By Tommy Sullivan, QBSN Staff Writer
In a do or die game, the Quinnipiac Bobcats soundly dismantled the Cornell Big Red, 10-0 to stay alive in the ECAC Conference Tournament Quarterfinals.
Leading the way for the Bobcats were Dan Federico (four assists), Kellen Jones, Travis St. Denis (two goals, one assist each), and Ben Arnt and Connor Jones (one goal, three assists each). Eric Hartzell and Michael Garteig combined in net for the shutout.
The Bobcats opened up the scoring quickly, as Connor Jones fired a shot through Big Red goalie Andy Iles from the middle of the left center circle just 24 seconds into the game. Jones’ goal came off some slick passing between Kellen Jones and Matthew Peca.
Quinnipiac took the momentum from the goal and turned it into a relentless fore-check that constantly created turnovers and offensive-zone time, frustrating the Big Red skaters.
That frustration boiled over as a Cornell defenseman was called for crosschecking at just over five minutes into the first. Though the Bobcats failed to score on the ensuing power play, it did allow Quinnipiac to continue the offensive zone pressure, which culminated in the second goal of the period for the Bobcats.
Zack Currie fired a puck into a mess of players at the front of the net from the top of the right circle, and it ping-ponged off of St Denis and into the net. Cornell didn’t register a shot on net until 12:22 into the first period.
Quinnipiac blew the doors wide open in the second period, scoring seven goals. St. Denis scored his second of the game, shooting the puck under the arm of Iles off a pass from behind the net from Jordan Samuels-Thomas.
Three minutes after the St. Denis tally, Peca made a great individual effort, dangling past a Cornell defenseman and roofing the puck over Iles’ left shoulder.
Less than a minute later, Cory Hibbeler would add in a fifth Bobcat goal and the rout was on. After the Hibbeler goal, Cornell coach Mike Schafer decided to pull Iles and replaced him with back up Omar Kanji, though he would not fare much better.
Kanji let up four goals to Arnt, Jordan Samuels-Thomas, and two goals to Kellen Jones. Arnt’s goal and Jones’ second goal were power play goals.
Bobcats head coach Rand Pecknold expects Iles to play more like he did on Friday than he did on Saturday.
“He’s an elite goaltender and he was the best player on the ice last night. Fortunately for us tonight, we found ways to score some goals on him. He’s a great goalie,” Pecknold said.
As the second period horn sounded, a giant scrum near the Bobcats’ blue line broke out that resulted in the ejection of Big Red forward Madison Dias. Currie talked about the scrum saying that they “weren’t exactly surprised by it, but at that point [they] were just trying to keep everyone in the lineup for tomorrow.”
The teams began the third period playing four-on-four with five players in each penalty box respectively. The physical play continued in the third as Big Red forward John McCarron and Bobcat forward Russell Goodman were both given game misconducts and ejected.
Zach Tolkinen would add another power play goal late in the third, completing Quinnipiac’s 10-0 rout.
These two team will play again Sunday night at 7 p.m. at the TD Bank Sports Arena to see who will move on to the ECAC Semifinals held in Atlantic City.