Following a 4-0 loss to Brown yesterday, head coach Rand Pecknold and captain Zack Currie had no answers when asked to explain their poor play. They only emphasized the importance of heading into the NCAA tournament on a high note.
The Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team managed to find some of those answers in time for the third-place game today, scoring one goal in the second period and two in the third to defeat Yale 3-0 in the ECAC Tournament Consolation game at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., on Saturday afternoon.
Hartzell rebounded from yesterday’s loss to Brown, in which he allowed four goals. This afternoon against Yale (18-13-3, 12-10-1 ECAC), he had 30 saves to earn his 10th career shutout, which is a program record.
“He was outstanding,” Pecknold said. “He responded from yesterday. He didn’t have his best game, and I got on him a little bit there when I pulled him and put him back in. I wanted him last night to be more aggressive, more confident, challenge, and he responded.”
Even though it was a consolation game, Hartzell said Quinnipiac (28-7-5, 18-2-3 ECAC) treated it as if it was a do or die situation.
“We focused a lot last night on making sure that our mindsets were in the right place,” Hartzell said. “Tonight we were wishing we were in the championship game. Obviously we can’t change the past but we can look to the future, and we have the NCAA’s to look forward. Today was a huge game, you don’t want to go into the NCAA’s with two losses.”
Quinnipiac was on the receiving end of a shutout yesterday, but regained its offensive touch today against Yale.
After a scoreless first, the Bobcat’s found the back of the net less than five minutes into the second period when Yale turned the puck over while passing it out of their zone. Bryce Van Brabant picked it up just inside the blue line, carried it into the slot and then fired a wrist shot to beat Yale goalie Jeff Malcolm, giving them the 1-0 lead.
The second period ended with Quinnipiac leading on the scoreboard, 1-0, but with the Bulldogs having an advantage in shots, 22-17.
Less than three minutes into the third period, Kevin Bui took a shot on net that was kicked to the side by Malcolm and deflected to Corey Hibbeler, who then put a shot into the bottom corner of the net for a 2-0 advantage.
With 53 seconds left in the game, Bui sealed the win when he intercepted a clearing attempt by Malcolm and scored.
Quinnipiac will likely receive the top seed in the NCAA Tournament, which begins next week. Pecknold said that the top seeding will not affect the way his team prepares.
“I’ve watched Minnesota a lot on television this year,” Pecknold said. “And to me, they’re the best team in the country. We might have the best record, but that team’s got a wagon. We’re not going to do anything differently than we’ve done all year long, it’s worked for us.”