HAMDEN, Connecticut – Nationally-ranked No. 5/7 Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey defeated Rensselaer, 3-1, in an ECAC Hockey match-up in front of a capacity crowd of 3,296 at High Point Solutions Arena. With the win, Quinnipiac improves to 10-4-2 overall and 6-1-1 in ECAC Hockey.
Tanner MacMaster (Calgary, Alberta), Tim Clifton (Matawan, New Jersey), Bo Pieper (Roseville, Minnesota) and Luke Shiplo (Oakville, Ontario) all scored for the Bobcats while Landon Smith (Greenwood Village, Colorado) assisted on three of Quinnipiac’s four goals. Quinnipiac’s special teams were on display once-again as the Bobcats scored twice with a man-advantage while also blanking RPI on four Engineer power plays. Chris Truehl (Madison, Wisconsin) improved to 8-2-2 and 5-1-1 in ECAC Hockey play with a 13-save performance.
MacMaster finished off a great effort that started with Landon Smith (Greenwood Village, Colorado) and ended with team assist-leader Brogan Rafferty (Dundee, Illinois) saucing a beautiful pass across the crease to MacMaster. Smith carried the puck into the neutral zone in front of the Bobcats’ bench before pushing the puck up-ice to Rafferty’s tape. Rafferty and MacMaster found themselves on a two-on-one before the Bobcats’ talented freshman skated to RPI goalie Cam Hackett’s left and handed the puck to MacMaster just above the crease. MacMaster stepped around a defender and flipped a back-hand shot between Hackett’s pads to give Quinnipiac a 1-0 lead just under five minutes into the game.
The goal was MacMaster’s fifth of the season and his first in almost a month after he scored in back-to-back games against UMass and Clarkson. MacMaster had missed the previous five games to injury before Friday night and converted on his first touch back on the ice. Rafferty’s assist gives him a team-best 13 for the year while Smith picks up his sixth assist and 10th point of the season. The Bobcats also extended its undefeated streak when scoring first at home to 34 games (29-0-5) and also run its undefeated streak against RPI to 13 games (7-0-6). The Bobcats held a 1-0 lead through the first two periods as they improved to 7-0-1 when leading at the start of the third period.
Four minutes into the third period Rensselaer’s Jared Wilson tied the game with his eighth of the season. Evan Tironese won a face-off to the left of Truehl back to Wilson at the point. Wilson’s shot sneak between a trio of bodies between the face-off circle and past the Bobcats’ goalie to tie the game at 1-1.
With just under 12 minutes to play, Clifton gave Quinnipiac a 2-1 lead with his team-leading 10th goal of the season. K.J. Tiefenwerth (Bellmore, New York) won the puck along the boards and tipped it to Chase Priskie (Pembroke Pines, Florida) in the face-off circle to the right of Hackett. Priskie skated to the slot but was tied up by an RPI defender before handing to Clifton. Clifton slammed home the puck for his 19th career power-play goal to give the Bobcats a one-goal lead with half of the period to go.
With less than 10 minutes to play, the Bobcats added their second power-play goal of the period on Bo Pieper’s (Roseville, Minnesota) sixth goal of the season. Landon Smith held the puck at the point and handed it to Kevin Duane (New Canaan, Connecticut) on the goalline to the right of Hackett. Duane stepped in front of Hackett and attempted to jam it home. The puck bounced off of Hackett’s pad and settled on Pieper’s stick on the opposite post where he flipped it to the back of the Engineers’ net to give Quinnipiac a 3-1 lead. Two minutes later, Shiplo made a great play to keep the puck in the RPI defensive zone, playing it back to Pieper. Pieper then gave it back to Shiplo who sent it to Smith on the wing. Smith skated in on the right flank before centering a pass to Shiplo in front of the RPI goal.
Quinnipiac will host No. 20 Union for an ECAC Hockey match-up available live on SNY and TSN2 on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. at High Point Solutions Arena at the TD Bank Sports Center.