Quinnipiac advances to Frozen Four, defeats UMass Lowell 4-1

Above are some postgame sights and sounds from Quinnipiac’s victory. 

 

By: Victoria Rutigliano

Sunscreen and hockey sticks are what the Quinnipiac men’s hockey team will be packing for its second trip to the Frozen Four in team history. The Bobcats will head to Tampa Bay, Fla after ousting the University of Massachusetts-Lowell 4-1 in the East Regional final.

“This is what you play for. You play for the thirty guys in the room. You play for the coaching staff. You play for the fans. When everyone buys in to play for each other, that plays for a dangerous team,” Tim Clifton said.

The Bobcats (31-3-7, 16-1-5 ECAC) proved how dangerous they were throughout the game, outshooting the River Hawks (25-9-5, 12-6-4 Hockey East) by a strong margin of 35-15 throughout the contest, netting three goals in the second period.

All eyes were on the Bobcats leading goal-scorer Sam Anas, who looked tentative on the ice and left the ice during warm-ups well before his teammates did.

“It was kind of a stressful weekend but in the end it is playoff hockey,” Anas said. “The chance to go to Tampa makes it the best time of year. I don’t think there was any way I was going to not let myself play.”

While it might have been stressful for him, the team leading goal-scorer did not disappoint. Anas scored the game-winning goal one minute and 38 seconds after line mate Landon Smith notched a goal midway through the second period.

“Sam does what Sam always does, leaves everything out on the ice,” Clifton said. “He plays his best every time he steps on the ice and you saw it, he is a dangerous player. That was smooth and beautiful.”

The drive to the net didn’t end there. Scott Davidson scored his fourth goal in five games netting a shot over Boyle’s shoulder to double the Bobcats lead.

Travis St. Denis sealed the victory for the Bobcats, drawing Boyle out of the net just enough to slide the puck in to what was a basically empty net.

These players were not the only ones with stellar nights. Devon Toews finished the night with a plus-four rating and was voted to the all-tournament team.

“Devon Toews is the best defenseman in our league,” head coach Rand Pecknold said. “I think he’s an All-American. He’s been one of our best players, if not our best player the second half of the year. He’s a great two-way hockey, and he’s really emerged as a leader for us.

Quinnipiac’s defense proved to be too much for Lowell’s forwards. In the second period in particular, the River Hawks were only able to take a mere four shots on net.

“I think part of it was we overlooked some decent opportunities. They (Quinnipiac) did a great job of getting in our shooting lanes and we just didn’t do a good enough job getting the puck to the net,” River Hawk senior captain A.J. White said.

Michael Garteig allowed just one goal over the weekend and three in the past four games. He earned the East Regionals most outstanding player from the weekend for his strength in net. The net-minder saved three different breakaway attempts this weekend, including one tonight from Dylan Zink which, had the River Hawks scored, could have turned the tides of the game tremendously.

“I thought it was one of the keys of the game,” Pecknold said. “We weren’t perfect tonight, but we were really good, and Garteig was there to bail us out.”

The 31 wins sets a program record for most victories in a single season in team history. Although the Bobcats cheered around goaltender Garteig when the final buzzer sounded, Tim Clifton knows the celebration can only last so long.

“The first thought is really, lets get out on the ice. Hug my friends. Celebrate with the boys. I don’t want to say start getting ready but … start getting ready. Job’s not done … This isn’t the end of the show for us.”

The last time Quinnipiac advanced to the Frozen Four was in 2013, when the Bobcats took down St. Cloud State in the semi-finals 4-1, but fell to ECAC rival Yale in the championship game.

This time, the Bobcats will take on the Boston College Eagles in the first game of the Frozen Four. The puck will drop at 5 p.m. at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.

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