HAMDEN, Conn. — On Saturday night, Quinnipiac completed the sweep of the Brown Bears in the opening round of the ECAC playoffs by a score of 4-0. It is just the second time in ECAC history that a team was shutout in a series. The last time was 2009, when Brown shutout Harvard.
“It wasn’t a lack for effort tonight,” said Brown coach Brendan Whittet. “What this services us with is a motivation from our guys and our coaches to get better.”
Despite pitching a shutout in game one, QU coach Rand Pecknold replaced Dan Clarke with Eric Hartzell for game two. Hartzell made 26 saves in his shutout while Brown’s Michael Clemente and Anthony Borelli combined for 28 saves
“All three goalies are great buddies,” Hartzell said. “It doesn’t matter who plays, we always have a good time and we always compete on the ice. It is even better when someone plays well on the ice, because it kind of kicks you in the butt and makes you work harder.”
Quinnipiac had the first scoring opportunity of the game after Brown’s Mark Hourihan was sent to the box for tripping. On the power play, QU’s Yuri Bouharevich wristed a shot off the cross bar. The rebound popped in the air to Clemente’s right, where Scott Zurevinski tried to grab it. He couldn’t make the catch, but deflected the puck to keep it in the air. Jeremy Langlois then knocked the puck out of mid-air and into the gaping net. The goal was immediately waved off, as it was deemed a hand pass.
The game remained scoreless after one period of play with Langlois’ disallowed goal being one of the only quality scoring chances for either team.
Quinnipiac entered the second period with 1:27 remaining on a charging call to Harry Zolnierczyk. The Bobcats set up their power play, and Zurevinski found Zach Hansen on the right post. Hansen fed the puck back to the left point, where Zach Currie ripped a shot past Clemente for his first career playoff goal.
The Bobcats extended their lead to two 1:50 later on Jeremy Langlois’ second goal of the weekend. He took a pass from Loren Barron on the left wing and cut to the net. Langlois, on the left doorstep, flipped the puck over the right shoulder of Clemente for the 2-0 lead.
Quinnipiac went up by three 10:55 into the third period on Zach Hansen’s second goal of the weekend. After a pair of penalties forced four-on-four play, Hansen gained the puck through the neutral zone on the right wing. He moved in and sent a backhander that deflected off of Clemente’s pads and over his shoulder for the goal.
After the goal, Clemente was pulled in favor of Anthony Borelli for the second straight night.
Quinnipiac went up by four following Ben Arnt’s first career playoff goal at the 14:07 mark of the third. After Brown turned it over in their zone, Cory Hibbeler found the puck on his stick in the high slot. Hibbeler tipped the puck though the slot to Arnt, who wristed it through the pads of Borelli.
Despite the loss, Whittet feels there is a lot that Brown fans can be proud of this season.
“We have come a long way as a program in the year and a half that I have been here,” said Whittet. “Losing is not fun, but when we look back at it all after it settles down, we will see that we beat BU 6-1, we’ll see that we beat Yale when they were number one in the country.”
With the win, the Bobcats advance to the second round of the ECAC finals, allowing for the all-popular playoff beards to grow even more.
“Scott Zurevinski gets a real good beard going,” said Hartzell with a smile, “but he ‘Just for Men’s’ it, so it gets it really dark.”