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College Hockey:
Quinnipiac tops Clarkson in rubber match, advances to ECAC semifinals

— On Sunday afternoon, Quinnipiac defeated Clarkson 2-0 in game 3 of the ECAC quarterfinals to advance to the conference semifinals against Cornell.

Quinnipiac coach Rick Seeley was beaming after the game.

“There was just so much pride in the way the team played,” Seeley said. “It was every shift and every second, third, and fourth opportunity and they just played from the beginning like they were the better team.”

Victoria Vigilanti turned away 23 shots for her second career playoff shutout.

Erica Howe stopped 19 at the other end for Clarkson.

“I have to give a lot of credit to my defensemen for blocking shots and clearing away any second-chance opportunities,” Vigilanti said.

The Bobcats jumped out to the 1-0 lead 11:19 into the second period on a power-play goal from Nicole Kosta. Kelly Babstock fed Kosta on the far side and Kosta faked the shot and then ripped a backhander that beat Howe on the short side.

“I don’t think we got off to the start we wanted to tonight,” Clarkson co-head coach Matt Desrosiers said. “We had the momentum going into the game with the win last night and I don’t think we took advantage of it like we should have.”

Just under four minutes later, Quinnipiac extended its lead to 2-0. Bethany Dymarczyk flipped the puck through the neutral zone and connected with Brittany Lyons, who gained the line on the near side and sent a soft wrister on net. The puck sneaked under Howe’s right arm and into the back of the net.

“I was just looking to get a nice rebound on the far side for [Chelsea Illchuk], but instead it just went in,” Lyons said.

Later in the second period, the Bobcats had a chance to go up three. Once again on the power play, the Bobcats worked the puck down low. Howe made a save on the far side and couldn’t move back to the right. Uden Johansson grabbed the loose puck and tried to bury it into the open net, but Clarkson’s Danielle Boudreau jumped in front of the gaping net and blocked away the puck.

Clarkson entered the third period with 90 seconds of man-advantage time. Quinnipiac killed off the penalty and shut down all six of the Golden Knights’ power plays.

With three minutes left in regulation and down two goals, the Golden Knights pulled Howe for the extra attacker.

The win marks the second straight season where Quinnipiac went on the road for the first round, only to move on to the semifinals.

“I thought this was the first time all season that we put it all together for the full 60 minutes,” Seeley said.

Quinnipiac now heads to Cornell for the semifinals starting next weekend.

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