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Union defeats Minnesota 7-4 to win school's first national hockey title

Minnesota and Union would gather at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia to determine the Division I men’s hockey champion on Saturday night, and the starting goaltenders for each team would play a pivotal role in determining the game’s final outcome.

Minnesota’s Brady Skjei took the game’s first penalty, for roughing, at 0:19 into the game, and the Dutchmen had a chance to work on the power play in the early going. The Gophers were able to kill off the penalty with one major Union chance getting the save treatment for Minnesota’s Adam Wilcox, the Gophers’ starter in net.

Justin Kloos would score the game’s first goal at 2:37 on even strength. Kloos was assisted by Nate Condon and Taylor Cammarata on the goal. Minnesota would draw a hooking penalty at 3:11 against Sam Warning. Union’s second power play of the night thus commenced. In a breath, the Dutchmen’s power play ended without a chance on goal. Union’s Shayne Gostisbehere drew the next penalty in the period, at 6:42, for holding, which gave Minnesota a power play to work with.

The Gophers would come up empty with their power play chance, leaving the game at 1-0 to Minnesota, at just over nine minutes in. Union tied the game at 9:26 when Shayne Gostisbehere would tally an even strength goal with assists from Jeff Taylor and Eli Lichtenwald. The goals would keep on coming, as Sam Warning scored at 10:03 (from Kyle Rau and Jake Parenteau) to go up 2-1. Mike Vecchione, Eli Lichtenwald, and Daniel Ciampini scored the next three goals, all for Union, in a span of 1:54 (from 15:09 to 17:03). At 18:44, coincidental minor penalties were called on Union’s Kevin Sullivan and Minnesota’s Tom Serratore for hitting after the whistle. Shots on goal through twenty minutes had Union ahead by a count of 20-15.

At 1:13 of the second period, Minnesota propelled themselves to within one when Taylor Cammarata scored on even strength. Cammarata had assists from Justin Kloos and Jake Parenteau. Minnesota’s Brady Skjei would visit the sin bin for roughing at 9:33 after a senseless hit after the whistle had blown. Union’s third power play of the night would not extend the Dutchmen’s lead which was at one goal over midway in.

Minnesota was winning faceoffs late in the period, which kept the Gophers alive in the game overall. This was known despite Minnesota looking like they were pushed to the ropes with Union’s offensive attack.

Minnesota took a penalty (its fifth of the game) when Jake Parenteau was called for slashing at 15:28. This was critical in that Union could seemingly have killed Minnesota’s momentum with a power play tally. Union, however, was denied the power play goal and that was due to Adam Wilcox and the penalty kill looking supreme.

Minnesota’s third power play of the night came when Union’s Sam Coatta (Minnetonka, Minnesota’s own Coatta) took a penalty for holding the stick at 18:06. The Gopher power play would extend into the third period, as shots on goal through forty minutes favored Union 34-33.

The remainder of Minnesota’s third power play of the night came to an end six seconds into the third period. However, Minnesota continued with its lack of discipline when Nate Condon was called for tripping at 1:36. The Gophers were able to kill off the penalty without much in the way of trouble. At 5:31, Union’s Max Novak scored on even strength to make the score 5-3 in favor of the Dutchmen. His fifteenth goal of the season came with assists from Kevin Sullivan and Sebatien Gingras.

At 9:00, Minnesota’s Tom Serratore would draw a holding penalty and give Union their sixth power play of the night. It was abundantly clear that the nerves were getting to the Minnesota penalty kill, though Wilcox was making saves he shouldn’t have needed to make. The penalty ended with a kill for Minnesota, but the Gophers also had a lengthy mountain to climb, being down two with less than nine minutes left.

At 11:57, Minnesota took a penalty for too many men, and at the clip Minnesota was taking penalties, Union was going to cash in sooner rather than later. The Dutchmen would go on their seventh power play of the night. Union, however, wouldn’t cash in. Union’s Charlie Vasaturo would draw a roughing minor at 15:25, but the result was far from decided.

At 17:20, Minnesota’s Hudson Fasching would bring the Gophers to within one with his power play goal. Travis Boyd and Mike Reilly would assist on the goal that cut the Union lead to 5-4. Towards the end of the game, Union’s Kevin Sullivan sealed the deal (at 18:38) on even strength to make it 6-4, and Sullivan’s goal had an assist from Mat Bodie and Shayne Gostisbehere. Mat Bodie made it 7-4 at 19:15 on the empty net, but it was at that point that the game finally had its crescendo.

Shots at the end of the game had Union outshooting Minnesota 49-40. Power plays for Minnesota finished 1-4 and Union was 0-7. You can find a statistical recap of the game by clicking here.

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