NORTHFORD, Conn. — Snow may have stopped the originally scheduled game back in December between Canisius and Quinnipiac, but tonight nothing could stop Quinnipiac’s Ryan Morton. Morton exploded for three goals against Canisius as the Bobcats picked up the 3-2 win and extended the Quinnipiac home record to a perfect 9-0 this season.
In the opening session, after over 15 scoreless minutes Canisius jumped out to a 1-0 lead at the 15:17 mark. Canisius freshman Michael Cohen broke up the play from behind the Bobcat net and fed the puck out in front to Daryl Pierce. Pierce quickly shuffled the puck to Rob Martin who was open in the top of the slot. The puck was bouncing when Martin swatted the puck in the back of the net past Jamie Holden to give the Griffs a 1-0 lead.
The first period ended with no penalties, but plenty of pent-up emotion was displayed between the two teams, since last meeting back in mid-January. In the second period, the Bobcats battled back to tie the game at 1-1 when Ryan Morton picked up a power-play goal just 1:57 into the period. The play developed as Matt Froehlich took the puck along the far sideboards and fed it down into the corner to forward Matt Craig. Craig saw Morton wide open on the doorstep as Craig threaded the needle through traffic to Morton who put the puck in the wide open net and past Canisius goalie Bryan Worosz to even the score.
Quinnipiac and Ryan Morton would strike again just under five minutes later at the 6:37 mark. Dan Rossi controlled the puck at the blue line along the left-hand side of the ice and then riffled a shot that was tipped in front by Morton and through the pads of Worosz to give the Bobcats the 2-1 advantage.
Before the end of the period the Golden Griffs would get back in the game with the man-advantage. A penalty to Quinnipiac’s Joe Dumais for hooking allowed the Ice Griff power play to go to work. The Griffs cycled the puck down low and then along the near sideboards and back to the point for Ryan Corcoran. Corcoran found Joey Coccimiglio wide open on the far side of the crease. When the pass reached Coccimiglio he one-timed the puck past Holden who had little time to react. The goal pulled the Griffs even with the Bobcats at 2-2 heading into the third period.
“We had a few opportunities, on the other end and we didn’t capitalize and a lot of the time that can be a difference maker in a close game,” said Canisius head coach Brian Cavanaugh.
Quinnipiac who was unbeaten in its last 14 home games used the privilege of playing at the Northford Ice Pavillion to pull away from Canisius. The Bobcats went to 9-0 with Ryan Morton and his hat-trick goal with 15:00 left in the game.
“We were resilient to come up with the victory and it was a good third period at 2-2 and then get the goal and then hang on like we did,” said Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold.
Quinnipiac defenseman Reid Cashman seized an offensive opportunity as he skated in and got a shot off in tight on Worosz. The rebound kicked loose and Cashman pushed the puck toward the net and eventually ended up on the far side of the crease for the hungry Ryan Morton. Morton who at first failed to corral the puck, but eventually regained control to sneak it inside the far side post before Worosz came across the cage. Morton’s third goal of the night lifted Quinnipiac to the 3-2 win.
“Once I get my confidence I feel like it is hard to contain me, and the last six games its been going well, and I feel good. My legs felt good out there and it felt good tonight,” said Morton.
With the three-goal performance Morton moved up into a tie for the team lead in goals with Chris White — each have 10.
“It is always nice when you get a hat trick and even bigger when you score all three of the three you score in the game and you win 3-2. I was happy for him and we need to get him going if were going to have a good run in the playoffs,” said Pecknold.
The Bobcats had stingy defense in the closing minutes and were led by Jamie Holden’s 28 saves to preserve the victory. The Griffs Bryan Worosz made 27 saves in the loss.
Quinnipiac will play the second game in less than 24 hours as they clash against American International tomorrow at 3:00pm. Canisius will also travel north for a contest against Holy Cross at 1:30pm.