Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Union men's hockey parade set

by Ryan Fay

The parade honoring the Union men's hockey team is set for Thursday from 4-6 p.m.

The parade is celebrating Union's 7-4 win over Minnesota in the national championship game last Saturday in Philadelphia. The victory gave the Dutchmen their first national title.

The parade will get underway in front of Alumni Gym on Alexander Lane and end at Schenectady City Hall, where Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy, Union College President Stephen C. Ainlay and other dignitaries will make brief remarks.

To see the exact parade route, click here.

The forecast is calling for a sunny day with temperatures in the mid 50's.

If you can't attend the parade, you can listen at Matt DuBrey and Brian Unger will have interviews with players, coaches and dignitaries.

Union duo sign pro contracts (with 3 videos)

by Ryan Fay

Shayne Gostisbehere and Mat Bodie have been teammates for the past three seasons.

But the two defensemen could soon become rivals after signing professional contracts Tuesday.

Gostisbehere surrendered his senior season to sign an entry-level deal with Philadelphia Flyers, the team that drafted him in the third round of the 2012 draft. Bodie, a senior, agreed to a entry-level contract with the New York Rangers, one of Philadelphia's biggest rivals.

Gostisbehere will finish the season with Philadelphia's AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms. The Phantoms play at home Friday against Bridgeport before concluding the season Saturday in Hershey. After that, Gostisbehere is expected to travel and practice with Philadelphia during its postseason run, but he won't be eligible to play.

“It definitely will be pretty weird [facing Bodie],” Gostisbehere said.“Normally, I just look over to my right and he’s there on the bench with me. It’s definitely awesome if we both get that opportunity to do that. It will be a moment I won’t forget.”

Bodie will remain at Union to finish his economics degree before joining the Rangers for development camp this summer. He could crack the Rangers opening night roster next season, or end up with their AHL affiliate in Hartford.

“Anytime you play a former teammate, there’s always a little something extra there,” Bodie said. “If we do ever get to play against each other, I’m sure we will have a lot of fun with it. Both clubs have great fans.”

Bodie's signing became official Tuesday morning, while Gostisbehere's went down early Tuesday afternoon.

“We’re extremely happy as a coaching staff to see players move on. I won’t sugarcoat it," said Union head coach Rick Bennett. "It’s really nice that Mat Bodie is going to stay the whole four years. And Shayne, on his side, it’s tough to see a guy leave early, but at the same token, he’s going to come back and get his degree.”

Gostisbehere's departure was a foregone conclusion. In 42 games this season, he had nine goals and 25 assists with a plus-33, best among defensemen in the country. He was was named co-winner of the ECAC Hockey Player of the Year and Best Defensive Defenseman awards.

He ended his Union career by scoring a goal and two assists to go with a plus-7 in Union's 7-4 win over Minnesota in Saturday's national championship game at the Wells Fargo Center, home of the Flyers. The performance helped him pick up Frozen Four Most Outstanding Player honors.

Bennett called Gostisbehere's national championship showing "one of the finest performances I've seen someone in a jersey play."

Gostisbehere, who turns 21 on Sunday, had 22 goals and 60 assists in 119 career games with Union. He thought it was time to move on.

"I sat down with my family after and it came down to where my development would be and what I had to do to get better and go to the next level," Gostisbehere said. "Right now is just the right time. Of course, I want to make everyone happy and I wish I could, but for my sake, it was time. Again, I can't thank Union College enough for what they've done."

Bodie, 24, was a four-year force for Union. He owns program records in career assists (96) and points by a defenseman (124). He was the top scoring blueliner in the nation this season with eight goals and 31 assists in 40 games, including a goal in each of Union's four NCAA Tournament games. He served as team captain the past two seasons.

He chose the Rangers over a half dozen other teams.

“The Rangers really showed a lot of interest,” Bodie said. “Just talking with my agent and Jeff Gorton, the assistant GM, they said they don’t have a lot of guys that play like me. They don’t have too many offensive defensemen. I figured that’s an area that I can come in and maybe contribute. Hopefully, I get that chance and make the most of it when it comes.”

