Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey broke its streak of three consecutive ECAC Hockey Tournament Semifinal losses with a 3-1 win over the Dartmouth Big Green on Friday afternoon at Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, N.Y.
“It’s a good team win,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold, who was named ECAC Hockey Tim Taylor Coach of the Year earlier on Friday, said. “I think the one thing about this team is we figure out ways to win.”
The first goal of the game came with 3:07 left in the first period. Sam Anas delivered a pass to a speeding Connor Clifton at the blue line. Clifton kept up the right side before deking Dartmouth goalie Charles Grant and tucking in a backhand shot for his seventh goal of the season.
Clifton, who tacked on an assist in the second period, increased his team-leading ECAC Hockey Tournament point total to seven in the victory. He said he is not the only defenseman getting it going for the Bobcats in their postseason run.
“Recently, [us defensemen] have been contributing a lot on the backend,” Clifton said. “That’s a big part of it, but it’s a team game. We get to jump the play when the forwards are going. We’re making a special run here.”
Quinnipiac struck on the power play within the first minute of the second period. Tim Clifton delivered a pass into the stick of Anas, who knocked the puck in for his 23rd goal of the season.
“Our assistant coach, [Reid Cashman], had the great idea to go for the high tip,” Anas said. “Tim Clifton made a great play with awesome poise, fed the puck through and it just hit my stick.”
The goal, which was the 68th of his career, brought the First Team All-ECAC forward to a tie for second all-time in Quinnipiac goals at the Division I level.
“[Anas] is a special player,” Pecknold said. “Some guys just have a knack to score goals and are always in the right spot. He certainly has that knack. He’s been great.”
While Anas climbed up Quinnipiac’s all-time goal list in the second, another Bobcat added his name to the list. Freshman Craig Martin swept in a loose puck with 14:48 left in the period for his first career goal.
Connor Yau, who scored Dartmouth’s game-winning goal in its Game 1 against Yale, put Dartmouth on the board with 5:03 left in regulation to make it a 3-1 game. The Big Green pulled its goalie with three minutes left in the contest, but could not score another goal with the extra attacker.
“I wish we could have won, but we got beat by the top team in the country,” Dartmouth head coach Bob Gaudet said. “[Quinnipiac is] a good hockey team.”
Top-seeded Quinnipiac will go on to face the winner of the other ECAC Hockey Tournament Semifinal between No. 3 Harvard and No. 4 St. Lawrence. The Bobcats lost their first and only previous Tournament Championship to Clarkson in 2007.
“We’re excited to move forward,” Pecknold said. “We’ve got some injuries here. We’re beat up a little bit. We’ll go see if we can heal up quick and have a quick turnaround for tomorrow.”
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