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After a successful first round series sweep of Brown, Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey has moved on in the ECAC Men’s Hockey Championship and will face fourth-seeded St. Lawrence on the road in another best-of-three series.
The Bobcats are just two wins away from another trip to to ECAC Semifinals in Lake Placid, New York, but once again, it’s do or die. This week, however, the Bobcats aren’t playing a Brown team that went 4-23-2 in the regular season.
Quinnipiac hopes to keep its season alive against a recent ECAC kryptonite in the St. Lawrence Saints, who finished with an overall record of 16-11-7 and 12-6-4 in conference play. While St. Lawrence finished just one point better than Quinnipiac in the ECAC standings, the Saints earned a first-round series bye as one of the top-four teams in the conference as well as home-ice advantage for the quarterfinals.
Quinnipiac will face adversity on this playoff road trip as the last time it won a game at St. Lawrence’s Appleton Arena came on Nov. 22, 2014.
“It’s a tough rink, it’s a really good team and it’s hard to win on the road in our league,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “So, it’s a tough task. It’s a good team. They have the advantage of having the bye and getting their rest; that’s their reward for having a better regular season than we did. We dug our own hole, and now we’ve gotta find a way to get out of it.”
The Bobcats and Saints have met twice this year: once in Canton, New York and once in Belfast, Northern Ireland. While Quinnipiac hasn’t picked up a win against St. Lawrence this season — or since Feb. 13, 2015 — it was unable to register a regulation goal (Nick Jermain scored the lone shootout goal in Ireland) in either of those games.
Pecknold believes solving the problem that is Saints goalie Kyle Hayton will be difficult, but not impossible.
“Kyle Hayton is the best goalie in our league,” Pecknold said. “I thought he played really well both games, and I thought St. Lawrence played well in front of him, but we missed half-empty nets, we had chances… We just didn’t finish. Part of it was him being great and us not finishing, so we’ll find a way to score some goals this weekend.”
It’s simple; in order to see another day, Quinnipiac needs to score goals and in the Brown series, goals came early and often.
“If we start early, get a couple of early goals on Friday night, guys will get more confident,” senior assistant captain Tommy Schutt said. “Hayton is a good goalie, but if we put a couple on him early and get in his face he tends to back down a little bit, so that’s gonna be huge as well.”