February 28, 2014

No. 8 Bobcats Clinch ECAC Hockey Tournament First-Round Bye With 8-0 Win At St. Lawrence


CANTON, N.Y.- Matthew Peca (Petawawa, Ontario) broke Quinnipiac's Division I single-game point record with a six-point performance to lead nationally-ranked No. 8 Quinnipiac to a 8-0 win at St. Lawrence as the Bobcats clinched a first-round bye in the upcoming ECAC Hockey Championship tournament. Quinnipiac improves to 22-8-5 overall and 12-6-3 in ECAC Hockey with the win, while St. Lawrence drops to 12-17-4 overall and 6-11-4 in league play. The Bobcats will either be the second or third seed in the ECAC Hockey tournament.

Peca had a hand in six of Quinnipiac's eight goals, tallying two goals and four assists as he became the 37th player in Quinnipiac history and 23rd player in the program's Division I history to reach 100 career points. He also becomes the first junior to accomplish the feat since Brandon Wong reached the century mark during the 2008-09 season. He joins Connor and Kellen Jones and Jordan Samuels-Thomas to give Quinnipiac the only line-up in NCAA Division I hockey with four players with 100 career points on its roster.

Bobcats goalie Michael Garteig (Prince George, British Columbia) also broke Eric Hartzell's single-season shutout record with his sixth of the season. Garteig finished with 24 saves in the Bobcats' win, snapping a personal and team three-game losing streak.

In addition to the fire power provided by Peca, Quinnipiac also benefitted from a two-goal night from Kellen Jones (Montrose, British Columbia), while Zach Tolkinen (Lino Lakes, Minn.), Sam Anas (Potomac, Md.), Bryce Van Brabant (Morinville, Alberta) and Travis St. Denis (Trail, British Columbia) also scored fo Quinnipiac. Derek Smith (Apple Valley, Minn.) set up a pair of goals while Anas had an assist to go along with his goal.

Peca put Quinnipiac out in front with his 11th goal of the season just over eight minutes into the first period. Peca dug the puck out of the corner and fed Tommy Schutt (Chanhassen, Minn.) between the face-off circle and the goal line along the boards. Schutt fired a shot on goal that was denied by St. Lawrence goalie Matt Weninger, but Peca was crashing the goal to pick up the rebound.

With less than five minutes to play in the period, Anas scored his 19th goal of the season, this one coming on the power play. Peca handled the puck along the boards before cycling it to Kellen Jones at the point. Jones threw the puck on goal where it was tipped by Connor Jones before it hit Weninger in the chest. With the puck loose just above the crease, Anas rushed the net and was able to tip it around Weninger to give the Bobcats a two-goal lead.

Early in the second period, Tolkinen scored Quinnipiac's second power-play goal of the game off a shot from the point. The Bobcats' fore-check produced the goal, with Smith carrying the puck into the Saints' defensive zone where he sent the puck to Tolkinen. Tolkinen hovered at the point, looked to his right to Jordan Samuels-Thomas (West Hartford, Conn.), before firing a shot on goal.  Van Brabant providing the screen on Weninger, Tolkinen's blast found the back of the net to give Quinnipiac a 3-0 lead.

With less than eight minutes to play, Kellen Jones scored on the power play, with  assists credited to Jones (Montrose, British Columbia) and Peca. Connor knocked down the puck on its way out of the St. Lawrence defensive zone and fed Kellen at the point. His shot navigated through traffic to beat Weninger as Quinnipiac jumped out to a 4-0 lead.

Two minutes later it was Peca with his second goal of the night to give Quinnipiac a 5-0 lead in the closing minutes of the second frame. The Bobcats moved the puck through the St. Lawrence zone, with Devon Toews (Abbotsford, British Columbia) firing a shot on goal that bounced to Anas' stick. Anas  slid the puck across the crease to Peca for the lamp-lighter. The goal ended Weninger's night in favor of sophomore Kyle MacDonald.

Quinnipiac took a 6-0 lead on Kellen Jones' second goal of the game, with Peca picking up his fifth point of the night with the assist. Tolkinen provided the Bobcats' seventh goal, less than halfway through the period, on a one-timer off a pass from Smith. In the closing minutes, it was Travis St. Denis (Trail, British Columbia scoring on a break-away, set-up by a pass from Peca to give Quinnipiac an 8-0 lead.

Quinnipiac is back in action on Saturday, Mar. 1 when it faces Clarkson at Cheel Arena in Potsdam, N.Y. in an ECAC Hockey match-up set for 7 p.m. The Bobcats will be idle for the first round of the ECAC Hockey Championship tournament on Mar. 7-9, but will host a Quarterfinals series at High Point Solutions Arena at the TD Bank Sports Center on Mar. 14-16. Tickets will be available for the ECAC Hockey Quarterfinals Series, beginning on Friday, Feb. 28. Season ticket holders should refer to their ticket books for Games A,B and C. Fans can purchase tickets by calling 203-582-3905.