PHILADELPHIA — Union College won its first NCAA hockey title Saturday night, scoring three times in a 1:54 span in the first period in a 7-4 victory over Minnesota on Saturday night.
Mike Vecchione tied it at 2 with 4:01 left in the first, Eli Lichtenwald gave the Dutchman the lead 57 seconds later, and Daniel Ciampini capped the spree with 2:57 to go.
“I don’t think anyone will call us Cinderella anymore,” said Shayne Gostisbehere, who had a goal and two assists. “These guys, my brothers, they do everything. I don’t care about anything else, were national champions.”
Max Novak, Kevin Sullivan and Mat Bodie also scored and Colin Stevens made 36 saves for Union (32-6-4), the 2,200-student liberal arts college in Schenectady, N.Y., that competes in Division III in all other sports.
Justin Kloos, Sam Warning, Taylor Cammarata and Hudson Fasching scored for Minnesota (28-7-6). Adam Wilcox stopped 41 shots for the five-time champion Gophers.
Cammarata pulled Minnesota within one with the lone goal in the second period, but Novak restored the two-goal cushion on a deflection at 5:31 of the third.
Fasching cut it to 5-4 with a power-play goal with 3:40 left. Sullivan put it away with 1:22 to go, and Bodie scored into an empty net with 44.2 seconds remaining.
“This was the biggest game of our lives,” said Bodie, the team captain.
Kloos opened the scoring on a rebound 2:37 into the first period. Gostisbehere responded for Union by weaving through three opponents and beating Wilcox with a wrist shot to glove side at 9:26. Less than a minute later, Warning squeaked a bad-angle shot between Stevens and the pipe to put Minnesota up 2-1.
Under third-year coach Rick Bennett, Union won its final 12 games and went 16-0-1 in its last 17. Ciampini scored three goals in the Dutchmen’s 5-4 victory over Boston College in the semifinals Thursday night.
The Dutchmen have competed in Division I since 1991-92.
Minnesota lost for the seventh time in the title game. The Gophers were making their first appearance in the championship game since winning its second straight title in 2003.
NOTES: Union last met Minnesota in 2010-11, when it won 3-2 in Minneapolis. The overall series is tied 2-2 . … Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren dropped the ceremonial first puck. Holmgren played for the 1974-75 Minnesota team that lost to Michigan Tech in the national title game. … The 2015 Frozen Four will be played at TD Garden in Boston.