HAMDEN, Conn. — A second period burst sealed the win in the deciding Game 3 as Quinnipiac took down Cornell 6-3 on Sunday.
The conference and national leader took to a 2-0 lead 1:41 into the game from two quick goals for Scott Davidson and Bo Pieper.
Though only down a goal, Cornell could not muster enough of a fight to completely push back.
“They come out, we knew they’d push, and we didn’t respond well early on,” Cornell coach Mike Schafer said. “They got the early one and the second period to make it 3-1, and then power play, power play, power play. It was frustrating that we didn’t kill it off.”
The Bobcats’ power play was 2-for-4 in the middle period, with Andrew Taverner and Sam Anas converting on the man advantage. Emotions again bubbled over, leading to penalties marring the second period. Cornell (16-11-7, 8-8-6 ECAC) sat in the box for nine minor infractions in the game, while Quinnipiac (27-3-7, 16-1-5 ECAC) sat for six.
“[We] got it going again and then it just turned in all of a sudden it’s power plays all over the place,” Schafer said. “The game totally changed halfway through that second period of the way the game was called — the previous eight periods, it just took a U-turn. We paid the price for that.”
In addition to Pieper’s second goal of the game, Quinnipiac ended the second with a 5-1 lead.
“We play with speed, we play attack mode, and the guys all contribute — there’s no weakness in our top four lines,” Quinnipiac assistant coach Bill Riga said. “You don’t see that much drop off between the lines on our team. I think the fact that they all scored this weekend is great, but the fact that they all can compete and play four lines in this series is huge.”
The Big Red sit on the outside of the bubble, at No. 17 in the PairWise. Even with the fight to get in a last goal in the dying minutes, the possibility that the season ended is almost certain. Cornell has taken it in stride, seeing as the season be a success to remain in the thick of in in-conference.
“I mean, we weren’t picked very high to finish in the league,” said Schafer. “We got off to a good start, and we grinded it out through the course of the year. The league’s so strong this year that I’m very proud of our guys. We hit a dry spot and again overcome adversity, and got it going near the stretch. Not too often is your opponent the No. 1 team in the country, and we had a hard-fought series.”
Quinnipiac now advances to the ECAC semifinals in Lake Placid, N.Y., where the Bobcats will square up against Dartmouth, fresh off an upset of No. 2-seeded Yale.
It’s the 11th time in program history the Bobcats have won a round in the ECAC playoffs, but the Whitelaw Cup still remains elusive to the blue and gold.
“They’re tired of earning it, going up there and for one reason or another — a bad bounce, an overtime or something not happening,” Riga said. “I know everything’s great with the Cleary Cup. but it’s awesome to get the league and the No. 1 seed. But that aches in the belly of some of the guys.”