PHILADELPHIA — On Wednesday, Union talked about how their experience at the 2012 Frozen Four was a “glad to be here” one. Fast forward two years later and the mindset was different. It was a business trip, and that is a reason why they’re a win away from their first national championship after defeating Boston College 5-4 in Thursday's first semifinal at Wells Fargo Center.
Union will play the winner of North Dakota/Minnesota for the national title on Saturday night.
Forward Daniel Ciampini, who finished with a hat trick, scored his second of the night 6:31 into the third period to give Union a 3-2 lead. But 18 seconds later, the Dutchman faced their biggest challenge of the night; no, not stopping Boston College’s dynamic top line of Johnny Gaudreau, Bill Arnold and Kevin Hayes — they combined for five points — but rather killing off a five-minute power play after Matt Hatch was given a major and game misconduct for checking from behind.
They killed it off and just over a minute later grabbed a 4-2 lead when Union forward Kevin Sullivan, who after being denied by Boston College goaltender Thatcher Demko, fed his rebound out front to Mike Vecchione for the fourth goal.
“We didn’t want [Hatch] to go out that way,” said Union defenseman Mat Bodie.
Both Arnold and Boston College head coach Jerry York described that five-minute sequence as the unit being “out of sync.” Union helped that by stifling the Eagles’ attempts by clogging lanes and blocking shots. The nation’s fifth-ranked power play managed eight shot attempts, two of which were blocked, on that man advantage.
“At crucial times, there were some nice blocked shots that we needed that really lifted our bench,” said Union head coach Rick Bennett.
All game long, when Boston College made a move, Union countered. Falling behind 1-0 2:08 into the game would be the only time Union trailed Thursday night.
From killing off the major penalty to withstanding Boston College’s feverish attempts to tie the game late in the third period, Union kept their confidence the entire way.
“Our team just didn’t get down at any moment,” said Union defenseman Shayne Gostibehere.
“It’s just great leadership and just everyone in our locker room pulling on the same rope.”
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