NEW HAVEN, Conn. — There were 85 possible scenarios that could have impacted the ECAC Hockey standings entering the final night of the regular season.
And while the final score might say otherwise, there was plenty of drama Saturday at Ingalls Rink.
No. 5 Quinnipiac scored three times in the second period en route to a 4-1 win over Yale. With the win, the Bobcats (25-7-2, 14-6-2) swept the season series with the Bulldogs and secured a share of the regular season title with Cornell. Quinnipiac will get the No. 1 seed in the playoffs by virtue of having more league wins than the second-seeded Big Red.
Nick Jermain scored twice for Quinnipiac, while Andrew Shortridge made 24 saves. Sam Tucker had 36 saves for the Bulldogs.
“I knew we’d be good, but I didn’t think we’d be this good,” Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said of his team, which was picked to seventh in the coaches’ preseason poll following the program’s first losing season since 1996.
Yale (13-13-3, 11-10-1) is the No. 6 seed and will host No. 11 Rensselaer in a best-of-three series starting Friday.
But neither team escaped unscathed in a physical, penalty-filled game that ended with the Bobcats playing with three defensemen for the closing minutes of the game.
The teams combined for 21 penalties for 91 minutes, which included three disqualifications and two game misconducts.
“That was playoff hockey right there,” Quinnipiac senior Scott Davidson said. “It was chippy and it was emotional.”
Bobcats captain Chase Priskie was given a five-minute major and a game disqualification for kicking following a lengthy review by the officials.
Priskie, a Hobey Baker candidate who leads the country in goals by a defenseman, was whistled for kicking a downed Tyler Welsh near the Quinnipiac net midway through the second period.
“You see a guy kick a guy in the head, that was pretty violent,” Yale coach Keith Allain said. “You don’t see that in hockey.”
After a lengthy review, the officials handed Priskie a game disqualification that brought his night to an end. A frustrated Priskie slammed his stick against the bench door as he headed off the ice.
Welsh was brought to the locker room, but later returned to the game.
Yale captain Anthony Walsh and Quinnipiac defenseman Luke Shiplo were each given a five-minute major and a game disqualification for fighting at 11:02
Per NCAA rules, Walsh, Shiplo, and Priskie will each be ineligible for their teams’ next game. The loss of Priskie and Shiplo will test a Quinnipiac defense that is already without Brandon Fortunato after the senior suffered a season-ending injury last month.
Quinnipiac defenseman Karlis Cukste and Yale forward Dante Palecco were each given game misconducts at 12:47 in the third, leaving the Bobcats with three defensemen for the remainder of the game.
The Bulldogs trailed 2-0 at the time of the Priskie penalty, but didn’t get much going on the ensuing five-minute power play.
“Our power play wasn’t as effective as it should have been and we’ll continue to work on it,” Allain said.
With the Priskie major killed, TJ Friedmann scored to make it 3-0 Bobcats at 17:14, while Jermain scored his second of the game off a partial breakaway at 19:06.
“I used to play with Sam back in the day and he kind of knows that’s my move,” said Jermain, who like Tucker is a Connecticut native. “I don’t know if he didn’t know if it was me coming down. He used to always stone my on it and we used to have a little running joke but I got him this time. “
Yale’s Ted Hall scored at 15:38 in the third to ruin Shortridge’s shutout bid.
The Bobcats controlled play early, outshooting the Bulldogs 12-0 in the first half of the opening period. Quinnipiac took a 1-0 lead when Brogan Rafferty forced a turnover in the neutral zone and then found Ethan de Jong, who lofted a shot over Tucker at 4:09.
Jermain made it 2-0 1:59 into the second, banking shot from behind the net off a sprawled out Tucker and into the net.
“I thought we took over the game the last half of the first period and then we come out and give up an easy goal to start the second,” Allain said. “That gave them momentum and we had trouble responding.”
Elsewhere in the ECAC
No. 13 Clarkson 2, No. 11 Cornell 2 (F/OT)
Just 42.5 seconds away from clinching the ECAC title outright, Cornell allowed an extra-attacker goal to Clarkson’s Josh Dunne and the Golden Knights proved spoiler, pushing the Big Red to the second seed in the ECAC playoffs.
Cornell earns the co-championship in the ECAC with Quinnipiac.
Clarkson dramatically outshot Cornell, 33-12, on the night and allowed just four shots over the third period and overtime.
The Golden Knights will be the third seed in the ECAC playoffs and receive a first-round bye.
Union 4, No. 16 Harvard 3
Union used a three-goal outburst in the second and early third period to take a lead it would never relinquish as the Dutchmen spoiled Harvard’s hope of sharing a piece of the ECAC regular-season title, 4-3.
Anthony Rinaldo set up three of the four Union goals, helping end a three-game winning streak for Harvard.
The Crimson fell to the fourth seed in the ECAC tournament, but will still have a bye next weekend and home ice in the quarterfinal round.