Sunday, March 12, 2017

Quinnipiac knocks out St. Lawrence, books trip to Lake Placid

Facing a winner take all decisive Game 3 in the ECAC Quarterfinals the Quinnipiac Bobcats men's ice hockey team punched it's ticket to Lake Placid and the ECAC final four with a 3-2 win over the St. Lawrence Saints in front of a crowd of 1,482 at Appleton Arena in Canton, N.Y. It's the fifth consecutive season that Quinnipiac has reached the final weekend of the ECAC tournament where their opponent next Friday is the top seed Harvard Crimson in the semifinals. This is also the first time since the 2007 season that Quinnipiac has won a road quarterfinal playoff series.

Andrew Shortridge, 20 saves in win ( file photo)
Just like the previous night, Quinnipiac got the game's first goal. With Quinnipiac on the power play, Luke Shiplo crossed a pass to Bo Piper who fed it low to the side of the net where Thomas Aldworth's quick wrist shot deflected off St. Lawrence defender Gavin Bayreuther and past goaltender Kyle Hayton. Quinnipiac continued to get numerous scoring chances in the period yet could muster anything more than the lone goal by Aldworth. It was in this period where Quinnipiac lost senior Tommy Schutt for the game on a cheap elbow stemming from an open ice hit. The Bobcats dominated the opening frame in the shot category putting up 13 shots compared to St. Lawrence's 4. 

In the second period chippy play continued especially when Quinnipiac's Tanner MacMaster picked up his second embellishment penalty of the game after he was cross checked by Matt Purmal. With the teams now skating four aside, Connor Clifton skated in on the right all alone getting a clean shot off in the air which dropped down and trickled in past Hayton. The play was reviewed for a possible goaltender interference but the call of a good goal on the ice stood giving the Bobcats the 2-0 lead. Landon Smith and Bo Pieper got the assists on the goal. It was the second assist of the game for Pieper. Less than four minutes later, freshman Alex Whelan who has been Mr. Do It All for the Bobcats this weekend picked the pocket of St. Lawrence and skated up ice ripping a high wrist shot five feet past the blue line past Hayton for the goal. St. Lawrence got one back with Connor Clifton in the box for a holding penalty as Eric Sweetman got one past Shortridge with ten seconds to play in the period giving some life into the Saints heading in the third.

The ECAC officials continued to be the center of attention in third as they couldn't swallow their whistles and let the players decide things on the ice. Six combined penalties were called including a ten minute misconduct penalty for Tanner MacMaster. Just a little more than eight minutes into the period Mike Marnell got the second power play goal of the game for St. Lawrence trimming the lead to just a goal. The Saints best chance to tie it up came when Ben Finkelstein's shot hit the cross bar. Both Derek Smith and Alex Whelan produced huge blocked shots late in the game to help preserve the win and send the Bobcats to Lake Placid.

Andrew Shortridge made 20 saves in the win giving him back to back playoff series wins as a freshman. The ECAC final four is now set with Quinnipiac set to face Harvard for the third consecutive season in Lake Placid while Cornell faces Union in the other semifinal. Quinnipiac and Harvard split the season series with each team winning on their home ice this year. Game time next Friday is set for 4 p.m.

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

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