ITHACA, N.Y. — Junior forward Ben Nelson scored a power-play goal with 4:21 remaining that proved to be the difference as Quinnipiac captured a 3-2 win over Cornell on Saturday night.
With the win, the Bobcats capped a series sweep and move on to the ECACHL tournament semifinals, where they will face St. Lawrence on Friday night at the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y. The victory also allowed the Bobcats to reach the 20-win plateau for the eighth time in the past nine seasons.
Quinnipiac improved to 20-13-5 overall on the season, while Cornell concluded its season at 14-13-4.
The Bobcats will now play St. Lawrence, the No. 1 seed, on Friday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. The championship game is on Saturday at 8 p.m., with the consolation at 4:30 p.m.
The game was tied at 2 late in the third period when Quinnipiac went on a five-minute power play after a Cornell major penalty.
The Bobcats cashed in during the closing seconds of that man-advantage when Reid Cashman found Nelson at the side of the cage. Nelson’s first shot was stopped, but his second effort found the back of the net. The goal was Nelson’s 50th career marker.
From there, goalie Bud Fisher held down the fort. He finished with 19 stops and turned away all seven Cornell shots in the final frame.
The Bobcats struck first only 23 seconds into the contest. Quinnipiac worked the puck deep into the Cornell end, and it paid off when David Marshall tucked home a shot inside the left post from the side of the cage. Eric Lampe assisted on the goal.
Cornell responded by scoring twice in 2:22 late in the opening frame. Evan Barlow tied the score at 14:34 before Colin Greening put the hosts ahead with a power play score at 16:56.
Quinnipiac scored the only goal of the second period. The Bobcats caught the Big Red deep inside the offensive zone and broke out on an odd-man rush the other way. Greg Holt carried the puck along the left-wing boards and flipped a pass to Brandon Wong, who knocked in his 26th goal of the year. Reid Cashman was also credited with an assist on the score.