Power outage for men’s hockey

Doug Manners

HAMILTON, N.Y. – The power play that carried the Quinnipiac men’s hockey team throughout the ECAC playoffs was blanked in a must-win situation.

The Bobcats couldn’t convert on any of their seven power play opportunities and dropped a 4-0 decision to Colgate at Starr Rink in game three of the best-of-three ECAC quarterfinals series on March 12. The loss marked the end of Quinnipiac’s inaugural season in the ECAC.

Quinnipiac had gone 6-for-21 (28.6 percent) on the power play in its first four playoff games. All three of the Bobcats’ goals in game two’s 5-3 loss – which forced a decisive game three – came on the man advantage.

But the Bobcats squandered three first-period man advantages in game three while the game was still scoreless.

“Playing three (games) in three nights, our guys were gassed,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “We struggled on the power play with just getting pucks to the net.”

Quinnipiac’s best scoring opportunity came on its second power play, when Ben Nelson’s shot from the slot ricocheted off Colgate goalie Mark Dekanich’s mask.

Then, on the ensuing power play, Matt Sorteberg’s shot with 1:15 left in the first period rang off the crossbar.

Less than a minute later, Colgate captain Jon Smyth knocked a centering feed from along the right boards past Quinnipiac goalie Bud Fisher (22 saves) to give the Raiders a 1-0 lead with 27 seconds left in the period.

“I think if we had scored early, it might have been a different game,” Pecknold said. “We had a lot of chances and sometimes they just don’t go in the net.”

The Bobcats squandered another opportunity on the power play to start the second period and then quickly gave up another goal to fall behind 2-0.

Fisher made the initial save on a 2-on-1 breakaway, but was out of position for the rebound, leaving an empty net which Tyler Burton took advantage of. He scooped the puck up behind the net and wrapped it around the left post at 3:07.

Dekanich (30 saves) made 14 saves in the third period for Colgate, which scored two goals on seven shots to put the game out of reach.

Peter Bogdanich scored on a breakaway at 8:28 and Kyle Wilson added another goal with just over three minutes remaining.

A win would’ve sent the Bobcats to the ECAC semifinals the following weekend in Albany, N.Y., where Quinnipiac would’ve played top-seeded Dartmouth for the right to advance to the championship game.

“I think in the end we’re all disappointed,” senior captain Ty Deinema said. “We wish we had moved on to bigger and better things, but it had to end sometime. Looking back at it, though, we made some great things happen and this is just the start of the future.”

NOTES: This was the third straight year Colgate has advanced to the semifinals in Albany. In all three seasons, the Raiders lost game one of the quarterfinals before coming back to win the next two games. The Bobcats won game one of this series, 3-0.Quinnipiac and Yale upset higher-seeded teams in the first round of the playoffs, but there were no upsets in the quarterfinals. The top four teams – Dartmouth, Colgate, Cornell and Harvard – all moved on to the semifinals.