Men’s ice hockey tops Yale in regular season finale

Max Molski

Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey secured the top seed in the ECAC tournament and its third Cleary Cup in four years in Friday night’s 4-1 win over Brown. Yale’s 6-0 win over Princeton on Friday night also put the Bulldogs in the two seed in the conference. In other words, Saturday night’s rivalry game had no impact on the conference standings.

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That didn’t stop the top-ranked team in the nation or its fans.

Students created a line outside the TD Bank Sports Center more than five hours prior to the scheduled puck drop to see the Battle for Whitney Ave on Saturday. The fans were then treated to a victory for the home side as the No. 1 Quinnipiac Bobcats ended No. 7 Yale’s eight-game winning streak and claimed the Heroes Hat with a 4-1 win.

“When we clinched the Cleary last night, we knew we had to come out tonight and it was going to be a big-time atmosphere,” sophomore forward Tanner MacMaster said. “In the room, we were just confident with our play. We came out there and executed tonight.”

Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold also recognized the crowd’s impact in his team’s victorious weekend.

“That’s why we want the home-ice advantage,” Pecknold said. “I thought [the fans] were great tonight. I thought the crowd was excellent last night, too, in the Brown game. I thought they were a big support for us this weekend.”

Yale’s Dan O’Keefe took the air out of High Point Solutions Arena after he wristed a shot past Quinnipiac goalie Michael Garteig just 1:26 into the contest. However, the referees reviewed the call and waved off the goal.

The first valid goal of the game came with 7:43 left in the first period. Tommy Schutt took the puck behind the red line and passed it to Chase Priskie, who lodged the shot on net. Scott Davidson poked the loose puck into the net for his fifth goal of his freshman season to give Quinnipiac the 1-0 lead.

Yale pulled even with 11:51 left in the second period. Freshman Ted Hart looped around from behind the net and delivered a pass across the crease to freshman Chris Izmirlian, who knocked the puck in past Garteig.

MacMaster gave Quinnipiac the lead with 5:08 left in the period. Thomas Aldworth sent a pass to Bo Pieper from the red line. Pieper fired in a shot and MacMaster slid the rebound between the legs of Alex Lyon, Yale’s All-American goaltender.

“[Pieper] shot it there, I just turned around and I saw the rebound lying out,” MacMaster said. “I jammed it and luckily it went through [Lyon’s] five-hole.”

John Hayden had a breakaway chance to tie the game up for Yale with 2:09 left in the period. Garteig reached out with his glove and preserved the Quinnipiac lead that held going into the final period.

Garteig, who made 26 saves on the night, said that he raises his play when Lyon is in the opposing net.

“I don’t think I have ever lost to Alex Lyon,” Garteig said. “I’m not saying I’m so far and beyond him as a goalie, but I think me and him have a really good goalie battle going with each other. I really enjoy playing against him because it makes me a lot better.”

Yale hung around to the middle of the third period. Quinnipiac was unable to score on a five-minute power play that followed Mike Doherty’s game misconduct during the middle of the final period. However, with 6:27 left in the game, Bobcat freshman Luke Shiplo scored for the second straight night. He aimed a wrist shot towards the right side of the net and fired it past Lyon to give Quinnipiac a 3-1 lead.

Yale pulled Lyon with fewer than three minutes to go in the game down two goals. Tim Clifton put the final dagger in the Bulldogs with 1:22 left as he delivered an empty-net goal to bring the final to 4-1.

“I thought Yale was excellent tonight. I thought this was a great college hockey game, great atmosphere,” Pecknold said. “We feel fortunate to win and win the Heroes Hat.”

The Bobcats return to the ice in two weeks when they host an ECAC Quarterfinal series against an opponent to be determined. Garteig said that the team’s regular season finale will be create momentum heading into postseason play.

“We’re going to take [the win] as a confidence booster and build off that,” Garteig said. “Like I said, we’re going to rattle off some wins here and it’s going to be fun.”

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