NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — Quinnipiac earned an historic victory Saturday night, as Matt Craig scored two goals, the second the game-winner, as the Bobcats beat Merrimack 3-2 to record Atlantic Hockey’s first-ever win over a Hockey East opponent.
Coming into Saturday, Hockey East had been 40-0-5 against the AHA, including its formative years as the Metro Atlantic conference’s hockey league. Quinnipiac was 0-6 against Hockey East schools, and Merrimack was 6-0 against AHA/MAAC teams until Saturday.
Jamie Holden stopped 29 shots for Quinnipiac, which got Craig’s winner at 12:04 of the third period to break a 2-2 deadlock.
The Bobcats, who never trailed, went up 1-0 with just 32 seconds left in the first. Craig converted Chris White’s pass with a one-timer that beat Merrimack netminder Jim Healey (22 saves).
Tim Reidy’s fifth goal of the season, a rebound putaway of Ryan Sullivan’s initial shot at 8:56 of the second period, evened the score for the Warriors, but Quinnipiac tallied again at 12:43 while skating 5-on-3.
Healey stopped Craig’s initial shot from the point, but White banged the rebound into the net to make it 2-1 Quinnipiac.
Merrimack’s Marco Rosa tied it up once more at 5:04 of the third, also on the power play. The puck went from Bryan Schmidt to Brent Gough, and Gough hit Rosa in front of Holden for the score.
That set up Craig’s game-winner seven minutes later, with his second goal of the night coming off his own rebound.