HAMDEN, Conn. — On Sunday night, Quinnipiac defeated Brown, 4-2, in game three of the first round of the ECAC playoffs. It was a different story for the Bobcats Sunday, as scoring came from three different players, opposed to just their top line.
“We needed that,” Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said, regarding the balanced offensive attack. “We had 11 straight goals that [Matthew] Peca’s line was involved in. You can’t win without secondary scoring.”
Eric Hartzell stopped 35 shots for the win, while Matt Clemente made 29 saves.
For the second straight night, Quinnipiac jumped off to the early lead. Brown’s Jarred Smith went to the box one minute into the game. Just 16 seconds into the power play, Matthew Peca fed Kellen Jones just above the right circle. The Brown defense gave Jones room, so he stepped up and buried the shot glove side.
“It was kind of a scrum in front of the net,” Jones said. “And [Reid Cashman] is always telling me to shoot the puck, so I kind of just let it go for once.”
The Bobcats made it 2-0 just under halfway through the period. Mike Dalhuisen connected with Bryce Van Brabant at the edge of the Brown zone. Van Brabant carried the puck to the right circle and shuffled it to Kevin Bui, who picked his spot, and his wrist shot beat Clemente low stick side.
“I thought we actually got outplayed in the first period,” Pecknold said. “As we scored those two goals, I think we kind of went into a lull. I think we might have thought it was going to be easier than it is, but Brown kept coming.”
Early in the second period, Brown came within inches of cutting into the Bobcats’ lead. Ryan Jacobson took the puck at the left circle. With time and space in front of the net, he rifled the puck off the left post.
Quinnipiac added to its lead with 3:25 left in the middle frame on a two-on-none breakout. After a turnover just inside the Bobcats’ end, Spencer Heichman and Clay Harvey were off to the races. Heichman stepped over the line with Harvey on his left. Heichman fed Harvey, who one-timed the puck past Clemente’s diving attempt.
“I heard my bench telling me that I was in,” Heichman said. “I thought it was going to be a two-on-one, but then I looked over and Harvey was right next to me.”
“I thought it was a two-on-one too at first,” Harvey said. “I couldn’t believe there was no defender in the way, but it was a nice break for us.”
Brown flew out of the gates in the third period, scoring twice within the first four minutes.
Brown got on the board 2:34 into the period on a power-play goal from Bobby Farnham. After Kellen Jones was called for holding the stick, Jeff Buvinow took the shot from the high slot. As the puck moved through the slot, Farnham tipped it past Hartzell’s glove.
Just over a minute later, Brown cut the lead to one on another tipped shot from the point. Once again, Buvinow’s laser from the point redirected past Hartzell. This time, Matt Harlow parked himself in front of the net and tipped it to almost exactly the same spot.
“Give our guys credit; they came back and scored two quick ones and we had some chances, but it wasn’t meant to be,” Brown coach Brendan Whittet said. “It wasn’t for a lack of effort; I’m very proud of our guys.”
With 4:02 left in regulation, Quinnipiac’s Mike Glaicar took a holding penalty to put Brown on the advantage, but with 52 seconds left in the advantage and 2:53 left in the third, a too-many-men penalty evened things out. Yuri Bouharevich sealed the win with an empty-netter with 15.3 seconds left on the clock.
With the win, Quinnipiac will travel to Colgate next weekend for round two.