ITHACA, N.Y.–The No. 7/8 Union College men’s hockey team earned a share of its fourth regular season title in the last seven seasons, battling to a 3-3 tie at No. 9/9 Cornell in the final game of the regular season, Saturday night at Lynah Rink.
The Dutchmen (23-8-3), who extend their unbeaten streak to five (4-0-1), finish the regular season tied with Harvard atop the ECAC Hockey standings with 34 points (16-4-2). Union will be the No. 2 seed in the ECAC Hockey Tournament due to the Crimson owning a better record against the other top four teams in the conference. The Big Red (18-6-5, 13-4-5), which is unbeaten in its last nine (6-0-3), will be the No. 3 seed.
Union’s Mike Vecchione registered a goal and an assist to become the all-time leading scorer in program history (171 points), passing Terry Campbell ’91. Vecchione’s two-point night also extended his point streak to eight games (7G-7A). Brett Supinski pushed his point streak to six games (3G-6A) with a goal and two assists and Jeff Taylor had a pair of helpers, giving him eight points in the last five games (1G-7A). Spencer Foo rounded out the scoring for Union, extending his point streak to five games (5G-5A). In goal, Alex Sakellaropoulos stopped 29 shots.
Trevor Yates gave Cornell a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal at 11:44 of the first, burying a one-timer from the right circle.
The Dutchmen responded at 11:12 of the second with a power-play goal of its own as Vecchione finished off a pass from Taylor for his 26th of the season. Taylor carried the puck into the Cornell zone and threaded at a cross-ice feed to Vecchione, who guided the puck past a sprawling Mitch Gillam (32 saves).
The Big Red regained the lead just 12 seconds later when Matt Buckles converted on a rebound in tight after Sakellaropoulos kicked away Matt Nuttle’s initial attempt.
Again the Dutchmen answered, netting back-to-back power-play goals in the third period to pull ahead 3-2. Foo tied the game 2:04 into the frame, firing a wrist shot past Gilliam high on the glove side from the left circle for his 22nd of the season. Union took its first lead at 11:33 when Supinski finished off a tic-tac-toe passing play with a one-timer from the slot, making it 3-2, but the advantage was short-lived.
Cornell scored the game’s fifth power-play goal 3:26 later, tying the game at 3-3. Sakellaropoulos denied Alec McCrea’s shot from close-range, but the ensuing rebound trickled towards the goal line and Mitch Vanderlaan pounced on the loose puck, sending the game to overtime.
The Dutchmen outshot the Big Red 6-0 in the extra frame, but Gillam was up to the task, turning away all six shots to preserve the 3-3 tie.
Union now awaits the results of the ECAC Hockey First Round next weekend to see who it will host in the best-of-three conference quarterfinals series March 10-12.