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Quinnipiac finally solved St. Lawrence goaltender Kyle Hayton, who had not allowed a goal to the Bobcats this season in three games, and forced a game three, beating the Saints 3-2.
It took just 16 seconds for the Bobcats to beat Hayton and establish the early lead, something Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold acknowledged was important to the way his team played.
Alex Whelan got the goal for Quinnipiac, his fifth of the season, firing a shot from the left faceoff dot that beat a screened Hayton far side high.
While short-handed, St. Lawrence had a breakaway opportunity, off the stick of Ryan Lough, that was stopped by Shortridge, but a crashing Mike Marnell found the loose puck and forced it under the rookie netminder’s pads 9:41 into the first.
It didn’t take long for the Bobcats to respond, with Craig Martin picking up his first of two goals in the contest on the power play for Quinnpiac. Chase Priskie skated backwards through the slot, delaying until he opened a shooting lane and fired a shot that Martin tipped past Hayton just 1:39 after Marnell’s goal.
“I think we all seemed to have our jump; our line was going from the first shift,” said Martin. “We haven’t played against them with the lead all year, so it was good to get that back.”
Martin picked up his second of the game 12:02 into the second period, forcing a loose puck past Hayton while crashing the net. Mike Ederer got St. Lawrence within one goal with 4:55 remaining in the third period, but Shortridge and the Bobcats held the Saints off the board to close, killing three penalties in the third to force game three.
“Shortridge was our best player,” said Pecknold, but he also referenced the importance of the penalty kills. “We had some issues last night with our PK, some different things in the neutral and in zone, and I thought we cleaned that up nice. I thought our battle level was better.”
After being displeased with his team’s effort last night, Pecknold was far more impressed with the way the Bobcats played tonight.
“I thought our compete level was excellent tonight. I thought we were a little sloppy in the first, we gave up some breakaways, but we cleaned that up, settled down a bit, and our compete level was fantastic.”
Saints coach Mark Morris thought his team played better late in the third, a period they outshot Quinnipiac 20-5, but ultimately thought his team simply wasn’t good enough.
“We had a good game plan, we just needed to put the effort in, and I didn’t think we had 100 percent buy-in tonight,” Morris said. “We need to take a page out of their book, regroup, refocus, and get back on task.”
The teams will meet tomorrow at 7 p.m. EST to decide the series.
Harvard 4, Yale 3
The Crimson got power-play goals from Luke Esposito, Alexander Kerfoot, and Lewis Zerter-Gossage to sweep the Bulldogs and return to Lake Placid. Merrick Madsen made 29 saves.
Union 4, Princeton 3
Mike Vecchione scored on a penalty shot in overtime to send Union to Lake Placid by sweeping Princeton. Spencer Foo tied the game for Union with 21 seconds remaining in the third period.
Cornell 2, Clarkson 1
Cornell edged Clarkson to force a game three, thanks to Anthony Angello’s goal 8:50 into the third. Juho Jokiharju scored with 1:57 left to get Clarkson within one, but the Big Red held on for the win.