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- Crossing the line
Quinnipiac to play for national championship
Will face No. 4 seed Yale
The magic number is down to one.
And if they could not add any more drama to its season, the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team will battle Yale on Saturday, April 13, in the national championship, with both ECAC teams vying for their first title.
Quinnipiac defeated St. Cloud State, 4-1 this evening at the CONSOL Energy Center, powered by Eric Hartzell’s 33 saves and Jeremy Langlois’ 100th career point. Jordan Samuels-Thomas chipped in with two points, while Zach Davies tallied two assists.
The 2013 National Championship is the first title game since 1978 to pit two ECAC teams against each other, while also being the first championship since 1978 to represent two teams from the same state.
“It’s phenomenal for our league,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “We’re as good as anyone. We have great players in our league. For any team to make the NCAA’s; you need to win, and you need your league to win.”
The victory ensures that the national champion will be from the ECAC; a first since Harvard took the title in 1989.
“Once it comes to game time, I don’t think it really matters what league you’re in,” Jeremy Langlois said. “It’s just two teams going at it. We look forward to it.”
In the beginning of the tournament, Quinnipiac was placed as the No. 1 seed while Yale was No. 15. The Bulldogs edged Minnesota, as well as North Dakota to earn a spot in the Frozen Four. Earlier in the day, Yale defeated heavily-favored UMass-Lowell in overtime to advance to the championship game.
Scoring goals in bunches has powered several Bobcat wins, as well as lighting the lamp early. Quinnipiac accomplished both tonight.
Just 1:49 into regulation, Huskie Joey Benik was whistled for hooking. Seven seconds later, Samuels-Thomas wrapped around the net, sliding the puck through goaltender Ryan Faragher’s legs for the one-goal lead.
The goal was also Quinnipiac’s fourth on nine power play opportunities in the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
Minutes later, Samuels-Thomas wrapped around the net once again, only this time he came away with the assist. Samuels-Thomas hit Ben Arnt on the doorstep with a seamless pass, while the senior finished the play by burying the puck high-blocker side.
“I wanted to be strong on the walls and around the net,” Samuels-Thomas said. “I felt like I had some good jump in the beginning. A lot of guys won battles.”
With 8:41 left in the first period, Langlois earned his 100th career point via his 13th goal of the season. Hartzell stuffed Drew LeBlanc on a one-timer, as Langlois and Zach Davies skated past the errant Huskies’ defense onto a 2-on-1. Davies ripped the initial shot that grabbed pad, while Langlois put on the finishing touch to give Quinnipiac the 3-0 advantage.
St. Cloud lit the scoreboard at 6:25 of the second, when Joey Benik displayed patience alone on Hartzell. Waiting in the slot, Hartzell went for diving poke check. Prepared for the move, Benik stood his ground, later roofing a shot to cut the deficit to two.
Trending patience, Kellen Jones skated onto a partial breakaway by the near side boards in the 15th minute of the second. Jones moved in on Faragher, waiting before going top shelf on the netminder to push the lead back to three.
“We’re excited,” Pecknold said with a smile. “It’s a proud moment for the Quinnipiac University hockey program.”