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Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey takes ninth straight win
One night before their Frozen Four rematch against Yale, the Bobcats continued to roll by defeating Brown, 3-0. The victory extends Quinnipiac’s win streak to nine games and improves its record to 9-1-0. The Bobcats also exacted some revenge on a Brown team that eliminated Quinnipiac in the semifinals of the ECAC Championship a year ago.
Quinnipiac dominated Brown defensively, holding the Bears to 20 shots while taking 48 of its own. The Bobcats were led by goalie Michael Garteig, who had 20 saves and recorded his second straight shutout.
The two teams were locked in a defensive stalemate early in the contest, with neither side getting much room to shoot. However, Quinnipiac quickly soon began to pull away. The Bobcats struck first midway through the first period when senior captain Cory Hibbeler scored on an assist from Bryce Van Brabant. Following the goal the Bears tightened their defense and it seemed like Quinnipiac would enter the first intermission with a 1-0 lead, until Connor Clifton scored in the last second of the period off an assist from Sam Anas. The assist was Anas’ 14th point this season, which leads the team, and the 98th of his career.
The Bobcats continued to dominate offensively and take shots at will, but Brown goalie Marco Del Filippo Del Filippo had 45 saves on the night including 19 in the second period.
Frustration began to mount for Brown in the second period. After just one penalty in the first period, the Bears had six penalties through the rest of the game, including a costly tripping penalty on Matt Wahl in the third period which nullified a Brown goal. The Bobcats were also plagued by penalties in this contest. Quinnipiac committed eight penalties on the day.
The Bobcats penalty kill unit stood their ground as they have done all season. Quinnipiac’s penalty kill is now 51-54 on the season.
“We play our system whether it’s in the neutral zone or the defensive zone,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “I thought we executed well, Garteig made a few saves when he needed to. We didn’t really give up a lot of shots. I thought it was just a good job and the penalty kill has been great all year.”
Brown has taken more shots in the third period this season than they have in the other two combined. True to form, the Bears came out firing in the third period, where they took 14 of their 20 shots. Quinnipiac survived the onslaught behind Garteig’s 14 saves in the period and with less than two minutes to play, Kellen Jones scored on an empty net to seal the Bobcats’ victory.
In his first season as a starter, Garteig has started coming into his own. Over the last two games Garteig has not allowed a goal. Along with Garteig, the defense has been outstanding.
“I thought a couple of the freshmen defensemen really played well for us tonight. I thought Devon Toews was probably the best player on the ice for us tonight,” Pecknold said. “He was just outstanding, doing little things well and I think a lot of that was just confidence for him.”
In fact, the defense may be playing too well. Garteig credits his recent improvement to seeing more shots and being able to get into a rhythm.”
“For the last two games I got some shots and I think that makes a big difference,” Garteig said. “Games like Colgate I had 12 or 13 shots, Holy Cross same thing. It’s awesome for my defense, even tonight and the Cornell game they were unbelievable and they’ve been good all year. I think personally for me I saw a little bit more shots.”
Garteig will be critical against a Yale team tonight that has scored 11 goals over the last two games. With such a highly anticipated game on the horizon for Saturday, this contest against Brown seemed like it had the makings of a trap game. But, Quinnipiac remained focused on the task at hand and avoided looking ahead to their matchup with Yale.
“We certainly didn’t look past Brown at all. We were ready to play. We just talked once or twice earlier in the week about it,” Pecknold said. “I think it’s more a credit to our team and to our captains and our leaders in the locker room.”
Quinnipiac will look to follow suit on Saturday against Yale and avenge its national championship loss from last season.