WEST POINT, N.Y. — Scott Hamilton made 41 saves and K.C. Finnegan made him a winner when he scored with just 8.6 seconds left in overtime, handing Army a 2-1 victory over Quinnipiac in a MAAC contest at Tate Rink Tuesday night.
Hamilton, fighting the worst slump of his career entering the game, made 18 of his stops in the third period and overtime. The junior netminder had been pulled from three of his last four starts, during which time he had a .786 save percentage.
After sitting out the Black Knights’ most recent game at American International, Hamilton returned to the crease against the MAAC’s most potent offense and recorded his highest save total since a 50-save performance at Nebraska-Omaha in his first collegiate start as a freshman.
Defenseman Joe Dudek put the winning goal in motion when he jumped on a loose puck between the circles in front of Braves goalie Justin Eddy. Eddy made the initial save, but Finnegan chopped in the rebound with just 8.6 ticks left.
It was Army’s first overtime victory since a 5-4 sudden-death decision over SUNY Brockport on Jan. 15, 1999. No player on Army’s roster had ever scored an overtime goal.
Army’s Tim Fisher broke a scoreless struggle 8:14 into the second period. Forechecking on a power play, Fisher broke up a clearing attempt by Eddy and scored from a tough angle to the right of the goal.
The lead lasted until 7:55 of the third period, when Chad Poliquin tied it on a power play, redirecting Anthony DiPalma’s shot from the point.
Despite the low scoring total, the game featured 80 shots on goal, 42 by the Braves. Eddy made 36 saves in the Quinnipiac net. Army was 1-of-6 on the power play, Quinnipiac 1-of-5.
With the two points Army (7-13-1, 6-10-0 MAAC) leapfrogged three teams in the MAAC standings, moving from 10th place into seventh. Quinnipiac, which began the day in third place, fell to 12-7-3, 9-4-1.
Army returns to action on Friday night at home against Canisius, while Quinnipiac hosts AIC on Friday.