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Bobcats sweep into Quarterfinals
Midway through Saturday night’s ECAC first round playoff game between Quinnipiac and Brown, the Bobcats found themselves in a familiar position. Four second period goals gave the Bobcats a 5-1 lead against the Bears, the same lead they held Friday night before surrendering five of the next six goals to force overtime. This time, the Bobcats put the Bears away with two more goals in the third, winning 7-1 and advancing to the quarterfinals where they will travel to Harvard for another best-of-three series.
“We learned our lesson. Tonight we put them away. We stuck to our game plan and got in front of that net, in front of (Brown goalies) Rosen and Sibbald,” said Brandon Wong, who had two goals and an assist on the night.
The Bobcats got on the board first with seven minutes left in the opening period when Jamie Bates tipped in a Greg Holt shot from the point on the power play.
Brown’s Ryan Garbutt snapped a shot over the glove of Bobcat goaltender Bud Fisher with 2:36 left for a power play goal that tied the score at one.
For the second straight night, the Bobcats used a barrage of second period goals to chase Brown goalie Dan Rosen from the game. Wong took a nice place from Zach Hansen and went in all alone on Rosen, beating the sophomore netminder to give the Bobcats a 2-1 lead.
After a goal by Holt on the power play extended the lead to 3-1, Wong lit the lamp again, this time off a brilliant pass from Dan Travis. The senior forward slung a pass from the left circle to the front of the net, and Wong was waiting on the doorstep to beat Rosen and bring in Brown backup goalie Mark Sibbald for the second consecutive night.
“I thought my team played an excellent second (and third) period. We bought into what we needed to do to be successful,” head coach Rand Pecknold said. “We did a lot of little things well. We were supporting the puck and backchecking.”
Dan Lefort’s third goal of the year with 5:38 left in the second gave the Bobcats a 5-1 lead.
Instead of surrendering the four goal lead like they did the night before, the sixth-seeded Bobcats put the game out of each.
“When your seasons on the line, it’s pretty easy to get guys to buy in,” said Bates, who is one of seven seniors making their last push for an NCAA tournament berth. “You want to make the best of your last year and don’t want to have any regrets.”
Bates scored his third goal of the weekend on assists from Ben Nelson and Holt, his third of the night.
Travis concluded the scoring on a snap shot from the circle for the Bobcats seventh tally of the night. The 14 goals the Bobcats scored this weekend are the most in a two game ECAC playoff series since Cornell scored 16 in 1996.
“We’re very excited to move on,” Pecknold said. “I think this goes a long way; there’s a lot of confidence that we’ll take out of this weekend. We dealt with some adversity. Hopefully we’ll use this as momentum and get back on track.”
The Bobcats will travel to Cambridge to take on Harvard in a best-of-three quarterfinal series. The two will meet Friday and Saturday night at 7 p.m. and Sunday at the same time if necessary.
During the regular season, the Crimson defeated the Bobcats 4-1 in Cambridge and skated to a 3-3 tie in Hamden.
The Bobcats are 0-3 at Harvard’s Bright Hockey Center since joining the ECAC and are winless in their last five against the Crimson. Their last victory came in their ECAC debut, a 5-2 win at the Hartford Civic Center on Nov. 4, 2005.