Bennett, who played 15 games with the Rangers in the early 90's, likes the odds of Bodie and Gostisbehere succeeding at the professional level even though neither is especially big. Gostisbehere checks in at 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds, while Bodie is 6-foot, 165 pounds.

"They definitely have the skills. They definitely have the hockey sense. They are two of the smartest guys that have come through this program," Bennett said. "They're going to have their deficiencies with size. Shayne's younger and getting bigger. Bodie has always done it at that size, so I don't see anything different.

"I don't see them not making it. They both have an inner drive and an inner pride. I think we're going to be watching them on TV soon."

Shayne Gostisbehere press conference

Mat Bodie press conference

Rick Bennett press conference

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Gostisbehere signs with Flyers

by Ryan Fay

Shayne Gostisbehere has played his last game for Union.

The junior defenseman gave up his senior season when he signed a contract with the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday.

He was signed to a three-year, entry-level deal that begins next season. He'll finish out this season on an amateur tryout with the club's AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms. The Phantoms play at home Friday against Bridgeport before concluding the season Saturday in Hershey.

Gostisbehere isn't eligible to play with the Flyers during the postseason, which starts later this week, but he will practice and travel with them after Adirondack's season ends.

Gostisbehere had nine goals, 25 assists and a plus-33 rating in 42 games this season. He had a goal, two assists and a plus-7 rating in Union's 7-4 win over Minnesota in the national championship game on Saturday.

He was the Most Outstanding Player of the Frozen four and the co-winner of the ECAC Hockey Player of the Year Award and Best Defensive Defenseman awards.

The 20-year-old was the only defenseman among the top 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the top player in college hockey.

Gostisbehere ends his Union career with 22 goals and 60 assists in 119 games.

His departure leaves a major void on the blueline for Union, which is also graduating senior captain Mat Bodie, who had eight goals, 31 assists and a plus-28 rating in 40 games. Bodie signed with the New York Rangers on Tuesday.

Union is expected to bring in two promising defensemen next season, Connor Light of the U.S Hockey League's Omaha Lancers and Nick DeSimone of the Ontario Junior Hockey League's Buffalo Jr. Sabres.

Gostisbehere is the fifth player to leave Union early in the last four years. Sophomore goalie Keith Kinkaid signed with the New Jersey Devils after the 2010-2011 season. Junior forward Jeremy Welsh bolted for the Carolina Hurricanes following the 2011-2012 campaign. After last season, junior goalie Troy Grosenick inked a deal with the San Jose Sharks and junior foward Josh Jooris came to terms with the Calgary Flames.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Bodie signs with Rangers

by Ryan Fay

Union senior defenseman Mat Bodie is headed to the Big Apple.

Bodie came to terms with the New York Rangers on Tuesday, according to ESPN New York's Katie Strang. A team official confirmed the signing.

Bodie, who served as Union's captain the past two seasons, had eight goals, 31 assists and a plus-28 rating in 40 games this season.

He is the Dutchmen's all-time leader in assists (96) and points by a defenseman (124).

The 24-year-old will not join the Rangers this season. He'll remain at Union to finish his economics degree before joining the Rangers for development camp this summer.

He is the second local player signed by the Rangers in the last month. RPI junior forward Ryan Haggerty came to terms with the Rangers on March 12.

Dutchmen first in final polls

by Ryan Fay

The final polls of the season were released Monday and Union was the undisputed top-ranked team.

