HAMDEN, Connecticut – Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey defeated Brown, 5-1, to clinch its ECAC Hockey Championship First Round series and advance to the tournament quarterfinals. The Bobcats will travel to Canton, New York to face St. Lawrence in a best-of-three-games quarterfinal series on Mar. 10-12.
With the win, Quinnipiac improves to 21-13-2 for the year and continues its run as the only ECAC Hockey team to win a postseason series since the Bobcats joined the league in 2005-06. It also marks the 18th consecutive season with a postseason series victory.
Tanner MacMaster (Calgary, Alberta) posted a three-point night for the Bobcats with a goal and two assists. MacMaster also had two assists in Game 1 of the series to give him five points in the first round of the ECAC Hockey Tournament. MacMaster set-up Landon Smith’s (Greenwood Village, Colorado) 11th goal of the year before getting the assist on Connor Clifton’s (Matawan, New Jersey) second goal in as many nights. Tommy Schutt (Chanhassen, Minnesota) and Bo Pieper (Roseville, Minnesota) also scored for the Bobcats, while Pieper also had an assist and Thomas Aldworth (Keller, Texas) had two assists.
Andrew Shortridge (Anchorage, Alaska) won his fifth-straight game to improve to 11-5-0 on the season after stopping 24 of Brown’s 25 shots-on-goal.
Smith’s 11th goal of the season adds to an impressive month as the junior wing has now tallied five goals and five assists in his last 10 games. Pieper started the play when he passed the puck to MacMaster. MacMaster had his pass deflected by a Brown player before Smith picked up the puck and rifled a shot past Brown goalie Gavin Nieto to put the Bobcats on the board.
Just over three minutes later, MacMaster scored his eighth goal of the year after taking a pass from Luke Shiplo (Oakville, Ontario) and wristing a shot on goal. Aldworth won a battle in the corner that started the play as he handed the puck to Shiplo at the point. The puck traveled through traffic and likely was never seen by Nieto who was screened by Kevin Duane and Thomas Aldworth. Brown responded with their second goal of the series with just under five minutes to play in the period on Sam Lafferty’s 13th goal of the year.
Two minutes later, Nick Jermain (Cos Cob, Connecticut) won a battle along the boards and handed the puck to Aldworth at the blue line. Aldworth spied Schutt streaking between the face-off circles and ripped a pass to the senior assistant captain’s tape. Schutt redirected the shot past a Brown defender and tucked the shot inside the near-side post to give the Bobcats a 3-1 lead heading into the second intermission. Aldworth now owns a five-game point streak with three goals and three assists.
Early in the third period, Connor Clifton stole a pass and handed the puck to MacMaster who carried it into the defensive zone. Clifton slid behind two defenders and took a pass from MacMaster for the one-timer to beat Nieto top shelf and give Quinnipiac a 4-1 lead that it held through the final period. Pieper added an empty-net goal with Brogan Rafferty picking up an assist late in the third period.