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Bobcats’ season ends with 4-0 loss to Friars
The Providence Friars advanced to the NCAA East Regional Final with a 4-0 victory over the Quinnipiac Bobcats on Friday night. Playing in their first NCAA tournament game since 2001, the 10th ranked Friars (22-10-6) rode the strength of three goals in the second period to defeat the seventh-ranked Bobcats (24-10-6). For Quinnipiac, the loss marks the only time the team was shutout all season.
“I thought it was a 20-man effort tonight,” Providence coach Nate Leaman said. “If you’re going to beat a quality team like Quinnipiac, it’s going to take a 20-man effort. We were ready to go tonight. That’s a lot on the leaders and they set a very good tone this week.”
Providence’s sophomore goaltender Jon Gillies stopped 37 shots in his first NCAA playoff action for his fourth shutout of the season.
Trevor Mingoia led the way offensively with a goal and an assist for the Friars who had nine players record at least one point.
Quinnipiac goaltender Michael Garteig stopped 22 shots in a losing effort. Garteig’s first full season ends with a 24-10-6 record, 1.94 goals against average, and a .910 save percentage and six shutouts.
The Friars set the tone early in opening frame, executing a physical game plan from the start. “I don’t want to say we were shocked by it, but it definitely made it hard for us,” Quinnipiac forward Cory Hibbeler said on the start. “I felt like as the game wore on we got a little more physical. But we came out a little flatter than we normally do and they came out fired up. We needed to be better in that first and we weren’t.”
Quinnipiac came out firing in the first period with a 6-1 shot advantage in the opening three minutes with Gillies standing strong to keep the game scoreless.
“Jon’s been our rock all year,” said Leaman on Gillies. “I thought he made better saves in the second period where they were getting some transition chances. We had some soft and they were shooting through some screens and he made some good saves there.”
The Friars struck early with a goal just under four minutes into the game. Mingoia forced a turnover in Quinnipiac’s defensive zone. Conor MacPhee controlled the puck in the left faceoff circle and fired it towards the net. The puck hit the far post and stopped in the crease. Mark Jankowski, who was alone at the far post, slapped the puck passed Garteig into a gaping goal.
The Friars took control of the game in the second period netting three goals on just seven shots. Anthony Florentino got things going for his team in the period. With Providence upping the pressure in the Quinnipiac zone, Florentino scored from the point after a pass from Brandon Tanev. The puck found its way through traffic and passed Garteig, beating him to the blocker side.
Three minutes later, Shane Luke capped off a three on two rush with his 10th goal of the season. Ross Mauermann carried the puck into the offensive zone and hit Kevin Hart with a pass in the slot. Luke put home the rebound from low slot after Garteig made the initial save on Hart.
Mingoia capped the scoring in the game with under six minutes to play in the middle frame. Nick Saracino entered the Quinnipiac zone on the left side and put the puck on net from the half boards. The rebound bounced in the air and Mingoia, skating through the slot area, batted the puck passed the glove of Garteig.
“I didn’t think our puck retrieval was great,” Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said of his team’s play. “A little bit of that was Providence doing a good job but I think more of it was us. We were just sluggish. We struggled, our legs weren’t great, our energy level wasn’t great. The kids wanted it, but for whatever reason we didn’t have our best legs tonight.”
The loss for Quinnipiac puts an end to its season and the careers of six seniors on the roster. “It’s a phenomenal class and a great group of guys,” Pecknold said on the class. “For the last eight or nine years we’ve been a top 20 program and I think this class elevated us to a top program.”
The victory puts the Friars in the NCAA East Regional Finals tomorrow afternoon against the Union Dutchmen. The Dutchmen defeated the Vermont Catamounts, 5-2, in the earlier game on Friday. The action at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport gets underway at 3 p.m. with the winner punching its ticket to the NCAA Men’s Frozen Four in Philadelphia, Pa.