Union (N.Y.) heads back to regional title game with win versus Vermont
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- Max Novak and Matt Hatch each scored two goals to help top-seeded Union (N.Y.) beat Vermont 5-2 on Friday in the opening game of the NCAA East Regional.
Mat Bodie also scored for Union, which came into the tournament as the nation's top-ranked team for the first time in program history after winning the ECAC tournament for the third consecutive season. Kevin Sullivan added three assists and Daniel Carr had two for the Dutchman (29-6-4).
Chris McCarthy had two goals for Vermont (20-15-3), which was making its first NCAA appearance since 2010.
Union is 13-0-1 in its past 14 games.
The Catamounts took eight penalties, and Union converted three times on special teams.
The Dutchmen got on the board 4:15 into the game with a short-handed goal. Hatch went almost end-to-end unimpeded, skating down the right half-wall before cutting into the slot and beating goalie Brody Hoffman to the glove side.
"That really got the bench going," Bodie said. "Special teams often dictate who wins and I thought our special teams did it tonight."
Vermont tied in the period when McCarthy went behind the Union net, threw the puck in front and saw it ricochet back to him for an easy shot past Colin Stevens, who made 23 saves. Hoffman had 34 for Vermont.
Union took the lead back just more than a minute later with a power-play goal. Carr's slap shot rebounded to Sullivan, who found Novak to the left of the goalie and he backhanded it into the net from his knees.
Carr played give-and-go with Novak on the power play to give the Dutchman a 3-1 lead in the second. Novak's pass back to Carr hit the stick of Vermont's Yvan Pattyn and into the net.
"We were moving the puck well, but more importantly we were winning the battles down low and that's a huge component to the power play," Novak said.
Bodie made it 4-1 on a 4-on-1 rush after taking a pass from Sullivan in front of the net.
Vermont cut the deficit to two goals on a backhander by McCarthy at 13:19 of the third. But Hatch got his second goal on an empty net to put the game away.
"Our kids played their hearts out, but just took too many penalties," said Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon, who coached Union from 1999-2003.
Vermont completed its first 20-win season since 2009, the last time the team reached the Frozen Four.
The Dutchmen, who lost to Quinnipiac in last year's regional championship game in Providence, will face the winner of Friday's second game between the Bobcats and Providence on Saturday for a berth in the Frozen Four.
"We're very honored to be going to that game," coach Rick Bennett said.
Union went to the Frozen Four in 2012, beating Massachusetts-Lowell on this same rink.