The Dutchmen, who won their first national title with a 7-4 win over Minnesota on Saturday, picked up all 50 first-place votes in the top-20 poll. They scooped up all 34 first-place votes in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine top-15 poll. poll
Team (First Place Votes) Record Points Last Poll
1 Union (50) 32- 6-4 1000 1

2 Minnesota 28- 7-6 948 2
3 Boston College 28- 8-4 891 3
4 North Dakota 25-14-3 796 13
5 Massachusetts-Lowell 26-11-4 785 5
6 Ferris State 29-11-3 726 6
7 Wisconsin 24-11-2 703 4
8 St. Cloud State 22-11-5 647 8
9 Quinnipiac 24-10-6 579 7
10 Providence 22-11-6 573 10
11 Notre Dame 23-15-2 508 9
12 Minnesota State 26-14-1 466 11
13 Colgate 20-14-5 422 12
14 Vermont 20-15-3 316 14
15 Cornell 17-10-5 248 16
16 Michigan 18-13-4 241 15
17 Denver 20-16-6 221 17
18 New Hampshire 22-18-1 148 18
19 Northeastern 19-14-4 127 19
20 Ohio State 18-14-5 60 20
Others receiving votes: Robert Morris 55, Yale 23, Canisius 5, Miami 5, Western Michigan 5, Minnesota-Duluth 2.

USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll
(First-place votes in parentheses)
Rank School Last Week’s Ranking
1. Union, 510 (34) 2

2. Minnesota, 476 1
3. Boston College, 442 3
4. UMass Lowell, 380 4
5. North Dakota, 363 5
6. Ferris State, 334 6
7. Wisconsin, 318 8
8. St. Cloud State, 251 7
9. Providence, 235 9
10. Quinnipiac, 195 10
11. Notre Dame, 185 11
12. Minnesota State, 151 12
13. Colgate, 126 13
14. Vermont, 50 14
15. Denver, 21 15
Others receiving votes: Cornell, 20; Michigan, 20; Northeastern, 3.

Frozen Holiday Classic announced

by Ryan Fay

The Union men's hockey team will play in the inaugural Frozen Holiday Classic, Harbor Yard Sports and Entertainment announced Monday.

The four team tournament will take place at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn on Dec. 27-28. The other three teams scheduled to compete are Quinnipiac, Connecticut and Sacred Heart.

Union's involvement appears to be a one-year deal. Yale will replace Union in 2015, making the tournament an all-Connecticut affair.

The Most Valuable Player of the Frozen Holiday Classic will be awarded the Tim Taylor Trophy. Taylor coached at Yale for 28 seasons before retiring in 2006 with a school record 337 wins. He passed away in 2013 at the age of 71.

Ticket prices and availability will be announced at a later date.

Union played NCAA Tournament games at the Webster Bank Arena in 2011, 2012 and 2014.

Video: Union hockey edition of Sports Night

by Ryan Fay

Time Warner Cable News' Sports Night was devoted entirely to Union hockey on Sunday.

The Dutchmen won their first national championship with a 7-4 win over Minnesota in the national final on Saturday.

Watch the show here:

Sports Night Sunday 4/13 from Seth Leavitt on Vimeo.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Dutchmen return home as national champions

by Ryan Fay

The Union men's hockey team returned home on Sunday following the team's 7-4 national championship game win over Minnesota on Saturday in Philadelphia.

A few hundred fans attended a welcome home celebration behind Messa Rink. Several luminaries were also on hand, including Union College President Stephen C. Ainlay, Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy, Schenectady Councilwoman Marion Porterfield, and Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, a Union College graduate.

Fans welcome the team home

The Union hockey pep band plays ahead of the team's arrival 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Union wins national championship (with video, audio)

Box Score

by Ryan Fay

There's no time like the first time.

Led by defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, the Union men's hockey team captured the program's first national championship with a 7-4 win over Minnesota in the national championship game Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center.

Union celebrates winning the national championship
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images
Gostisbehere finished the game with a goal, two assists and a plus-7 rating. He was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Frozen Four.

"It was really awesome," he said. "It feels like we're dreaming right now, but sometimes dreams come true."

Union (32-6-4) finished the season on a 17-game unbeaten streak and was the only team in the country to reach the 30-win plateau.

"It's unbelievable the growth this program has taken over the past probably eight years," said Union senior defenseman Mat Bodie. "I've only been here for four of them, but this championships for anyone that's ever had a hand in Union hockey because we wouldn't be here without all those players before us. We learned a lot from them, and they broke us into college hockey, and we're forever grateful for that."

