the goal scored by Kyle Bodie, his sixth.
Union finished with a 39-21 shot advantage on the night, with Grosenick stopped 19 and Carr making 36 saves.
As time ran out, the large Union contingent celebrated the historic moment. Welsh was joined on the all-tournament team by Jooris, Mat Bodie, Nolan Julseth-White and Grosenick.
The preceding information was provided by Jeffrey Weinstein, Assistant Sports Information Director for Union College Athletics.