Friday, December 30, 2016

Quinnipiac tops depleted Boston College 3-1 in Three Rivers Classic opener

The No. 13/14 Quinnipiac University Bobcats started the second half of the season on the right foot defeating No. 6/6 Boston College 3-1 in the opening game of the Three Rivers Classic in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Eagles came into the game severely depleted with five players away from the team to play in the 2017 World Junior Championships. Key players such as Colin White, Casey Fitzgerald and Joe Woll are playing for the United States national team while Jesper and Julius Mattila are playing for team Finland. Boston College was also missing senior forward Ryan Fitzgerald due to injury while Quinnipiac was missing freshman Karlis Cukste who is playing for team Latvia at the championships. After finishing the first half of the season with four losses in the their last five games, the Bobcats caught the Eagles at the right time with the amount of talent they were missing. This will likely end up being a quality win in the pairwise down the road for Quinnipiac if the Eagles can continue to win in Hockey East.

Bo Pieper (photo by Zack Wittman/Tampa Bay Times)
The teams went scoreless in the first period with the Bobcats out shooting Boston College 10-5 in the opening frame. At the 10:43 mark in second period the Bobcats opened the scoring with a goal from Tanner MacMaster who took the puck from the Eagles defenseman after blocking a shot by Kevin McKernan and put it past goaltender Ryan Edquist. MacMaster returned to the lineup after missing the previous three games with a lower body injury. McKernan and Bo Pieper got assists on the MacMaster goal which was his fifth of the season. The Eagles tied the game at the 19:25 mark of third period after the end of a Bobcat power play on a two on none breakaway with a goal from Graham McPhee his first of his college hockey career from Austin Cangelosi. Quinnipiac out shot the Eagles 13-7 in the middle period.
Craig Martin (photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald)

In the third period the Bobcats took the lead for good on the power play when K.J. Tiefenwerth fed a pass to Craig Martin at the high left circle where he he wristed a high shot past Edquist for the goal. It was Martin's sixth of the season on assists from Tiefenwerth and Tim Clifton. The Bobcats got an insurance goal via the power play when Landon Smith fed a wide open Bo Pieper across the ice at the edge of the top left circle where he bombed a shot past Edquist. It was Pieper's seventh goal of the season on assists by Smith and Chase Priskie.

The Bobcats out shot the Eagles 11-10 in the final period and 34-22 for the game. Goaltender Chris Truehl was strong making 21 saves including a penalty shot by Austin Cangelosi back in the first period. You cannot fault Truehl on the lone goal as it was a defensive breakdown by the Bobcats defense that led to it. Quinnipiac now faces Robert Morris in the championship game of the Three Rivers Classic after they defeated Ferris State 1-0.

Jonathan Singer is a 2004 Quinnipiac alum. You can follow him on Twitter @jonathan_singer.

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