Playoff hockey is all about hot goaltending and staying out of the penalty box. Last night at the TD Bank Sports Center, Quinnipiac had the hot goalie and bit the Dartmouth Big Green when they were in the box.
Quinnipiac took the first game in a best-of-three series against Dartmouth, 3-2, led by senior captain Jean-Marc Beaudoin’s third straight three-point game. Beaudoin and Eric Lampe tallied their 100th career points on Beaudoin’s power-play goal in the third period to give the Bobcats a 3-1 lead and an insurance goal.
Brandon Wong tied the game at 1 with a man advantage in the second period, and then Lampe gave the Bobcats the lead on a dish from Beaudoin.
Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said his team had a lot to improve on – aside from converting on power plays – but the win was all his team needed to put Dartmouth in a hole.
“In a short series, it’s not everything, but it’s a lot,” said Pecknold, who looks to earn his 300th career victory on Saturday at 7 p.m. “It’s tough to come back and win two. We’re excited to have one under our belt, but certainly, I think we’re going to have to play a lot better tomorrow night.”
Freshman Dustin Walsh notched his first goal since netting two at home against Quinnipiac on Jan. 29 to put Dartmouth out in front just over a minute into the second period. Soon after, the freshman saw two sophomore teammates dwelling in the penalty box to open the door for Quinnipiac.
The first penalty from either team came 1:50 after Walsh’s goal when Connor Goggin was called for slashing. Teammate Doug Jones joined him in the box 51 seconds later on a tripping penalty. One second before Dartmouth killed the 5-on-3, Quinnipiac forward Brandon Wong delivered the equalizer in the upper-right corner past a helpless James Mello.
“The five-on-three really hurt us in the [second] there,” Dartmouth head coach Bob Gaudet said. “It’s almost an automatic goal.”
Quinnipiac took a 2-1 lead 5:31 into the final period on an even-strength goal from senior Eric Lampe. Senior captain Jean-Marc Beaudoin skated with the puck toward Mello after receiving a pass across the offensive zone from fellow senior Scott Zurevinski, but dished it to Lampe to give him an open look at the net.
Four minutes later, Beaudoin and Lampe switched roles, this time on a power play, and both earned their 100th career points to take the 3-1 lead. Lampe handled a pass from Wong and gave Beaudoin the easy finish.
Quinnipiac didn’t have any men in the penalty box until Clay Harvey was called for high sticking six minutes into the third period. But Dartmouth never got into a good rhythm offensively and the two-minute advantage quickly expired.
The Big Green seized its second opportunity on the power play, as Gaudet opted to pull Mello from net with 2:30 remaining to take a 6-on-4 advantage.
Junior Scott Fleming added to his team-lead in goals (21) to bring Dartmouth back to a one-goal deficit with 1:19 left. Junior Adam Estoclet passed the puck to junior Matt Reber, who set up Fleming on a pass across the crease to beat sophomore netminder Dan Clarke.
The move paid off, but Dartmouth never had a chance to send it into overtime.
“I think Clarke and our power play stole the game tonight,” Pecknold said. “Our power play goes 2-for-3, and Clarke made some big saves when he needed to.”
Fleming had a chance to give Dartmouth the lead late in the second period when he had a one-on-one with Clarke, but he came up with the save on a hard wrist shot glove side. Clarke finished the game with 23 saves, nine coming in the third period.
A Quinnipiac victory on Saturday will earn the Bobcats a spot in the quarterfinals.
Photo credit: Charlotte Greene