HAMDEN, Conn. — Top-ranked Quinnipiac dominated Cornell and picked up a 10-0 win in Game 2 of the ECAC quarterfinals, tying the series at one game apiece with Game 3 looming Sunday.
The Bobcats controlled the game from the opening faceoff, holding the Big Red to just three shots on net in the first period.
Quinnipiac entered the game without Bryce Van Brabant after he was suspended a game for hit in the first period Friday night.
“We were definitely upset that [Van Brabant] wasn’t in the game, but we were confident about whoever we put in his place,” Quinnipiac captain Zach Currie said. “Obviously, we wanted him back in the game for tomorrow, but we were all playing for our lives tonight.”
Quinnipiac took the 1-0 lead just 24 seconds into the first period on Connor Jones’ 11th goal of the season. Matthew Peca skated the puck behind the net and centered a feed to the bottom of the left circle where Jones wristed it through Andy Iles’ five hole.
The Bobcats extended their lead seven minutes later on a blast from Currie that ricocheted off of Travis St. Denis’ skate and past Iles.
Quinnipiac piled on seven goals in the second period, sparking a brawl at the whistle ending the frame.
“The game in itself could not have gone any worse for us,” Cornell coach Mike Schafer said. “We got scored on early and they carried the momentum and we didn’t execute and it was just a cluster from there on in. It was just, ‘How fast can this game get over with?’”
Tensions boiled over after the Bobcats added their ninth goal on a Kellen Jones power-play goal. After Quinnipiac’s Kevin Bui got tied up in the far-side half boards in the QU zone at the final whistle, players started pushing and shoving. As players locked up, Cornell’s Madison Dias torpedoed himself into the pile and starting throwing punches. The Bobcats’ Cory Hibbeler joined in as the linesmen did their best to separate the two sides. Hibbeler and Dias earned themselves five-minute majors with a slew of others gaining two-minute minors.
In all, there were 18 penalties good for 101 minutes in the skirmish. At the start of the second period, both sin bins were full to the brim.
“When a score gets that high, the tempers flare and things happen,” Currie said. “We weren’t exactly surprised by it, but by that point we were just trying to keep everyone in the lineup for tomorrow and get through it. It wasn’t unexpected, but we didn’t need that.”
Despite holding a shutout through two periods, Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold elected to pull Eric Hartzell entering the third.
“Hartzell played well early, but this is a tough game for a goalie to play in when you aren’t getting too many saves and then obviously, we were off to the races,” Pecknold said.
Iles was pulled midway through the game after giving up five goals. Omar Kanji replaced Iles, but it was Iles that reentered the game for the third period.
“It was obviously a tough night and he’s been a good goalie every time we’ve played against him,” Kellen Jones said of Iles. “I’ve played against him for three years and he’ll be good tomorrow night, so we will expect his best.”
The only lasting pieces of the fight from the second period came when QU forward Russell Goodman picked up a pair of five-minute majors for contact to the head and a hit from behind with just five minutes to play in the third.