Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Union College entered the NCAA tournament as the No. 1 team in the country, and defended that lofty perch with a 7-4 victory over second-ranked Minnesota on Saturday night, for the program's first Division I national championship.
Shayne Gostisbehere totaled one goal and two assists with a plus-7 rating, while Max Novak, Kevin Sullivan and Mat Bodie tallied in the third period, as the Dutchmen (32-6-4), extended their school-record win streak to 12 and improved to 16-0-1 in their final 17 contests of the season.
Mike Vecchione, Eli Lichtenwald and Daniel Ciampini tallied in a span of less than two minutes late in the first period, and Colin Stevens made 36 saves.
Minnesota (28-7-6), the No. 2 team in the country and top-overall seed, which knocked off rival North Dakota with six-tenths of a second left in regulation in Thursday's semifinal, couldn't control the nation's second-best offense.
Justin Kloos, Sam Warning, Hudson Fasching and Taylor Cammarrata provided markers for the Gophers, but Adam Wilcox was on the hook for six goals on 47 shots in the setback.
Novak's tip of a Sullivan offering staked Union to a 5-3 advantage with 5 1/2 minutes elapsed in the third period, and both sides continued to fly at each other with a fury.
On a late-game Minnesota power play, Fasching kept digging away in the crease and made it a one-goal margin with 3:40 left in regulation, but the Gophers defense was caught napping when Bodie flipped a lead pass to Sullivan, who moved around a Gophers defenseman and beat Wilcox through the pads with 1:22 on the clock to provide Union with a 6-4 cushion.
Bodie then bounced the clincher into an empty net for the final margin.
After killing off an early penalty to Brady Skjei, the Gophers opened the scoring at 2:37 of the first period as Kloos worked a puck loose from Stevens and swept it into the open side of the net.
Seconds after exiting the box on a holding call, Gostisbehere unleashed a high, hard shot from the left wing to tie the game at 9:26.
Warning countered for Minnesota only 37 seconds later, slipping a shot from a sharp angle through traffic and past Stevens, but Union struck back with three goals in a span of 1:54.
Vecchione drew the Dutchmen even on a third-chance rebound from the left side at 15:09. Wilcox made two spectacular saves while prone in the crease, but eventually let the puck slip from his grasp.
It was 3-2 for Union less than a minute later as Wilcox let another rebound go and Lichtenwald converted at the right post, then Ciampini converted a Novak rebound in front at 17:03 for a two-goal edge.
Cammaratta popped home a shot from the right post to pull the Gophers within 4-3 at 1:13 of the second.