College Hockey:
Peca, Hartzell lead Quinnipiac past Brown to force game three

— On Saturday evening, Quinnipiac shut out Brown 3-0 to force a game three in the first round of the ECAC playoffs.

Matthew Peca led the way offensively with a goal and two assists and has now assisted on nine straight QU goals. Tonight, his line with Connor and Kellen Jones tallied seven points.

“I think our whole line is clicking,” Peca said. “Even when [defensemen Loren] Barron and [Zack] Currie are out on the ice with us, all five of us are reading off each other well.”

The Bobcats controlled play right from the start taking an early 1-0 lead.

“We had more will power tonight,” Quinnipiac goaltender Eric Hartzell said referencing the difference in his team’s play from last night. “Our season was on the line tonight and we didn’t have a choice but to come out full power.”

Hartzell made 16 stops for the win, while Brown’s Mike Clemente turned away 39.

Just 2:11 into the first period the Bobcats took the 1-0 lead on Connor Jones’ tenth goal of the season. Kellen Jones took control of the puck on the far side of the neutral zone and fed the puck to Connor on the near side. Connor Jones entered the zone on the near side and traded the puck with Peca, who tapped the puck back to Connor Jones, who deked Clemente and put the puck five-hole.

Halfway through the period, Barron made it 2-0. Peca fed Baron at the top of the left circle. Baron threw the puck towards the net, but well wide. Clemente had the near post covered, but the puck bounced off of Joey de Concilys’s skate and into the back of the net.

“All our forwards were going, especially that first period [when] we outshot them 19-7 and we just wanted to establish ourselves,” Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said.

Quinnipiac took the 3-0 lead 6:44 into the third period on another lucky bounce. After Dennis Robertson went to the box for a cross check, the Bobcats went on the advantage. With three seconds left on the penalty, Peca skated to the left circle and tried to center the pass. The puck jumped in the air and off a Bruno’s helmet. The puck bounced off the cross bar and behind Clemente.

“They created their chances,” Brown coach Brendan Whittet said. “I told our guys that when your back is against the wall you are going to get their best effort. It was like opposite day. They looked like we did [in game one].”

A five-minute major hitting from behind call with eight minutes left in the third period stifled Brown’s offense through the final minutes.

Brown never broke double digits in shots in any period, but Pecknold still gave credit to Hartzell for the shutout.

“He was calm and under control and when he is on his game. he is really good,” said Pecknold. “As much as he played well, his defense helped him see shots.”

The puck drops at 7 p.m. Sunday night for the deciding game three.

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