|Quinnipiac and Yale shake hands (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)|
The No. 9-seeded Quinnipiac Bobcats scored the first three goals of the game en route to a 4-1 win and a sweep of the No. 8 seed Yale Bulldogs at Ingalls Rink on Saturday night in the best-of-three ECAC first round playoff series. Quinnipiac (16-16-4) outscored their Whitney Avenue rivals 9-2 over the two games. Since the 2013 season, Quinnipiac is now 5-0 in the ECAC playoffs against the Bulldogs. They will move on to the quarterfinals against an undetermined opponent.
Quinnipiac played a complete sixty minute game tonight really taking it to Yale from the opening face-off and out-possessing Yale in the first period. "I was really happy with the effort tonight, Rand Pecknold said. Our battle level was great and our compete level was great. We really hunted the puck north, south, east, and west." Yale goaltender Corbin Kaczperski's play kept the Bulldogs in the game in the first period as Quinnipiac could have had at least two goals in the opening period but the game remained scoreless at the end of the first period.
Quinnipiac lit the lamp 4:41 into the second period with just a single second left on the power play when Odeen Tufto sent a no-look pass in front to a wide open Chase Priskie who buried it home past Kaczperski for his team leading 8th power play goal and 11th overall. With the assist Tufto is now tied with Brian Herbert (set in the 1999-2000 season) for the most assists by a Quinnipiac freshman with 32. He added a goal just under seven minutes later when Tanner MacMaster fed Tufto cross ice who buried a quick wrist shot past Kaczperski. With the goal, Tufto become the first Quinnipiac player to have 40 points in a season since Sam Anas in the 2013-2014 season. "We wanted to get a quick start, said Tufto. We wanted to jump on them right away. I think we did a good job of it. We got a lot of efforts up and down the lineup."
One of the biggest story lines of the series was Yale's Joe Snively, who was held to no shots tonight and had only two shots on goal the entire series. "We definitely were keying in on Snively, said Pecknold. We wanted to make sure we were gonna have layers with him. Every-time he beat a guy there would be a second guy and every-time he beat a second guy there would be a third guy. I thought we frustrated him and did a good job both nights. He’s a great player, one of the best in the country.”
Rand Pecknold turned once again to Keith Petruzzelli (20 saves) as Andrew Shortridge was not dressed for the game. “I thought he was great, Pecknold said. He was confident. He handled the puck well. He does a really good job with helping our breakouts. Sometimes that’s a little underrated in the game of hockey.”
Quinnipiac tacked on two more goals in the third, one on a nifty five-hole goal by Brogan Rafferty who worked around Billy Sweezey before sneaking a backhand shot through Kaczperski. “I made a risky move to the middle and it worked out,” Rafferty said. It was a good play by Kevin [Duane] in the neutral zone." Yale cut the lead to 3-1 on an unassisted goal by Kevin O'Neill but Alex Whelan (16th goal) potted his second empty net goal in as many nights to close out the win.
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