Providence downs Quinnipiac in East Regional

Nick Solari

2014 was supposed to be a year of revenge for the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team.

After being beaten by crosstown rival Yale 4-0 in the national championship game last season, the Bobcats entered Friday night’s NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey East Regional looking to exhaust any ghosts that still existed from a year prior.

But things just didn’t happen that way. Providence goalie Jon Gillies turned in his fourth shutout of the year, and Quinnipiac was knocked out of the NCAA Tournament Friday night by the final score of 4-0 at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn.

“We were just sluggish,” Quinnipiac Head Coach Rand Pecknold said. “Our legs weren’t great, our energy wasn’t great. We’ve got to find a way to weather the storm better.”

Gillies had 37 saves on the night. It was the first time all season long Quinnipiac was shut out.

“He was really good tonight, and we weren’t,” Pecknold said.

Quinnipiac concludes its season by losing its last two games. The Bobcats dropped last weekend’s ECAC Hockey semifinal matchup against Colgate before seeing their season end tonight.

“It’s a bigger stage, different rink, little bit different atmosphere, and we just didn’t come out and adapt the way we needed to,” Quinnipiac captain Cory Hibbeler said.

Providence scored only 3:37 into the first period to get things going. Connor MacPhee crossed the puck over to Mark Jankowski, who put it in from the doorstep to make it 1-0. It was Jankowski’s 13th goal of the season.

The Friars almost scored again with 12:17 left in the period. Brandon Tanev intercepted a Quinnipiac pass and had a breakaway attempt at net, but Quinnipiac goalie Michael Garteig made a save with his right pad. Tanev hammered at the rebound, but Garteig was able to keep the door closed.

The Bobcats best chance in the period came with under a minute remaining, when Sam Anas blasted one off the crossbar.

Providence would score three times in the second period, putting things out of reach for last year’s national championship runner-up.

“You play on this big stage, and sometimes kids make mistakes. We paid for it in the second,” Pecknold said.

Anthony Florentino shot from the point through traffic and past Garteig for his fifth goal of the year with 14:30 left in second period, making it 2-0 Providence.

“I go out and try and block the shot, and I end up screening Garteig and it goes in,” Hibbeler said. “If I eat that puck it could be a completely different game.”

The Friars scored again with 11:54 left in the second, as Shane Luke put in a rebound to make it 3-0. Trevor Mingoia made it 4-0 with a goal of his own with 5:41 left in the second.

The Bobcats will graduate six seniors in total: Kellen Jones, Connor Jones, Jordan Samuels-Thomas, Hibbeler, Zach Tolkinen and Brooks Robinson.

Providence moves on to play Union College tomorrow with a Frozen Four appearance on the line.