Union closes deal against Spartans
Returning to the scene of a 2-0 loss to eventual champion Minnesota-Duluth in its first NCAA appearance last year, Union recorded a 2-1 triumph over Michigan State Friday in the East Regional semifinals in Bridgeport, Conn.
The top-seeded Dutchmen (25-7-7), who captured their first ECAC title after defeating Harvard in the conference final, are within a victory of their first Frozen Four appearance.
On Saturday at Webster Bank Arena, Union will face UMass-Lowell, which beat Miami, 4-3, in overtime in the nightcap.
“Being here for the second time, and being up, we bent a little bit, but we didn’t break,’’ said Union coach Rick Bennett.
“We kept our poise throughout the game and that was one of the keys. I thought the guys did a very good job with that.’’
Freshman Max Novak put the Dutchmen on the board at 15:09 of the first period when he swept into the attacking zone from the left point and beat Will Yanakeff (29 saves) for his ninth goal of the season.
Michigan State defenseman Brock Shelgren appeared to net the equalizer at 18:42 when he batted in a loose puck past Union goalie Troy Grosenick.
The goal was waved off, and a lengthy video review determined the net had been dislodged.
Grosenick, a Hobey Baker Award finalist, made 20 saves.
“All the kudos go to the defensemen,’’ Grosenick said. “When you see about 20 or so shots, it makes my job easier.’’
Jeremy Welsh gave the Dutchmen a 2-0 lead at 3:20 of the second when he tallied his team-leading 26th goal on a rebound of a Mat Bodie blast from the right circle.
Welsh gathered the loose puck and walked in front before tucking it past Yanakeff.
The Spartans (19-16-4) capitalized on Welsh’s slashing minor when Matt Berry tallied a power-play goal at 19:21 of the second to cut the deficit in half.
Union responded with a power-play goal on Wayne Simpson’s shot from the right point at 18:42 of the third period.
Ferris State 2, Denver 1 - Jordie Johnston gave the Bulldogs a 1-0 lead at 4:30 of the second period and Simon Denis supplied the winner 2:54 into the third period as Ferris State knocked off the Pioneers in Green Bay, Wis.
Cornell 3, Michigan 2 - Sophomore Rodger Craig’s second goal of the season at 3:35 of overtime lifted the No. 14-ranked Big Red past the second-ranked, and No. 1 seed, Wolverines in Green Bay, Wis.
Material from school websites was used in this report. Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.