BRIDGEPORT, Conn. - Matt Hatch and Max Novak each scored a pair of goals to lead top-ranked Union past 14th-ranked Vermont 5-2 on Friday afternoon in the NCAA East Regional Semifinal at Webster Bank Arena. The Catamounts close the season at 20-15-3 (10-10-0 HEA), while Union improves to 29-6-4 (18-3-1 ECAC) and advances to the Regional Final on Saturday.
Chris McCarthy scored two goals in his final collegiate game for his 12th multi-point game of the year. Brody Hoffman made 34 saves between the pipes to close his sophomore season.
During the 50th anniversary season, the Catamounts posted their first 20-win campaign since 2009. Friday marked the final NCAA game for the seven members of UVM's senior class: McCarthy, Connor Brickley, Nick Bruneteau, Anthony DeCenzo, H.T. Lenz, Pete Massar, and Matt White.
"It's certainly disappointing to see our guys' careers come to an end," said head coach Kevin Sneddon. "It's always hard to watch your seniors in the locker room after a tough loss, but despite the outcome tonight, I'm certainly very proud of them for putting Vermont hockey back on the map. I'm very proud of the accomplishments our team had this year."
Union opened the scoring on a UVM power play at 4:15 of the first period. Hatch gained control of the puck in his defensive zone and skated down the right wing boards. Hatch curled around the Vermont defense and flicked a wrist shot over Hoffman's right pad for an unassisted shorthanded goal.
Nine minutes later, UVM's top line knotted the score as McCarthy tried to feed Mario Puskarich from below the goal line to the right doorstep. The puck deflected off Puskarich to the opposite side of the crease, and the senior fired a low shot short side under Colin Stevens' blocker.
Union answered just over a minute later on a power play as Kevin Sullivan spun a feed to Novak on the left doorstep. Novak delayed before lofting a backhander over the sprawling stick of Hoffman to restore the lead, and the Dutchmen took a 2-1 advantage into the first intermission.
Novak added his second power play tally of the game in the latter stages of the second period. The forward took a pass from Daniel Carr and skated down the right side of the Vermont zone. Novak's centering pass deflected off the stick of a UVM defenseman and tipped past Hoffman under his left arm.
Mat Bodie added to Union's lead at 11:25 of the third period as he pinched up in the rush for a 4-on-1. Bodie skated onto Sullivan's drop pass and delayed before firing a wrist shot off the right post and into the net.
McCarthy added his second of the afternoon within two minutes to bring the Catamounts back to 4-2. Brendan Bradley deked to his backhand in the slot and played the puck toward the target. McCarthy located the loose puck at the left doorstep and found the net off the right pipe past a diving Stevens.
Vermont pulled Hoffman with three minutes remaining in regulation, but Sullivan tipped the puck outside the defensive zone and Hatch skated in alone for an empty-netter with 2:43 left to seal the win.