PHILADELPHIA -- Shayne Gostisbehere hopes to eventually play his games here at Wells Fargo Center. He did a nice job impressing his future home fans Thursday at the Frozen Four opener.
Gostisbehere, a 2012 third-round pick (No. 78) of the Philadelphia Flyers, had two assists to help Union College advance to the NCAA championship game with a 5-4 victory against Boston College.
Daniel Ciampini had a hat trick for Union, which will play for its first NCAA title Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET) against Minnesota, a 2-1 winner against North Dakota in the second semifinal. It was the first hat trick in a Frozen Four since Boston College's Nathan Gerbe did it in the 2008 national semifinals against Notre Dame.
Mat Bodie had a goal and an assist and Mike Vecchione also had a goal. Goalie Colin Stevens made 34 saves.
Gostisbehere knows he's got a chance to play for a title in two days. While that's his main focus, he did admit to trying to take in the surroundings, knowing this could be a place he returns to often.
"It's a great building," he said. "I'm sure it'll all sink in after this. For now it's about playing the game."
The turning point of the game came with when Union killed a five-minute major against forward Matt Hatch for a check from behind. Hatch also was given a game misconduct.
"When that happened the team talked on the bench and said it's time to bear down," Bodie said. "... Everyone stepped up. We didn't give them much and you're rewarded with hard work and we score that goal. That was a huge goal for us."
Union limited Boston College to two shots during the five-minute power play, and Vecchione scored four seconds after the penalty ended to give Union a 4-2 lead.
Santini, a New Jersey Devils draft pick, turned the puck over at the BC blue line and Kevin Sullivan skated in alone on Demko, NHL Central Scouting's top-rated North American goaltender for the 2014 NHL Draft. Demko made a nice stop with his left pad, but Sullivan followed the puck behind the net and flicked it back in front to Vecchione, who scored his 13th goal.
"They have a good penalty kill," Gaudreau said. "They're a good defensive team. We didn't get enough shots through to the net. We didn't do what we were told to do on the power play. Needed to get more shots through."
It was emotional game for Gaudreau and his brother, Matthew, a freshman forward for the Eagles. They grew up in Carneys Point, N.J., about 40 minutes south of Philadelphia.
"I had a ton of family and friends here," he said. "Got to play with my bother too. It's going to be a pretty good memory I'm going to have."
Gostisbehere, the only NHL-affiliated player on Union's roster, set up the go-ahead goal at 6:31 of the third period. With Fitzgerald in the penalty box, Union went to work in the BC zone. Gostisbehere called for the puck at the center of the zone, just inside the blue line, and fired a shot that Ciampini, camped in front of Demko, tipped behind the freshman goalie to give the Dutchmen a 3-2 lead.
After Vecchione's goal made it 4-2, Fitzgerald got BC back 4-3 when he poked the rebound of Michael Matheson's shot under Smith with 1:45 left. Ciampini completed his hat trick with an empty-net goal with 1:09 left, and that goal proved to be the winner when Brown scored with 3.9 seconds remaining.
Boston College scored the lone goal of the first period when Gaudreau, a Calgary Flames prospect, scored at 2:08. The goal was his 36th of the season; he leads all NCAA players in goals, assists and points, and is a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, which will be handed out Friday.
Bodie tied the game when he scored off a slap shot from the left side 2:39 into the second. Then Ciampini was in the right spot when Gostisbehere's high shot bounced off the top of Demko's glove and landed next to the post for an easy tap-in at 10:45.
Santini's goal with 4:07 left in the second tied the 2-2. He blasted a shot from the right side off a nice cross-zone pass from Chris Calnan. It was Santini's first goal since Dec. 6.
Follow Adam Kimelman on Twitter: @NHLAdamK