3-Goal First Period The Difference
HAMDEN, Conn. – The shot totals were close and neither team found the net on a combined 11 power-play chances, but the Bulldogs could not come up with a much-needed win on the road tonight. Eric Hartzell stopped 30 of 31 shots as No. 1 Quinnipiac beat No. 13 Yale 4-1 before a sellout crowd at High Point Solutions Arena.
"I think we are in a little funk right now and not playing as well as we need to play pretty much in every facet of the game," said Keith Allain '80, Yale's Malcolm G. Chace Head Coach. "You earn results and that's why we are not getting results."
The Bobcats, who already earned the regular season conference title, had a 35-31 edge in shots but rode a three-goal first period to the victory.
Both teams put 11 shots on net and went 0-for-1 on an advantage in the first period. Yale sophomore Connor Wilson, making his second career start, had eight saves.
Matthew Peca got the Bobcats off to a fast start with a snapshot through traffic a little more than three minutes in. Kellen Jones and Travis St. Denis added first-period goals that sent Quinnipiac into the first intermission with a 3-0 lead and brought a new Bulldog goalie for the second.
Nick Maricic was ready in the second period and stopped all 14 Bobcat shots, including a few odd-man rushes and other quality chances. The Bulldogs had their chances to get on the board with four or five grade-A opportunities but couldn't bury any of their 10 shots on target.
The Blue broke through early in the third with an impressive, relentless fore-check that began getting more shots. Jesse Root backhander from the left circle in traffic bounced off the Quinnipiac goalie just as Kenny Agostino (see photo) was coming through the low slot. The junior forward, with a defender on his back, picked it off before it could get cleared and sent it past Hartzell for his 13th of the year.
Maricic, who finished with 23 saves in two periods, continued his solid play and gave the Blue a chance to get back in the game. There were many close ones that could have made it a one-goal game in the third, none better than Andrew Miller's shorthanded breakaway with under seven minutes left that zipped off the goalie's glove and over the net.
That shot and some strange penalty calls down the stretch were signs that this was not a night for the Bulldogs.
The Elis pulled their goalie with 90 seconds left but couldn't get anything set up on offense and it ended up with an easy empty-netter at the other end.
"Tonight was the first five-on-five goal we scored since the (Feb. 1) Princeton game. We are not paying the price to generate proper chances, and you have to do that if you want to score," said Allain, whose Elis lost for a fifth straight time after having a five-game unbeaten streak after that game against the Tigers.
Yale is at Princeton Saturday night for a crucial contest that impacts both the ECAC and Ivy League standings.
"We have to stick to our system and keep getting pucks to the net. When you are going through a slump, you have to simplify… and the more shots the better," said Miller, the Yale captain, before the game. "We have to calm down and play our game."
Report filed by Steve Conn, Yale Sports Publicity Director
Bill O'Brien image