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Men’s hockey clinches home ice
After dropping a crucial game to Harvard, 2-1, last Friday, Quinnipiac men’s hockey roared back on Saturday to defeat Dartmouth. Led by Bryan Leitch and David Marshall, the Bobcats won 4-1 to clinch home ice in the ECAC Hockey Tournament.
With the victory over Dartmouth (14-12-3, 11-9-2 ECAC), the Bobcats locked up the No. 7 seed in the conference with a total of 21 points. They finished out the regular season with a 9-10-3 ECAC record and a 16-15-3 record overall.
Bobcats fall to conference rival:
The Bobcats entered the weekend needing at least one win to ensure a home ice advantage. Harvard (9-14-6, 9-7-6 ECAC) hosted Quinnipiac for the first game at the Bright Hockey Center.
Quinnipiac came out shooting in the first period with a goal from assistant captain Andrew Meyer at the 8:49 mark. Receiving a pass from freshman Kevin Bui, Meyer lined up right above the left face-off circle and fired a shot past Harvard goalie Ryan Carroll.
The Bobcats would not find the net the rest of the night, as Carroll gave the Crimson a strong performance. He allowed the single goal and registered 27 saves on the night.
After falling behind, 1-0, Harvard did not waste any time helping out their goalie. At the 12:02 mark in the first period, Michael Biega took a pass from Ryan Grimshaw and sent it past Quinnipiac goalie Bud Fisher to tie the game, 1-1. The goal was his sixth of the season.
Biega struck again for the Crimson late in the second period, only this time it was Alex. With less than 30 seconds remaining, Brian McCafferty fed a pass to Biega, who was waiting at the point. His one-timer bounced past Fisher to give Harvard its first lead of the game.
Carroll managed to hold off the Bobcats for the entire third period, as neither team managed to score. Quinnipiac was handed a golden opportunity at the 10:42 mark when Harvard’s Michael Mauro was called for a five-minute major and a game misconduct. The power play was wasted, though, as they managed just three shots on goal.
Bobcats retaliate with big win over Dartmouth:
With a close loss fresh in their minds, the Bobcats headed to the Thompson Arena to take on Dartmouth in their last regular-season game. They needed a strong performance to take the game, but instead they got three. Marshall scored twice, Leitch added a goal and three assists, and Fisher saved a season-high 42 shots on the night.
Like they did against Harvard, the Bobcats took an early lead, scoring at the 3:34 mark. After a shot by Eric Lampe was deflected by Dartmouth goalie Jody O’Neil, Marshall collected the puck and got the score.
The goal gave Marshall 70 for his career, making him the first Bobcat in Division I history to reach 70 goals. Leitch also recorded his 40th assist of the season on the play, making him the first in Bobcat Division I history to notch 40 assists in a single season.
After the record-breaking play, the Bobcats made sure not to give up the lead again. At the 3:57 mark in the second period, Matt Sorteberg got the puck from the ever-present Leitch and fired his fourth goal of the season.
The Bobcats held the 2-0 lead until the 14:22 mark in the second period. Dartmouth’s Connor Shields got a pass from Kyle Schussler and took a shot on Fisher. The puck bounced off a blocker and snuck into the net for Fisher’s only mistake on the night.
The game remained 2-1 until late in the third period. With just under three minutes remaining, Leitch broke the game open for the Bobcats. After intercepting an attempted clear, Leitch found the back of the Dartmouth net to give the Bobcats a comfortable, 3-1 lead.
Marshall added some insurance with 40 seconds remaining, scoring an empty-net goal. Quinnipiac took the 4-1 lead and the victory.
With their performances, Leitch and Marshall made Quinnipiac only the second team in the nation to feature two 40-point scorers. Leitch finished the season with 53 points, making him only the fourth Bobcat in Division 1 history to top 50.
Quinnipiac will host No. 10 Colgate next weekend at the TD Banknorth Sports Center, where the winner will be decided in a best-of-three series.