PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Matthew Peca recorded the fastest hat trick in NCAA tournament history, scoring three straight goals in a 3:12 span of the first period, leading top-seeded Quinnipiac to a 5-1 victory over Union in the East Regional final on Sunday night.
The Bobcats, who notched their first-ever tournament win by rallying past Canisius on Saturday, will face Saint Cloud State on April 11 in one of the two national semifinal games in Pittsburgh. Massachusetts Lowell and Yale will meet in the other game.
Quinnipiac (29-7-5), an upstart that rose to the No. 1 ranking this season for the first time, trailed Canisius, the No. 16 seed, 3-1, on Saturday before turning on the jets en route to a historic weekend in Rhode Island. Peca ignited a three-goal rally in the 4-3 win over the Golden Griffins, then had three more by the 12:58 mark Sunday. The Bobcats scored six goals in a span of 24:56 across two games.
Quinnipiac goalie Eric Hartzell lost a shutout bid when Daniel Ciampini scored 3:15 into the third for Union (22-13-5).
In the day’s other game in Toledo, Ohio, Joey Benik and Cory Thorson each scored twice and Saint Cloud State earned its first-ever Frozen Four berth with a 4-1 win over Miami (Ohio) in the Midwest Regional title game.
The Huskies, the No. 4 seed in the region, improved to 25-15-1.