PHILADELPHIA — Behind a hat trick from forward Daniel Ciampini, Union College knocked off Boston College 5-4 in the semifinals of the NCAA men’s ice hockey tournament Thursday at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
The Dutchmen (31-6-4) will appear in the finals for the first time, facing either Minnesota or North Dakota on Saturday.
The Eagles (28-8-4) came up short in their bid to win a fourth national championship in seven years. For the second consecutive year, the Eagles’ season ended at the hands of Union, as the Dutchmen beat them 5-1 in the first round of the 2013 NCAA tournament.
The last 1:15 of the game featured three goals. The Eagles cut their deficit to 4-3 with 1:45 left when Ryan Fitzgerald scored, but Union moved ahead 5-3 on an empty-netter from Ciampini with 1:09 to go.
Boston College’s Patrick Brown scored with five seconds to play.
Union, fresh off killing off a five-minute major penalty by forward Matt Hatch, took a 4-2 lead at 11:53 of the third period. A careless clearance by Boston College in its own end resulted in Union forward Kevin Sullivan intercepting the puck. His point-blank shot was stopped, but Mike Vecchione pounced on the rebound and scored.
The Dutchmen went ahead for good, 3-2, on Ciampini’s second goal of the game, a deflection on Shayne Gostisbehere’s shot at 6:31 of the third period.
Steven Santini wrist shot from just inside the Union blue line tied the score at 2-2 for Boston College at 15:53 of the second period.
Ciampini gave Union a 2-1 edge at 10:45 of the second period. Boston College goalie Thatcher Demko couldn’t hold onto a wrist shot by Gostisbehere, which seemed to be heading over the net. Ciampini pounced on the loose puck for his 20th goal of the season.
Johnny Gaudreau backhanded a goal from the crease to give Boston College a 1-0 lead 2:08 into the game. It was his 35th goal of the season. The Eagles defense corps blocked 12 shots and killed off two Union power plays in the first period.
Union knotted the score at 1-1 on a blast from defenseman Matt Bodie, who fired in a shot from just outside the right faceoff circle at 2:39 of the second period.
NOTES: The last time Boston College had a 70-point scorer (Johnny Gaudreau, 77) and a 60-point scorer (Kevin Hayes, 63) on the same team was the 1997-98 campaign, when Marty Reasons (73) and Brian Gionta (62) turned the trick. … Thursday’s national semifinal marks only the second meeting between Union and Boston College.