No. 6 Union Edges No. 19 Harvard for ECAC Hockey Title, 3-1

Girard led ECAC goalies with a .947 save percentage in the playoffs (photo courtesy David Silverman).
Girard led ECAC goalies with a .947 save percentage in the playoffs (photo courtesy David Silverman).

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.—No. 6 Union scored three times in the third period to rally past the Harvard men's hockey team, 3-1, in the ECAC Hockey Championship final, ending the Crimson's season one win short of a league title and NCAA tournament berth.

Raphael Girard made 31 saves to keep the top-seeded Dutchmen (24-7-7) off the board for two periods before all-tournament selection Alex Killorn gave the Crimson (13-10-11) a third-period lead with his 53rd career goal in the 130th and final game of a standout career. The senior led the league with 10 points on five goals and five assists in Harvard's five playoff games. Defenseman Danny Biega was also named to the all-tournament team.

After playing nearly 45 minutes of scoreless hockey, the teams traded goals 37 seconds apart in the third period. Killorn struck first, banging in a pass from Fallstrom on the rush after Marshall Everson won the puck on the wall at his own blue line. Jeremy Welsh answered with a wrist shot on the other end, tying the game at the 5:29 mark.

Killorn made a great move midway through the period, cutting in on Union goaltender Troy Grosenick from the left side, but his backhand slid just wide of the right post. Union took the lead on its next trip down, when Girard stopped a shot from Shane Gostisbehere but Daniel Carr pounced on the ensuing loose puck in the crease.

Harvard's best hockey came in the final three minutes. The Crimson pinned Union in its own end and created several chances to tie. David Valek rang a shot off the post after a pass from Eric Kroshus out of the corner, and Grosenick made four of his 16 saves in the final two minutes. Josh Jooris sealed Union's first ECAC tournament title with an empty-net goal with 21.3 seconds left on the game clock.

Union held a 34-17 shots edge, thanks in large part to the 16 Harvard shots that the Dutchmen blocked. Neither team scored on three power plays each.

The Dutchmen came out strong, recording the game's first five shots, but Killorn got Harvard going with a nice individual effort for a shot on net. He then batted in the rebound but was whistled for playing the puck with a high stick.

Harvard could not convert on consecutive early power plays, and then Girard shined on Union's first man advantage. He robbed Jooris on a backdoor attempt and then stopped Kevin Sullivan's close-range rebound shot. The Crimson threatened on another power play. Grosenick and Union survived, however, and the period ended scoreless, but not before Ryan Grimshaw laid a crushing body check on Sam Coatta.

Girard made 15 first-period saves and added 12 in the middle frame. He started the period by denying Daniel Ciampini's bid on a three-on-two break and later made an outstanding, sprawling stop when the Dutchmen found Carr alone in front. Conor Morrison got the Crimson's best chance late in the period but was turned away by Grosenick.

The Crimson's final game was just its fourth loss in its last 18 games of the season.