HAMDEN, CT — The No. 7 seed Quinnipiac Bobcats escaped with a 2-1 victory over the No. 10 Dartmouth Big Green in game 3 of ECAC opening round action Sunday night to advance to the quarterfinal round.
After winning 3-2 Friday evening and losing 6-3 last night, Quinnipiac took the series, with Dan Clarke holding Dartmouth to one goal on 26 shots.
“We’re excited to move on,” said Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold. “Our guys were gritty and Clarke was good and we prepared better. I thought he was excellent and was confident. He was our best player tonight.”
The victory was also Pecknold’s 300th career victory at Quinnipiac at the helm.
The Bobcats (19-16-2) took control late in the opening stanza, scoring the first goal of the game for the first time in the series. Eric Lampe opened the scoring at 16:36. Off a faceoff in the Bobcats’ zone, Jean-Marc Beaudoin sprung Lampe for a breakaway opportunity that he buried on the glove side of James Mello, under the bar for the lead.
“It was pivotal we got the first goal and have a lead,” said Pecknold. “It was the key to the game for us.”
After the goal, Mello stayed on the ice and was attended to by the athletics trainer for Dartmouth. He was able to finish the first period, but was replaced by Jody O’Neill for the remainder of the game.
“He pulled something,” said Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet. “He heard something pop when he pushed off and played on adrenaline. Between periods he wanted to play.”
Quinnipiac responded with a goal less than two minutes into the second period when Ben Ketchum scored his first collegiate goal. Ketchum broke free into the slot, uncovered, off a pass through the right circle from Russell Goodman. Ketchum took the pass and flipped it past the blocker of O’Neill at 1:57.
Having been stopped on its first 19 shots, Dartmouth (10-19-3) finally broke through at 6:03 of the third. The Bobcats were called for icing and called timeout to rest their legs; but also rested the Dartmouth players. On the ensuing faceoff, Scott Fleming won the draw back to Joe Stejskal, who blasted the shot through traffic and beat Clarke through the five-hole at 13:57.
“We generated some good chances and their goalie played well,” said Gaudet. “We really competed hard and we have nothing to be ashamed of. I’m proud of my guys.”
Mello made seven saves in the non-decision before leaving and O’Neill made 20 in the loss.
Quinnipiac will travel to take on No. 3 Union in the quarterfinal round of the ECAC Hockey playoffs next weekend in a three-game set.