January 4, 2013

No. 5 Quinnipiac Men's Ice Hockey Downs No. 8 Dartmouth, 3-2, On Samuels-Thomas' OT Winner

HAMDEN, Conn. –The nationally-ranked No. 5 Quinnipiac University men's ice hockey team extended its program-record and NCAA-leading unbeaten streak to 13 games with a 3-2 overtime win against No. 8 Dartmouth at High Point Solutions Arena at the TD Bank Sports Center.

Jordan Samuels-Thomas (Windsor, Conn.) netted the game-winner with less than two minutes to play in overtime as the Bobcats improve to 15-3-2 overall while they also remain perfect in ECAC Hockey play at 9-0-0 in ECAC competition. Dartmouth falls to 8-4-2, 4-2-1 in league play. Quinnipiac improves to 7-0-0 against ranked opponents for the 2012-13 season. 

Quinnipiac goalie Eric Hartzell (White Bear Lake, Minn.) turned aside 27 shots to earn his 15thwin of the season and 43rd of his career. Hartzell leads NCAA Division I ice hockey with 15 wins as well as a .886 winning percentage (15-2-2). 

Travis St. Denis (Trail, British Columbia) and Bryce Van Brabant (Morinville, Alberta) added goals for the Bobcats while Loren Barron (Glendora, Calif.) had two assists. Zach Davies (Smithes, British Columbia), Cory Hibbeler (St. Louis, Mo.), Kellen Jones (Montrose, British Columbia) and Zack Currie (Victoria, British Columbia) all had assists in the Bobcats' win.  

St. Denis opened the scoring with his fourth goal of the season just nine minutes after the initial whistle. Barron picked up a loose puck on the left wing and found Kellen Jones streaking towards the net. Jones put a shot on frame which deflected out in front, where St. Denis flicked a one-timer underneath Grant's stick for a 1-0 lead. 

After a scoreless 20 minutes in the second period, action picked up in the third with two goals just 44 seconds apart. Quinnipiac struck first after forcing a turnover deep in the Dartmouth zone – again capitalizing on a rebound in front. Grant made an initial save on a blast from Davies that Hibbeler picked up skating away from net. Hibbeler laid the puck off to Van Brabant who sniped a one-timer off the upper-left post and in for a 2-0 lead.
 
Dartmouth netted back-to-back goals in the waning minutes of regulation to force overtime, but Quinnipiac regained its composure in the addition five minutes. Barron, who picked up his sixth and seventh assists on the season on the night, won the puck behind QU's goal and found Currie in the corner. Currie fired a pass to Samuels-Thomas around mid-ice who worked his way, unmarked, into the Big Green zone. With the puck on his left side, Samuels-Thomas laced a shot to the upper-left corner to beat Dartmouth goalie Charles Grant for the 3-2 triumph.
Quinnipiac surrendered two goals as the clock ticked inside of 12 minutes - one off the stick of Matt Lindblad and the equalizer from Tim O'Brien – but settled after the setback. The Bobcats outshot the Big Green, 35-29, including an 11-2 margin in the second period, and were perfect on the penalty kill (5-5). 

The Bobcats return to the ice tomorrow night against Harvard at HighPoint Solutions Arena. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m. with all the action televised live on NESN.