HAMDEN, Conn. — Exhaustion and heart summarize the effort Sunday as St. Lawrence skated past Quinnipiac 2-0 to advance to the ECAC semifinals.
The Saints will travel to Cornell next week for a rematch of last season’s ECAC championship.
“It was a great series,” St. Lawrence coach Chris Wells said. “It’s what you hope to play in as a player and what you hope to be a part of as a coach. It’s just a great environment, win or lose. It’s just great for the kids to have this type of experience and it’s certainly going to be a good bus ride home.”
Carmen McDonald proved to be one the most important players for either side, posting her second shutout of the series behind a 34-save effort.
“Our girls were blocking a lot of shots,” McDonald said. “So they were blocking the shots that I couldn’t see and just like yesterday, they were clearing out the rebounds.”
Quinnipiac thought it had pulled within one goal with 3:26 left in the third period when a shot deflected off Kelly Babstock at the right of the crease. The goal was waved off on the ice and after further review, the officials ruled that the puck was kicked in.
“I think the official made a mistake,” Quinnipiac coach Rick Seeley said. “There has to be a distinct kicking motion and it went off the inside of her skate and the heel, so it must have kicked backwards, which you couldn’t see on the replay. I’ve got to give St. Lawrence credit, though. They battled and played passionate and desperate hockey.”
Despite already playing two overtime games, with game two featuring three extra frames, both coaches did not see much effect on one team.
“No more for our team than their team,” Seeley said about the effect of the first two games. “There is a bit more swinging away when you really need the battles to happen to come back from 2-0. It’s tough playing three games in three days with the first two games going to overtime.”
“Both teams are pretty well conditioned as Division I athletes,” Wells added. “The stats probably show that fatigue was a factor, but it is hard to say that fatigue was factor because we played great in the first and they played great in the second.”
St. Lawrence took an early 1-0 lead in the first period on a Brooke Fernandez power-play goal. Michelle Ng fed Fernandez at the blue line where she blasted a drive through traffic and past Victoria Vigilanti’s blocker.
“We put a lot of focus on that first period and I’m sure that Rick did, too,” Wells said. “We knew that the first goal with the way the whole season has gone against Quinnipiac would be a big goal and that gave us a lift. We hadn’t played with a lead against this team and we haven’t had a lead except for the bus ride after game one on Friday.”
The Saints extended their lead with 1:33 left in the first period. Vigilanti stepped to the top of the crease to deny another rocket from the outside, but the rebound rifled back into the slot where Kayla Sullivan ripped another shot on net. Vigilanti flashed her glove to make the save, but could not hang on as Kelly Sabatine picked up the rebound and threw it into the vacant net with Vigilanti still sprawled out.