Union v. Minnesota in championship

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Updated: 4/11 11:14 pm

PHILADELPHIA – Union College has more hockey to play despite making history by making it to the Frozen Four championship game.

The Dutchmen will have to take on big-time program Minnesota to win the national championship. But even though the Golden Gophers are far more established than Union, the two teams are not that different.

It’s not a mirror image, but Union and Minnesota do look a lot alike.

“They got four lines that can play like us,” Union senior forward Cole Ikkala said. “They’ve got a good goaltender like us, good defensemen.”

Minnesota junior forward Kyle Rau also compared both teams.

“A lot of depth,” he said of Union. “That’s a good match up for us. We’ve got a lot of depth, too, so it should be a fun game.”

It will be tough to top Thursday’s games. Union held off Boston College in a nine-goal thriller, and Minnesota scored in the final second to advance to the national championship game. Both teams are riding emotional highs, but even the locker room messages mimic each other.

“These guys are probably getting sick of my too high, too low speech,” Union head coach Rick Bennett said.

“Can’t get too high or too low ourselves and right now it’s obviously a high point, so we have to keep ourselves in check and get ready to play on Saturday,” Minnesota senior defenseman Justin Holl said.

And as Union learned during the opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament, there are some benefits to playing a similar team.

“Providence was almost a mirror image of the systems we play and the way we play, and we were able to find success against them, so hopefully that might translate here,” Union senior defenseman Mat Bodie said.

Ikkala agreed.

“Just like Providence played arguably just like us, so hopefully, it will be able to help us a little bit knowing what we’re going to face, and it’ll be a good game,” he said.

Both teams will roll our four solid lines, and it’ll be about whichever team has better execution Saturday night. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. 

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