HAMDEN, Conn. — Two late period goals were all the No. 5 seed Quinnipiac Bobcats would need in a 3-1 win over the No. 12 seed Union College Dutchmen Friday night in game one of the ECACHL first round playoff series.
The play was even for both teams through out the game, but it was the Bobcats who would score first.
The Bobcats tallied a power play marker with just 24 seconds remaining in the first period. On the blueline Matt Sorteberg fed across to Reid Cashman. Cashman controlled the puck and Ben Nelson made a move to free himself, received the pass from Cashman and into the back of the net or the lead.
“We struggled a little bit in the first from a defensive standpoint,” said Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold. “I think Union out chanced us in the first.”
Union’s best scoring opportunity in the second period came on a five-on-three power play that the Bobcats were able to kill off.
“The chances were even, but they capitalized more,” said Union forward T.J. Fox. “We need to get pucks to the net and finish our chances.”
The Dutchmen threw the puck at the net on the two man advantage, where Bud Fisher made the save, but could not control the rebound. A Quinnipiac player sprawled out on the ice as the Union players looked for the loose puck, but the whistle blew with the puck underneath the defender.
“Our penalty kill guys are warriors,” said Quinnipiac forward Bryan Leitch.
The Bobcats extended their lead to two goals with another goal in the final seconds of the second period. Deep in the Union zone, David Marshall picked off a failed clear attempt tipped it over to Eric Lampe. Lampe made a move to free himself from the defender and went short side past Mrazek’s stick side with 16 seconds remaining in the second.
“They are two big goals and momentum boosters,” said Union head coach Nate Leaman.
The Bobcat’s would extend their lead on Leitch’s power play goal. Greg Holt would pass over Dan Henningson, where he would shoot on net. Leitch on the doorstep would bang home the rebound that laid in the crease for the three goal lead.
With just under three minutes remaining and on the power play the Dutchmen would call a timeout to take advantage of the extra man. The timeout worked and Olivier Bouchard would cut the deficit to two goals. Bouchard banged home a rebound shot by Fox for the goal at 17:18
“We really need to battle hard in front of the net,” said Bouchard.
The Dutchmen would pull Mrazek in favor of the extra attacker with 2:42 remaining the game, but the Bobcats would not capitalize on the open net.
Fisher would make 25 saves in the winning effort, while Mrazek would make 30 in the defeat.
The Bobcats now hold a 1-0 series lead heading into game two tomorrow night in Hamden, Conn.
“You always want to win the first game,” said Pecknold. “It was a big game for us being at home.”