Men’s ice hockey downs Clarkson

Max Molski

Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey clinched a first-round bye in the ECAC Hockey Tournament with its 4-1 victory over the Clarkson Golden Knights on Saturday night at the TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden.

“It was kind of a unique game in the way we played all three periods,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “But in the end, we will take our two points and run.”

Clarkson got on the board first in the middle of the opening period. Janick Asselin snuck the puck past Michael Garteig with an extra attacker on a looming tripping penalty to give Clarkson a 1-0 advantage. Both Jordan Boucher and Jeff DiNallo assisted Asselin on the goal.

Like last night’s win over St. Lawrence, Garteig was perfect after surrendering a first-period score. The junior went on to make the next 20 saves that he faced.

“[Garteig] kept us in there and made some saves,” Pecknold said.

Travis St. Denis scored for Quinnipiac with just over five minutes left in the period. Quinnipiac won the faceoff following a cross-checking penalty on Clarkson’s Paul Geiger. The puck went from Landon Smith to Sam Anas, who found St. Denis for the equalizer.

Despite going into the first intermission knotted at 1, Pecknold admitted that he was frustrated with the team’s first period play.

“I don’t get mad often at my guys, but I am not going to lie, I was furious with our first period effort,” Pecknold said.

Quinnipiac took the lead seven minutes into the second period. Alex Barron and Matthew Peca assisted Landon Smith for his second goal in as many days to give the Bobcats a 2-1 lead. The goal came in 4-on-4 play following a holding penalty on Dinallo and slashing penalty on Justin Agosto.

“It was a tough first period for us,” St. Denis said,” but we kind of hit the reset button and in the last 40 [minutes] I thought we played a great game.”

Kevin McKernan then scored his first goal of the season to give Quinnipiac a 3-1 advantage. K.J. Tiefenwerth and Joe Fiala assisted McKernan in the crowded offensive zone to make it the second-straight game where Quinnipiac outscored its opponents 2-0 in the second period.

St. Denis and Derek Smith assisted Andrew Taverner on the final Quinnipiac goal with just over three minutes left in the game.

“As a team, we try to buy into being a consistent team. That is what you have to do heading into the playoffs,” St. Denis said.

Quinnipiac now leads the ECAC with 31 points and a 15-2-1 conference record. The Bobcats take the ice next against rival Yale at the High Point Solutions Arena on Friday night.

However, Pecknold isn’t looking ahead to that game just yet.

“At this point, I am not even worried about that. We got through the weekend, we are beat up, we are banged up, and we have to get healthy. We will deal with Yale on Tuesday.”

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