Craig Martin scores first collegiate goal, men’s ice hockey advances to ECAC championship

Ariana Stover and Rob Ciambra

Photo: Rebecca Castagna
Photo: Rebecca Castagna

In its tenth year in the ECAC, the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team advances to the conference tournament championship game for the second time.

The conference-ranked No. 1 Bobcats defeated the Dartmouth Big Green by a score of 3-1 at the 1980 Rink in the Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, New York on Friday.

Quinnipiac freshman Craig Martin scored his first collegiate goal when he found the back of the net 5:12 into the second period, knocking home a loose puck to give the Bobcats an early insurance goal.

For a team that has struggled in previous conference semifinal games, the goal was a big one.

“(Martin) is an excellent hockey player,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “I feel bad we haven’t gotten him more games…I knew when he got in there, he’d step up.”

Martin played in 14 games prior to the semifinal, tallying three assists.

The Bobcats held a 3-0 lead into the third period, but Dartmouth was not going away easy as they threatened with multiple scoring chances late in the game.

Dartmouth freshman defenseman Connor Yau eventually broke through for the Big Green with 5:03 left in regulation.

With the goaltender pulled, Yau found the puck on his stick after a barrage of shots drew Quinnipiac goaltender Michael Garteig out of position.

Yau sent the sure-fire shot past the attempted save of Garteig. But time ran out on the Big Green, and its season came to an end just a week after upsetting conference-ranked No. 2 Yale with a sweep on the Bulldogs’ home ice.

Dartmouth head coach Bob Gaudet praised his team after the loss.

“We played really hard, right to the final buzzer…I’m proud of our team,” Gaudet said.

Quinnipiac defenseman Connor Clifton got the scoring started for Quinnipiac, taking a pass from Sam Anas and attempting to split the Dartmouth defenders.

Clifton found a way to push it past Dartmouth goaltender Charles Grant to give the Bobcats the lead going into the first intermission.

Before Martin’s goal made the game 3-0, Anas scored 54 seconds into the second period on the Bobcats’ third power play of the game.

Anas also had the primary assist on the Clifton goal and finished with five shots on goal in the game.

Anas missed last year’s semifinal game, a loss to Harvard, due to injury.

“Sam’s a special player,” Pecknold said. “He has a knack to score goals, and he’s been a great leader this year.”

The Bobcats first trip to the ECAC championship game was back in 2007.

Quinnipiac defeated St. Lawrence 4-0, but lost to Clarkson in the championship game. But this year, the Bobcats will not be taking on the Golden Knights.

Quinnipiac will face the winner of the St. Lawrence/Harvard game tomorrow night for a chance to win its first ECAC championship title.