HAMDEN, Connecticut – In front of a capacity crowd of 3,695 at High Point Solutions Arena at the TD Bank Sports Center, the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team rolled to a 3-2 win against Yale in the 15th Annual Heroes Hat Game. With the win, Quinnipiac improves to 18-13-2 overall and 12-8-1 in ECAC Hockey play while Yale drops to 11-12-5 overall and 7-10-4 in league play.
The Bobcats’ victory, coupled with St. Lawrence’s win against Dartmouth, will place Quinnipiac as the No. 5 seed in the upcoming ECAC Hockey tournament which will commence with a best-of-three home series against Brown on Mar. 3-5.
Three different Bobcats scored in the win, including power-play goals from Craig Martin (Trail, British Columbia) and Bo Pieper (Roseville, Minnesota), as well as the game-winner from Landon Smith (Greenwood Village, Colorado). Pieper’s goal was his 12th of the season and places him in a tie for the team-high with Tim Clifton. Quinnipiac assist-leader Brogan Rafferty (Dundee, Illinois) picked up his team-leading 21st of the season while Tim and Connor Clifton (Matawan, New Jersey) and Thomas Aldworth (Keller, Texas) all picked up assists.
Quinnipiac freshman goalie Andrew Shortridge (Anchorage, Alaska) stopped 19 of Yale’s 21 shots-on-goal, as he improved to 8-5-0 overall and 6-2-0 in ECAC Hockey. Shortridge also carries a .934 save percentage and a 1.82 GAA in league play to date.
The Bobcats’ first two goals of the nightcame on the power play as Martin and Pieper both converted with a man-advantage. Just over two minutes into the game, Martin’s ninth goal of the year sprung the standing-room-only crowd to its feed when Tim Clifton’s shot off a pass from Rafferty caromed off the pad of Yale’s Sam Tucker onto the tape of Martin on the opposite post.
Three minutes later, it was Pieper outworking a trie of Yale skaters in the crease for his team-leading 12th goal of the year. Connor Clifton hooked up with Aldworth in the neutral zone, springing Aldworth free on the wing. Aldworth walked past a defenseman and threw a shot on goal that Tucker was able to stop. With the puck loose, Aldworth and Pieper hammered away at it before Pieper was able to sneak it under Yale’s goalie to give the Bobcats a 2-0 lead.
In the final minute of the period, Landon Smith scored his third goal in his last two games to push his season total to nine. Smith picked off a pass in the Bulldogs defensive zone and sniped a shot top-shelf to give Quinnipiac a 3-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
Coming out of the first break, Yale cut the Bobcats lead to two goals, 3-1, just twenty-one seconds in. Frankie DiChiara fed Joe Snively who carried the puck deep into the Bobcats’ zone. Snively then back-handed a pass to John Hayden on the door stop who converted for his 19th goal of the season.
With just under two minutes to play Evan Smith struck for the Bulldogs to pull Yale within a goal, 3-2, heading into the second intermission. The score held through the final 20 minutes of play as the Bobcats cruised to a one-goal win.
The Bobcats are back in action on Saturday, Feb. 25 when they host Brown at 7 p.m. at High Point Solutions Arena. Prior to the start of the game, Quinnipiac will honor Tommy Schutt, K.J. Tiefenwerth, Derek Smith, Tim and Connor Clifton and Joe Fiala as part of Senior Night festivities.