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Union book Friendship Four final spot after thrilling shootout with Yale

Union College Dutchmen 2-1 Yale Bulldogs (SO)

By Adam McKendry

Union College became the first side to book their place in the 2018 Friendship Four final after they defeated Yale University in a shootout after the first semi-final finished 1-1 this afternoon.

Forward Jack Adams got the winning goal in the shootout to send the Dutchmen into tomorrow's final, where they will face either Boston University of the University of Connecticut, as well as their goal in regulation.

The two sides split the points in the league as the game finished tied after regulation, with the game itself a great exhibition of hockey in front of a packed-out SSE Arena filled with schoolchildren from across the country.

The game couldn't have started any better for Union as they took the lead at 1:48, Sam Morton intercepting the puck in his own zone and setting away Adams, who fired a wrister past Corbin Kaczperski from the right circle.

While Union were having more of the puck, the biggest chances were falling to Yale and after Joseph Campolieto made a good intervention to deny Tyler Welsh, netminder Darion Hanson made a good low stop from Graham Lillibridge in the right circle.

At the other end, Kaczperski made a great stop from Brett Supinski after the Union center was set up in the slot by linemate Sebastian Vidmar to take the game into the first intermission.

After the break, Yale's Curtis Hall and Union's Ryan Walker both had great chances at the backdoor that neither could convert, and Evan Smith fanned on a shot on a breakaway for Yale that he really should have buried.

Indeed, Yale were being presented with plenty of chances but they weren't forcing Hanson into any saves as Jack St. Ivany again couldn't connect with a cross-ice pass from Robbie DeMontis on a two-on-one breakaway.

The best chance of the period dropped to Kevin O'Neil, the Yale winger changing direction behind the net and attempting the wraparound, only for Hanson to produce the stick check to blank him on the doorstep just before the second period ended.

The pressure from the Bulldogs continued into the third, Joe Snively denied five-hole after attempting a backhand at the doorstep before Hanson deflected Charlie Curti's one-timer from the high slot just wide.

But the dam eventually burst and it came on the powerplay for Yale, the puck fired into the slot where Curti was lurking to redirect it over the glove side of Hanson at 51:32 for the leveller.

Union nearly stole it late in the third period when Kaczperski had to be alert to deny Supinski at the crease, but the two sides couldn't be separated in regulation, meaning the game went to overtime.

The Dutchmen nearly stole it inside the first 15 seconds when Anthony Rinaldi almost diverted in Vidmar's pass to the crease, and Robbie DeMontis nearly had the winner for Yale when he went one-on-one with Hanson, but two great saves saw the sides split the league points and head to penalty shots.

After Brendan Taylor and Evan Smith scored their opening shots, and Brett Supinski and Jack St. Ivany saw theirs saved, it was Adams who was the hero for Union when he potted his shot and Hanson denied Joe Snively.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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