HAMDEN, Conn. – The No. 4 seed Quinnipiac Bobcats held on to defeat the No. 5 seed St. Lawrence Saints, 2-1, Saturday evening at the High Point Solutions Arena to sweep the quarterfinal series against the Saints and move on to the ECAC semifinals.
“The goal from the beginning of the year was to make the final four in the conference, so with all the ups and downs, everything else, it all makes it worth it,” Quinnipiac coach Rick Seeley said. “To play as well as we played this weekend and to get the outcome we were after, it was pretty satisfying.”
Shiann Darkangelo scored a goal and had an assist, while Kelly Babstock added the other goal to lead the Bobcats’ offensive attack.
Darkangelo’s goal proved to be the difference when she scored with 5:15 remaining in the second period when she wristed the puck on net from the right boards through traffic and past St. Lawrence goaltender Carmen MacDonald to take a 2-0 lead. The goal was initially waved off, but after a lengthy review, the decision was reversed to give Darkangelo the goal.
“Today was like yesterday; we got the goals charging the net and that’s the objective of the second half,” Seeley said. “Good things happen when you’re putting that kind of pressure on the net and the goalie.”
With eight minutes left in the third period, the Bobcats managed to keep St. Lawrence off the scoreboard after Quinnipiac goaltender Chelsea Laden was pushed out of the net and the defense stood tall in front to block the puck away.
“The fact that they made half the saves for me was awesome,” Laden said. “Showing that we let in one goal in two games is not obviously just me, it’s definitely a team effort. We had so many blocked shots today; at one point I wasn’t even in the net and somehow we managed to make the saves. If our defensive core stays the way it is, then it’s going to be hard to score against us.”
Laden finished the game with 25 saves on the 26 shots she faced en route to the victory.
“She made so many big saves today and yesterday, they could have won both games really easily without Chelsea in net,” Seeley said.
The Saints broke through with 2:02 remaining in the third period when Mel Desrochers tallied a power-play goal with a six-on-four advantage after pulling MacDonald. Desrochers wristed her shot from the right point and it slid on the ice past Laden’s right pad.
“I think this program has played with reckless abandon all year,” St. Lawrence associate head coach Ted Wisner said. “Mare and I both had the confidence that pulling the goalie as early as possible would be to an advantage, and it’s all in the hard work of the girls on this team.”
St. Lawrence pulled MacDonald once the puck got back in the offensive zone as they tried to net the game-tying goal with the extra skater, but were unable to do so.
“This whole weekend we knew it was going to come down to that situation; we practiced it everyday, and you know, just knowing that was comforting,” Laden said. “We practiced it and executed it pretty well.”
Midway through the first period, Babstock gave Quinnipiac a 1-0 lead when she skated into the offensive zone ahead of the rush and deked left to get MacDonald off balance before wrapping the puck around MacDonald’s sprawled body.
Babstock recorded her 203rd career point with her first-period goal to move into second place in Quinnipiac men’s and women’s ice hockey history, just behind Chris Cerrella’s 205 points.
MacDonald recorded 19 saves on 21 shots for the Saints.
“Carmen’s good every night, in my opinion; she’s a heck of a goalie,” Wisner said. “Quinnipiac played a fantastic weekend; they’re red hot right now.”
St. Lawrence’s season comes to an end with the quarterfinal sweep, while Quinnipiac will travel to Potsdam, N.Y., next weekend for the remainder of the ECAC playoffs.
“I think we played pretty hard this weekend; we have no regrets leaving that locker room,” Wisner said. “We played hard both nights and couldn’t come away with it. Quinnipiac played awesome this weekend; we give a great congrats to them and good luck in the final four next weekend.”