HAMDEN, Conn. — No. 4 seed Quinnipiac’s offense continued to produce as the Bobcats came away with a 5-0 victory over No. 5 seed St. Lawrence in Game 1 of the ECAC quarterfinals Friday night at the High Point Solutions Arena.
The five goals scored by Quinnipiac are two more goals than it managed in the entire three-game series last season against St. Lawrence.
This series is a rematch of last season’s No. 4 vs. No. 5 ECAC quarterfinal matchup that saw the Saints come away with the 2-1 series win.
“Getting back on the winning track [against St. Lawrence] was real important and the way we did it was, too,” Quinnipiac coach Rick Seeley said. “We’ve had a tendency this year when we get one or two goals to sit back a little bit, but we kept playing the same game for 60 minutes.”
Shiann Darkangelo tallied two goals and one assist, Amanda Colin had a goal and an assist and Kelly Babstock had two assists to lead the Quinnipiac offense.
“We were just attacking, we were transitioning pretty quickly from battles in our zone to attacking their net,” Seeley said. “I mean, that’s been our plan basically for the second half of the season, you know good things happen.”
Quinnipiac goaltender Chelsea Laden recorded her eighth shutout of the season with 28 saves and also picked her first career playoff win in net.
“At 0-0, 1-0, 2-0, I think she’s making big saves at that time [and] it’s an entirely different game, so when she’s on, she’s as good as anyone,” Seeley said. “She’s been sharp the last few games, so we’re ready to ride her.”
Laden’s solid game kept the Saints’ offense quiet despite remaining even in shot total at 29-28 in favor of the Bobcats.
“I actually thought that offensively, we stayed in there pretty well most of the game, but they were pretty darn close,” St. Lawrence associate head coach Ted Wisner said. “So offensively, I thought we did a good job controlling the puck when we had it.”
Carmen MacDonald recorded 24 saves on the 29 shots she faced in net for the Saints.
“Carmen has been our rock for the last three years now and we can’t ever blame this on one person,” Wisner said. “We’ve got to work harder as a team, but more than that, Quinnipiac deserved to win tonight by a real great effort.”
Darkangelo started the scoring for Quinnipiac just 4:17 into the game when Babstock skated the puck into the slot in front of everyone and her shot went off MacDonald’s pad where Darkangelo was on the left slot to tap the puck into the empty left side of the net to give Quinnipiac a 1-0 lead.
The Bobcats doubled their to 2-0 when Darkangelo netted her second goal of the game after Babstock won the faceoff in the offensive zone and found Darkangelo, who was at the top right of the left faceoff circle, to wrist the puck into the back of the net.
“She’s been great from the beginning of the year,” Seeley said of Darkangelo. “I mean, her game’s gotten a lot better the second half in terms of everything else around her scoring. She’s scored in almost all our big games, so that’s huge when a player’s showing up for those games. It’s nothing new for Shi – she’s been doing that all year for us.”
Quinnipiac added a third goal late in the second period to make it 3-0 when Colin’s shot from the slot went wide left and Meghan Turner corralled the puck next to the left post and brought the puck to her forehand where she tucked home the goal.
Colin scored 6:30 into the third period after Nicole Connery gathered the puck in the defensive zone and skated up the right boards all the way behind the St. Lawrence net where she found Colin at the top of the crease for the shot, but Colin swiped the puck home next to MacDonald after she was knocked to the ice.
Emma Woods finished off the scoring for the Bobcats with 2:18 left in the game when she skated into the right side of the offensive zone on a two-on-one and wristed a shot from the right faceoff dot past MacDonald’s blocker to top off the score at 5-0.
Wisner said the quick turnaround to a 4 p.m. game tomorrow for the Saints will be a good thing.
“The quicker the better,” Wisner said. “I think we had a great chat after the game. I think they have a great mindset and we’re going to come out and give a good, hard effort tomorrow.”