PHILADELPHIA — Union (N.Y.) College, with an enrollment of just 2,200, captured its first NCAA men’s ice hockey championship, defeating perennial powerhouse Minnesota 7-4 before 18,742 at Wells Fargo Center on Saturday night.
It was the first time any Union team had played for an NCAA title since the 1929 men’s lacrosse championship.
It was the highest-scoring hockey final since 1997.
The Dutchmen (32-6-4) entered the Frozen Four as the second-highest-scoring team in the nation, averaging 3.70 goals a game. It was the 23rd time this season Union scored at least four goals.
The Golden Gophers (28-7-7) were searching for their sixth national championship.
Union defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, a third-round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2012 draft, registered one goal and two assists. He was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
Union goalie Colin Stevens stopped 36 shots. Adam Wilcox recorded 42 saves for Minnesota.
After killing off a penalty in the first minute of the game, the Golden Gophers grabbed a 1-0 lead on center Justin Kloos’ 16th goal of the season, at 2:37. The teams combined for 35 shots on goal in the first period, five shots shy of a Frozen Four record.
Gostisbehere tied the game at 1-1 for Union at 9:26 of the first period. He weaved through the Minnesota defense, starting from his own blue line, before sending a wrist shot for his ninth goal of the campaign.
Minnesota left wing Sam Warning’s goal at 10:03 gave the Golden Gophers a brief a 2-1 edge.
The Dutchmen scored three goals within 1:54 in the first period to take a 4-2 advantage. Right wing Daniel Ciampini struck at 17:03 on a rebound, second-line center Eli Lichtenwald slipped in a rebound at 16:06 and center Mike Vecchione scored at 15:09.
The Golden Gophers cut the deficit to 4-3 on right wing Taylor Cammarata’s goal at 1:13 of the second period.
Center Max Novak extended the Union lead to 5-3 at 5:31 of the third period on a give-and-go with Sullivan.
Minnesota right wing Hudson Fasching scored on the power play at 16:20 of the third period to pull within 5-4, but Union right wing Kevin Sullivan iced the game at 18:38 with a wrist shot and defenseman Mat Bodie added an empty-net goal with 44 seconds left.
NOTES: The teams last played Dec. 31, 2010, when Union beat Minnesota 3-2 in overtime in the first game of the Dodge Holiday Classic at Minnesota’s Mariucci Arena. … Union is the only team in the tournament to win its conference’s regular-season and tournament titles (ECAC).