Union head coach Rick Bennett, who has been with the program since being hired as an assistant in 2005, had similar thoughts.

"I'm just extremely excited for our program, our school, for the community," he said. "For every player that has worn that jersey, for every coach that's coached here before us, I think it's a tremendous accomplishment. I want to thank them. Obviously I can't name them all, but it's just a surreal moment right now."

Minnesota (28-7-6) and Union entered the game among the top ten defenses in the country, but that was hardly evident in the first period when the two teams combined for six goals and 35 shots.

The Gophers, who have won five national championships, grabbed a 1-0 lead when Justin Kloos cashed in on a rebound off a shot from Nate Condon at 2:37. 

After Shayne Gostisbehere tied the game at 1-1 with a wrister from the slot at 9:26, Minnesota reclaimed the lead 27 seconds later when Sam Warning beat Stevens from the bottom of the left circle.

Union's offense responded with three goals in 1:54 span to take a 4-2 lead. Mike Vecchione put in a loose puck to even the score at 2-2 at 15:09. Just under a minute later, Eli Lichtenwald capitalized on a rebound after Gostisbehere had a shot blocked. Daniel Ciampini finished the flurry when he knocked in a rebound off a shot from Max Novak at 17:03.

"We talked about pack of wolves goals," said Union forward Daniel Carr. "Just being around the net, and guys buying in and going to those hard areas. That was kind of it. Ciampini did a great job with the puck there, and all three of us went to the net. Vecchione put it right upstairs."

Taylor Camaratta sliced Union's lead to 4-3 at 1:13 of the second, but Novak made it a two goal cushion when he redirected Kevin Sullivan's shot past Gophers goalie Adam Wilcox at 5:31 of the third.

Hudson Fasching's power play tally at 16:20 kept Minnesota in the game, but Union scored two late goals to secure the title. After Gostisbehere blocked a Minnesota shot, Sullivan raced to the other end and beat Wilcox five-hole to put Union ahead 6-4 at 18:38. Bodie tacked on an empty-netter in the final minute.

"We believed we belonged with the big boys, and hopefully some people start to realize that Union hockey is here for good now," said Bodie.

A subject for another day

It's widely expected that Gostisbehere, a junior, will surrender his senior season and sign with the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers, the team that drafted him in the third round of the 2012 NHL draft.

But for the time being, Gostisbehere isn't worried about turning pro.

"I'm not really thinking about that right now," he said. "I'm just thinking about all the hard work we put in this year to get that right there, and just having fun with my teammates right now and how we send off the seniors perfectly as champions. Just thinking about that right now with my team."


Novak's goal proved to be the game-winner. It was eighth such goal of the season, which set a new single-season program record. Wayne Simpson had the old mark of seven, set in 2012-2013.

Carr, a senior, finishes his Union career with 78 goals and 79 assists. With 157 points, he leaves as the highest scorer in the program's 23-year Division I history and ranks third in school history behind Terry Campbell's 170 and Tod Fobare's 167.

With 50 points (22 goals, 28 assists) in 39 games this season, Carr averaged 1.28 points per game. That matches the single-season program record, set by Craig Ferrero in 1991-1992, the program's first Division I season.

Union's senior class -- Bodie, Carr, Cole Ikkala, Matt Hatch and Kevin Sullivan -- led the Dutchmen to a 104-37-20 record over the past four seasons. No other senior class in program history won as many games.

Postgame press conferences




Audio highlights 

Union forward Kevin Sullivan "seals the deal" with a goal scored with 1:22 left in the third period. Union play by play man Matt DuBrey and analyst Brian Unger have the call.

Mat Bodie's last-minute empty-netter. DuBrey and Brian Unger have the call.

DuBrey, Unger and Adam Ullman call the closing seconds of the national championship game

Video highlights

National championship game line charts

by Ryan Fay

Line charts have been released for tonight's national championship game between Union (31-6-4) and Minnesota (28-6-6) at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

Gametime is 7:30 p.m.