Comeback Cats: Quinnipiac advances to ECAC semifinals with overtime win

Zachary Carter

Sixty minutes proved it was not enough to decide the ECAC conference final rubber match between the Quinnipiac Bobcats and the St. Lawrence Saints. The Bobcats came from behind to take down the Saints 2-1 in an overtime thriller. 

As expected, the game’s opening frame was a set-the-tone period for both teams. The Bobcats established their offensive presence early as they dominated the stat sheet in both shots and shots on goal. They led by as many as nine shots through the first twenty minutes.

But it was the Saints who would get on the board first. A rebound shot off the left pad of graduate goaltender Logan Angers would dribble onto the stick of St. Lawrence’s Julia Gosling. In an attempt to react quickly, the Saint’s captain stole the puck on the backhand and flipped it past Angers for her 21st goal of the season, putting Quinnipiac in an early 1-0 hole. 

The score would remain this way for most of the remainder of the game, despite each team having an abundance of chances to break through. 

Later in the first period, junior forward Anna Segedi would go to the box for a two-minute tripping violation which put the Bobcats up on the powerplay. As soon as the opportunity came, it went, and a successful Saints’ kill kept their one-goal lead safe. 

In the second period, each team saw its fair share of momentum swings. The Bobcats came out hot, with their best chance to score coming on a 3-on-1 advantage that ended on a Lexie Adjia shot that was gloved unceremoniously by Saints’ senior goaltender Lucy Morgan. 

The two teams went back and forth until the end of the period, with Quinnipiac pushing the momentum in their favor to close out the middle frame. The Bobcats put plenty of pressure on Morgan and the Saints’ defense, who barely escaped danger going into the third. 

With 20 minutes left to play and a first-round exit staring the Bobcats in the face, Quinnipiac finally broke through. Nine minutes into the period, senior defenseman Kate Reilly took control of the puck in the Saints’ zone. With the Bobcats short-handed off an Olivia Mobley interference call, Reilly seized the moment and ripped a wrist shot past Morgan, which tied the game and rejuvenated an otherwise unenergetic Bobcats team. 

As overtime loomed, the Bobcats looked like they would be able to put the game away without the need for an extra period. Adzjia took a pass from first-year defenseman Zoe Uens in the Saints’ zone and fired a wrist shot, which found the back of the net seemingly with ease. Quinnipiac would have taken the lead with the goal, but a successful St. Lawrence challenge confirmed the Bobcats committed goaltender interference on the play. 

In overtime, it was senior forward Sadie Peart who crowned herself the hero. A broken play put the puck right in front of her stick three minutes into the period, as she lobbed a shot just over the shoulder of Morgan. Some traffic in front of the net was all it took to block Morgan’s vision of the puck as the game-winning goal settled in behind her. 

Chants of “Sadie” rang from center ice and all throughout M&T Bank Arena in Hamden as the Bobcats skated off victorious by a score of 2-1. 

In a series where the team that scored first ended up losing each of the three games, Bobcats’ head coach Cassandra Turner preached the importance of team-wide resilience, especially in post-season play. 

“Sometimes when you’re down in the playoffs, it’s like the pressure is off,” Turner said. “You get to attack and you feel a little bit more comfortable.”

Due to the game being the deciding match of a playoff series that had already seen such high intensity in the first two games, the physicality of this game had noticeably increased. 

“We made sure (our) bodies were ready to hit differently and hit them differently,” Peart said. “Anything we had, we went at them with.” 

The Bobcats survived St. Lawrence in the opening round of the ECAC playoffs, and will now turn their attention to Colgate for the semifinals. Neither team will claim a home-ice advantage, with the contest set to be played at Ingalls Ice Rink in New Haven, home of the Yale Bulldogs which is set for Friday, March 3, puck drop is slated for 6:30 p.m