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It took 32 seconds for Quinnipiac to take the first game from Brown in the first round of the ECAC Hockey playoffs, a 6-1 win Friday night.
“We didn’t give ourselves a chance to be successful,” Brown coach Brendan Whittet said. “They were on top of us from the get-go, and when you give up a goal in the opening minute of the first period in a playoff series that’s not the way you want to start.”
The shot count and finesse were high for the fifth-seeded Bobcats, who fired 46 shots on freshman goaltender Gavin Nieto and backup Connor Maher, and were up 2-0 midway through the first period. Bobcats freshman Andrew Shortridge stopped 19 of 20 shots. Shortridge’s appearance marked the first time in a decade, and fourth in program history, that a first-year goaltender has started for the Bobcats.
Quinnipiac’s 46 shots on goal were the first time this season 12th-seeded Brown had to face 40 or more shots; the previous high was against Union on Nov. 5, when the Dutchmen posted 37. Six different players scored for the Bobcats on Friday.
“We’ve got to eliminate soft goals. The last one, I know the game was out of hand, but that can’t go in at our level. I don’t believe the second one can go in at our level either,” Whittet said. “We are where we are for a reason. We’ve got to be able to park it and just put a complete game together.”
The Bobcats were not without fault, giving the Bears five power-play opportunities. Brown, which has a conference-worst 8.4 percent power-play conversion rate, wasn’t able to chip away at the score on the man advantage.
“We couldn’t break pucks in cleanly. We put them in, they seem to come right back out on us,” Whittet said. “You want your power play to be a momentum enhancer, and for us it seemed to sap the life out of us. We’ve got to find a way to get that going a little bit.”
In the dying seconds of the game Quinnipiac was whistled for two penalties; the first on Kevin Duane for charging, the second on Karlis Cukste for tripping. Quinnipiac assistant captain Tim Clifton understood the penalties in context, but doesn’t see it becoming a problem in Saturday’s game.
“Yeah, kind of. It’s a 6-1 game. yeah we want to finish the game strong. Do I think there’s a need for those penalties? No, but we’re not going to back off,” Clifton said. “I think it is really important that we need to finish the game strong. As more along the lines of a discipline thing tomorrow, I don’t think that will be an issue. I think it was just emotions were flying in a 6-1 game. It kind of flared up a little bit.”
ECAC Hockey roundup:
At No. 6 Clarkson 7, No. 11 Rensselaer 4
Clarkson three first-period goals and never looked back against the Engineers. Sheldon Rempal and Troy Josephs both had two goals. Tensions came to a head at 4:43 of the third period, as three Clarkson players and two Rensselaer players were penalized at once.
No. 10 Colgate 3, at No. 7 Princeton 2, OT
It took overtime to give the visiting and Raiders a win, even as the Tigers outshot them 31-18. The hero for the night was Jake Kulevich, whose fifth tally of the season came. While the Raiders took the lead in the second, their power play went 0-for-5 on the night.
At No. 8 Yale 6, No. 9 Dartmouth 1
A three-goal second period and two power-play tallies gave the host Elis the first win of the series against the Big Green. John Hayden scored his 20th of the season and fellow Bulldog Joe Snively scored his 12th.