And then there were four

A relatively quick quarterfinal weekend in ECAC Hockey ended with three teams returning to Lake Placid for the second season in a row. The lone newcomer is Dartmouth, who swept second-seeded Yale to return to conference semifinals for the first time since 2011. Only one series – Cornell and Quinnipiac  – went to three games, although two of the three remaining series had at least one overtime game.

Here are the matchups Friday at the 1980 Rink – Herbs Brook Arena in Lake Placid, N.Y.

No. 1 Quinnipiac vs. No. 7 Dartmouth, 4:06 p.m.

No. 3 Harvard vs. No. 4 St. Lawrence, 7:36 p.m.

Big Green with the big upset

While there were some tight games in the opening round of the ECAC playoffs, every series ended with the higher seeded team advancing. That wasn’t the case in the quarterfinals, as No. 7 Dartmouth swept No. 2 Yale.

The Big Green won Friday’s game in overtime, and then held on for a 2-1 win on Saturday despite getting outshot 47-15. Senior Charles Grant was outstanding in goal for Dartmouth.

“I’ve been in hockey a long time, and I’ve never seen a team dominate another team like that and not come out on top,” said Yale coach Keith Allain. “We played a great game for 60 minutes. Our guys played the way we asked them to all night. I will take that game every night.”

Despite the loss, the Bulldogs are a virtual lock for an NCAA tournament bid for the third time in four seasons.  Dartmouth will likely need to win the Whitelaw Cup in Lake Placid to advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1980.

Cornell and Quinnipiac go the distance

After losing the opener on Friday, the eighth-seeded Big Red rallied for a 5-4 win Saturday to force a Game 3 Sunday, which the Bobcats won 6-3.

Sunday’s game saw a combined nine penalties between the teams, six against Cornell.  That resulted in two Bobcats power-play goals, and helped QU advance to the league semifinals for the fourth straight season.

Despite that streak, the Bobcats are still looking for its first Whitelaw Cup. Quinnipiac has only one win in the league’s championship weekend during that stretch, a 3-0 victory over Yale in the 2013 consolation game. The league has since eliminated that game.

As for Cornell, it currently sits at 16th in the PairWise and will need some help to keep its slim NCAA hopes alive.

St. Lawrence needs extra time to dispatch its rival

St. Lawrence swept Clarkson to advance to Lake Placid for the second straight season, but it wasn’t easy. The Golden Knights played their rivals tight, as the Saints won both games 3-2 in overtime.

On Friday, Brian Ward’s goal at 8:12 into the extra period gave St. Lawrence the win, while Gavin Bayreuther sent the Saints to the semifinals with a goal 3:14 into the second overtime on Saturday.

Like Dartmouth, the Saints will likely need to win the league championship in order to advance to the NCAA Tournament. St. Lawrence ended the weekend tied for 18th in the PairWise.