April 13, 2013

No. 1 Men's Ice Hockey Falls To Yale, 4-0, To Finish As 2012-13 National Runner-up

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PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The Quinnipiac University men's ice hockey team lost to Yale, 4-0, in the 2013 NCAA Frozen Four Championshp Game in Pittsburgh, Pa. The Bobcats finish the year at 30-8-5 overall, good for the most wins in program history. 

In addition to the Bobcats' 30 wins this season, their 17-2-3 record in the ECAC Hockey is also a program-best. Their success in conference play garnered Quinnipiac's first Cleary Cup, given to the ECAC Hockey's regular season champion. The Bobcats also made it to the NCAA Tournament for just the second time ever and closed out the season as the National Runner-ups, a first for any Quinnipiac athletic program. This Quinnipiac squad will also say goodbye to 11 seniors who helped bring the program to new-found heights this season.

Both sides played to a scoreless draw in the first period with both goalies flashing the leather on several occasions. Yale's Jeff Malcolm was up to the task with every Bobcat rush throughout the first frame including an odd-man rush from the blue line with both Jones twins pressuring the lone Bulldog defender. Connor Jones (Montrose, B.C.) twirled to his forehand and wristed a shot that was bellied by Malcolm and alertly poked to the boards with his stick as Kellen Jones (Montrose, B.C.) was waiting for the rebound.

Quinnpiac's senior goalie Eric Hartzell (White Bear Lake, Minn.) also did his part with nine saves in the first but none bigger than on Yale's Kenny Agostino who was fighting for the puck with a pair of Bobcat defenders in the slot. Agostino was able to locate the loose puck and fire a laser wrist shot on goal but was met with the glove of Hartzell as the Hobey Baker finalist snatched the puck out of mid-air while sprawled out on the ice.

Quinnipiac also had a pair of prime scoring opportunities as junior Jordan Samuels-Thomas (West Hartford, Conn.) picked up a loose puck in the Yale defensive end and skated in on Malcolm unopposed. The Bobcats' leading goal scorer this season put the puck on his forehand, fake-dragged to the backhand and shot with his lefty stick but was met by Malcolm's stick. The senior goalie denied every scoring chance on his way to 15 saves in the period.

The Bulldogs finally broke through on a goal scored with 3.5 seconds showing on the clock. The faceoff was taken at center ice, won by the Bulldogs and fed along the boards behind Hartzell's net. The senior goalie flicked a backhand wrap-around that was picked off by Yale's Gus Young. His wrist shot towards traffic in front was deflected by the stick of Clinton Bourbonais and between Hartzell's leg pads to give Yale a 1-0 lead.

Yale took advantage of another opportunity less than four minutes into the third period as Charles Orzetti scored the second Bulldog goal. The play started in the Yale defensive end as they won the faceoff after an icing call. They skated up ice in transition and the initial shot went low on Hartzell's leg pad and was denied out wide. The puck however came back out to Orzetti who quickly snapped a shot back on-goal that barley poked through the goalie's pads for a goal.

Andrew Miller, Yale's senior captain, put the Bulldogs ahead 3-0 after a breakaway goal from the blue line. He took a pass from Agostino at the Bobcat's defensive blue line and skated in on Hartzell with the Quinnipiac defenders trailing. Miller made one move and wristed home the third goal five-hole on Hartzell.

Quinnipiac put the pressure on, pulling Hartzell with over seven minutes left, but another late insurance goal was added from Yale as Jessie Root scored on the empty net.

Hartzell made 27 saves in net as the senior goalie walks away with numerous program records including the 2012-13 ECAC Hockey Player and Goalie of the Year honors. For his career, Hartzell is 58-27-17 with a 1.96 GAA and a .924 save percentage. His 58 career wins rank second at Quinnipiac all-time while his other two figures also rank first on the career charts.