SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — After two hard-fought games, Quinnipiac and Union headed to the third game of the best-of-three Quarter-final series. Both teams battled hard, knowing that a bid to the Final Four in Albany was on the line. The game remained close, but behind superb goaltending by Corey Milan, Union prevailed.
After his stellar game last night, Milan was given the start again tonight. Keith Kinkaid has been Union’s primary goaltender this season, clocking close to 1,400 minutes compared to Milan’s 900. Coming into the game, however, Milan had held Quinnipiac to an average of a goal a game in the two games he has started, compiling a .962 save percentage.
“When he gets hot one night, he stays hot the next night,” said Union coach Nate Leaman when asked about starting Milan.
Early in the first period, Union’s Greg Coburn and Quinnipiac’s Greg Holt were sent to the penalty box for cross-checking. The result was a four-on-four goal for Union, who scored first for the third time this series. The goal was scored at 2:01 by Wayne Simpson, who originally brought the puck into the zone. After an initial shot and miss, Simpson was fed the puck again by Mike Schreiber and shot the puck in.
At 1:04 of the third period, Jeremy Welsh scored what would wind up being the game-winning goal. Luke Cain fired the first shot that deflected over Clarke’s head and landed right behind him between the posts. Welsh saw the puck before Clarke realized where it was and pushed it in.
“Cain found [the puck] and backhanded it in the net, and we got a lucky bounce over Clarke,” explained Welsh, when asked about the goal.
Quinnipiac battled back near the end of the period, scoring its first goal of the game at 15:31. The goal brought them within striking distance, down 2-1. Jeremy Langlois got the goal after being fed the puck in front of the net by Zack Currie.
“I thought we played hard, and to be one game away from the Final Four with 11 freshmen was outstanding,” said Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold, “We played six games in ten days, and with the five overtimes it really added on.”
With the win, the Dutchmen will be heading to the Final Four for the first time in the program’s history. The win also gives Union twenty wins on the season, the most it has had as a Division I team.
“I am happy for our school, our alumni, and our players,” said Leaman. “Coaches have to go to the championship banquet and I didn’t want to go without my team.”
When asked about the win, Milan said, “I can’t even describe the feeling right now, but our job isn’t done.”
With Brown’s upset over Yale, Union will be playing St. Lawrence at 7 p.m. on Friday at the Times Union Center in Albany, NY in the semifinals, a team Union has beaten in both meetings this season. The winner of that game will advance to the finals, which will be played that Saturday against the winner of the Cornell vs. Brown game.