Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey grabs first NCAA Tournament win
An event often remembered, but scraped away from memory prior to this evening’s contest.
Selected as the No. 1 seed in the 2013 NCAA Tournament, and though a first round exit appeared imminent through the first 50 minutes of the play, the Bobcats made sure history didn’t repeat itself Saturday night. En route to its first NCAA Tournament victory, Quinnipiac rattled off three unanswered goals in the third stanza, escaping with a 4-3 victory over the Canisius Golden Griffins.
Fifth-year senior Kevin Bui recorded the go-ahead goal at 14:28 in the third period, grabbing his second game-winning goal in the Bobcats last four contests.
“Twenty-one guys believing that we can come back, coach kept the bench calm, he said ‘just do the simple things’,” Bui said. “We just went and forechecked, threw pucks on net.”
Quinnipiac’s third period comeback came within the final 11:58 of play, one of the goals via the power play.
“It [the game] wasn’t how we drew it up on the board,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “I thought we were sloppy at times, we need to be better than that. Down 3-1 late in the third, that character came through. We found a way to scratch it out and score some goals.”
The Bobcats take on the victor of this evening’s game between Boston College and Union tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. for the right to advance to the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Canisius goaltender Tony Capobianco made 36 saves on 39 shots. Through the first two periods, Capobianco stopped 22 of 23 shots.
“We’ve been inconsistent through the last five or six weeks,” Pecknold said. “What you saw tonight was not the best defensive hockey team in the country. We struggled early in the game, even when up 1-0, we had some bad habits.”
Quinnipiac lit the lamp first in the opening stanza, when Kellen Jones connected with twin-brother Connor for the sixth time this season.
Kellen stationed himself behind the net, later hitting Connor with a pass by the hash marks. Connor then rifled the puck past Capobianco’s glove for the early one-goal lead at 8:43 in the first.
“All four lines had a lot of chances,” Connor Jones said. “We knew we needed to get more pucks to the net, more rebounds, more traffic.”
Early in the second, Stephen Farrell skated in on the crease after Eric Hartzell couldn’t cover a rebound. Farrell then pushed the puck past Hartzell, tying the game at 4:24 into the second. Forty-four seconds later, Duncan McKellar set up at right point, before putting a soft wrist shot on net. Patrick Sullivan then deflected the puck through Quinnipiac goaltender Hartzell’s five-hole for the 2-1 lead.
3:43 into the third period, the Golden Griffins extended their lead to 3-1. Kyle Gibbons skated into the slot, grabbing a loose rebound and finding the twine.
Quinnipiac began its comeback at 8:02 in the third, when Matthew Peca skated in alone from the near side boards, wristing a shot top shelf to cut the deficit to 1. 2:40, Jordan Samuels-Thomas tied the game at 3 on a drive from the far side circle.
Bui added the game-winner with 5:32 remaining in regulation off a rebound.