HAMDEN, Conn. — Quinnipiac, winner of five of seven Q-Cup tournaments and the last three in a row, came from behind Friday night to get a shot at a sixth title.
Ty Deinema provided a dramatic ending to a long night at the Northford Ice Pavilion, scoring the game winning goal 1:25 into overtime to lift Quinnipiac past American International, 3-2, in the semifinals of the Quinnipiac Cup.
Quinnipiac jumped in front early. In the first period, Yellow Jacket Troy Johnston was called for holding. That produced a power play for the Bobcats, who capitalized.
The Bobcats set up in the Yellow Jacket zone as Dustin Hughes skated along the far boards, leaving the puck for Reid Cashman. Cashman took little time to find 6-foot-4 Matt Froehlich open in front of the net, and Froehlich one-timed the puck past AIC goaltender Frank Novello for a 1-0 lead.
American International came back in the second off of a faceoff in the Bobcats zone. Yellow Jacket Andy Walbert took the draw and immediately wristed a shot top-shelf, beating Quinnipiac goaltender Justin Eddy on his glove side to tie the game.
The Yellow Jackets only had 13 shots all night, compared to Quinnipiac’s 42, but the ‘Jackets managed to take the lead at the 16:59 mark. Guillaume Caron skated back behind the Bobcat net, passed the puck to a wide-open Jeremy Leroux in the slot, and AIC took the 2-1 lead into the second intermission.
It took just 4:19 for the Bobcats to tie the score. On the power play, Dustin Hughes looped around the top of the left circle, and put the puck toward the net where Matt Froehlich tipped the shot between the pads of Novello for his second goal of the night.
The game stayed tied at two despite numerous chances for Quinnipiac, which included 17 shots in the third period.
In overtime, the Bobcats pounced while American International never managed a shot. The winning goal came on a play from behind the net as Quinnipiac’s John Kelly created space for Craig Falite to work his way to the back wall, where his pass out front found Deinema. Deinema fired the shot past Novello and embraced his teammates as the Bobcats escaped with a 3-2 win.
“John Kelly made a nice hit, he cycled it back down to Falite, and he just heard me yell, I guess, and made a beautiful pass out in front. I was lucky enough to put it in the net.” said Deinema.
“I just think right now we’re a little flat, we have to realize what we do well and we have some kids that compete hard, and when they don’t compete they aren’t very good players,” said Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold.
Quinnipiac advances to the Q-Cup final versus Air Force on Saturday night at 7 p.m. AIC will play Bentley in the consolation game at 4.