Colgate and Union colleges advance in ECACs

LAKE PLACID – Union College and Colgate will be battling tonight for the Eastern College Athletic Conference men’s ice hockey title after both teams won semifinal matchups Friday at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid.

Colgate’s win over Quinnipiac was nothing short of amazing. Trailing 2-1, the Raiders pulled goaltender Charlie Finn with 1:27 remaining in regulation. They got the tying goal by Kyle Baun with 56 remaining to force overtime. After the teams went scoreless during the first 20-minute sudden-death overtime, Tyson Spink netted the game-winner 58 seconds into the next overtime to give Colgate a 3-2 victory.

With the win, Colgate advances to the ECAC final for the first time since 1990.

Quinnipiac, which entered the championships as the second seed, took a 2-0 lead with two goals in the second period. Connor Jones lifted the Bobcats to a 1-0 edge with a goal at the 2:54 mark, and freshman Sam Anas, the team’s leading scorer, found the back of the net at the 15:37 mark. Andrew Black answered for Colgate with 2:41 remaining in the second to cut Colgate’s deficit to 2-1 at the second intermission.

Finn made 30 saves, including 10 in the first overtime, to earn the win in goal for Colgate. Michael Garteig recorded 33 saves in nets for Quinnipiac, which now has a 24-9-6 record heading into the NCAA Division I tournament. Colgate improved to 20-12-5 with the victory.

In Friday’s opening game, Union College scored the first goal midway through the opening period and never looked back while claiming a 5-2 victory over Cornell in semifinal action Friday in the ECAC men’s ice hockey championships at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid.

Union downs Cornell

The Flying Dutchmen took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission and the teams then traded goals twice before Daniel Carr slid a puck into an empty net with 1:23 remaining in the game to clinch the win for Union, which headed into the championships as the top seed.

Cole Ikkala put Union on the board at the 9:24 mark of the first period when he drove toward the right side of the net and slipped a weak shot past Cornell goalie Andy Iles from in close. Micha Pontarelli and Sam Coatta assisted on the play.

Kevin Sullivan then gave the Dutchmen a two-goal edge at the 17:47 mark of the period with assists going to Matt Wilkins and Mat Bodie.

Down 2-0, Cornell stormed back and cut its deficit to 2-1 when Christian Hilbrich beat Union goalie Colin Stevens on a shot 5:56 into the second stanza. The teams then played scoreless hockey for most of the period until late, when they combined to net three goals in a span of 72 seconds. Union regained its two-goal lead when Max Novak scored at the 17:20 mark to put his team up 3-1. The Big Red responded at the 18:18 mark on a goal by Joakim Ryan, but the Dutchmen came through again when Mike Vecchione buried a shot 14 seconds later to make it a 4-2 score.

Union slammed the door defensively in the final period. The Dutchmen held the Big Red off the scoreboard in the stanza and then sealed the victory on Carr’s empty netter.

Union held a 31-26 edge in shots on goal. Stevens made 24 saves to earn the win in nets for Union, while Iles, a senior, recorded 26 stops between the pipes in his final game in a Big Red Uniform.

Cornell fell to 17-10-5 with the setback. Union improved to 27-6-4.

Tonight’s championship final at the Olympic Center’s 1980 Herb Brooks Arena is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.