Friday, March 10, 2017

Quinnipiac pushed to the brink of elimination in 2-0 loss to St. Lawrence

The Quinnipiac Bobcats have been pushed to the brink of the off-season after being shutout 2-0 on Friday night before a cow bell ringing crowd of 1524 at Appleton Arena in Canton, N.Y. in Game 1 of the ECAC Quarterfinals. It is the third consecutive game against the St. Lawrence Saints that the Bobcats have been shutout by goaltender Kyle Hayton. This is Hayden's 4th career shutout against Quinnipiac and now has given up only eight goals in seven career games against the Bobcats. 

Kyle Hayton, Saint Lawerence goaltender recorded his 4th shutout against Quinnipiac
Right from the opening face-off it was the St. Lawrence Saints who came out flying despite having last weekend off with a first round bye. Quinnipiac looked nothing like the team that took Brown to the wood shed a week ago as they were consistently out hustled and out worked throughout the first period by the Saints who hit iron twice within the first half of the opening period. Midway through the period St. Lawrence's Michael Ederer took a Joe Sullivan pass who put it past Shortridge giving the Saints the 1-0 lead. Quinnipiac was out shot 9-7 in the opening frame but was very lucky to be only down by a goal due to the play of Andrew Shortridge as St. Lawrence had the much higher quality scoring opportunities. The Bobcats couldn't capitalize on either of their two power play chances in the first period as the Saints strong penalty kill continued to show why it is one the best in the country.

The second period was scoreless until the Saints Joe Sullivan scored a power play goal with less than a second left from Ben Finklestein and Gavin Bayreuther. It was a big time back breaking goal given up by Quinnipiac who had not scored on Hayton in eight periods thus far this season and now trailed by a pair putting the team in a very tough spot heading into the third period. St. Lawrence out shot the Bobcats 12-9 in the middle frame.

Joe Sullivan, St. Lawrence forward had a goal & an assist (photo by SLU)
In the third the Bobcats had their chances with three power play opportunities along with putting 16 shots on Hayton, yet they were constantly denied by the goaltender many consider to be the best in the ECAC. Head coach Rand Pecknold gambled with about 10 minutes left when he pulled Shortridge from the goal on a power play to give Quinnipiac a 6 on 4 chance. The gamble didn't pay off as the St. Lawrence penalty kill showed why it's one if the teams biggest strengths. Late in the game Shortridge was pulled again but Quinnipiac couldn't find the back of the net.

Quinnipiac out shot St. Lawrence 32-29 for the game but that number is deceiving as the Saints consistently had the better scoring opportunities throughout this game and were the better team in transition all night. The Bobcats have yet to solve Hayton and need to find a way to cause havoc in front of him because they did very little of that tonight as he saw the puck all night. The two teams return to ice tomorrow night in Game 2 as Quinnipiac looks to stave off elimination and force a deciding Game 3 on Sunday.

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

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