HAMDEN, Conn. — Quinnipiac continued its streak of firsts in the 2015-16 season, taking the program’s first ECAC Hockey championship after defeating Clarkson 1-0 on Sunday afternoon.
The only goal on the night would come off the stick of Quinnipiac’s Nicole Brown with less than two minutes to play in the opening period. Brown captured a puck that ricocheted from the back boards and squeezed a shot through Shea Tiley’s blocker and the near-side post.
“I saw the puck come off, and I was like ‘I have about point one seconds to put the puck in the net before I get clobbered,'” Brown said. “[I’m] just kinda swinging at it and saw it go over the line.”
After two periods, the game seemed reminiscent of the 2-2 tie the team played to three weeks before on Feb. 13. Quinnipiac (30-2-5, 16-2-4 ECAC) had scored in the first and neither team worked past in the second. This time, Clarkson (29-4-5, 14-3-5 ECAC) stayed shut out in the third.
“The games that we’ve played against them this year I feel like coulda gone either way with a break here, a break there,” Clarkson coach Matt Desrosiers said. “We just gotta look on the positive side of things and just know that we’re playing again next weekend. I don’t think we brought our best game tonight. We still have some spurts of some things that were pretty good that we liked in that. For a championship style game, I don’t think we were at the level we need to kind of be at.”
The Quinnipiac lead was challenged midway through the third period when Cayley Mercer came up on a shorthanded breakaway, but was stifled by a kick save from tournament Most Outstanding Player Sydney Rossman.
“I just remember it being like, I knew it was her,” Rossman said. “I knew she was probably going to deke, that’s something she does more often. I just tried to stay composed. I knew I could stop her.”
Rossman gave up one goal on 37 shots over the weekend. For Rossman, she still believes her accolades are reflective of the effort of the defense in front of her.
“Obviously, it’s been a crazy year,” said Rossman. “I’ve gotten a lot of accolades and stuff, but I owe it mostly to the team. Without them, getting those awards would be impossible.”
With Quinnipiac at the fourth spot in both the PairWise and national poll and Clarkson at the fifth in those respective categories, it seems likely that the two teams will face off once again in Hamden.
QU coach Cassandra Turner has embraced the opportunity to host the NCAA quarterfinal after being on the road for the ECAC playoffs two years ago and the NCAA tournament last year.
“After last year traveling, I know that that for our team, they really wanted to get that advantage of playing at home because we knew what it felt like to travel last year,” Turner said. “That is huge if we do play Clarkson. It’s going to be a great hockey game. It always is.”
While Desrosier’s Golden Knights may not have taken home the hardware this weekend, he is optimistic that the season isn’t over for his team.
“For the most part, we’ve been pretty good all season long, and we’ve been pretty good at bouncing back from games like this, so we’ll be OK,” Desrosiers said. “You gotta look at the positives and put ourselves in a position to possibly play for a national championship.”