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HAMDEN, Conn. – Quinnipiac men's ice hockey freshman Sam Anas (Potomac, Md.) scored twice while Jordan Samuels-Thomas' (West Hartford, Conn.) goal early in the third period stood as the game-winner, as the Bobcats defeated Yale, 5-3, to complete its ECAC Hockey Quarterfinal Series sweep at High Point Solutions Arena. Quinnipiac will advance to the league semifinals for the second consecutive year and will face tournament-seed No. 2 Colgate on Friday, Mar. 21 at 7:37 p.m. at Herb Brooks Rink in Lake Placid, N.Y.
With the series win, Quinnipiac remains the only team to win an ECAC Hockey postseason series in each season since 2005-06 when the Bobcats joined the league. Quinnipiac improves on the year to 24-8-6 overall while Yale's season ends at 17-11-5.
Anas becomes the second Quinnipiac freshman to score twice in an ECAC Hockey tournament game since Quinnipiac joined the ECAC Hockey ranks in 2005-06. With 21 goals this year, he also becomes the fourth Quinnipiac freshman at the Division I level - joining Brandon Wong (27) as well as Brian Herbert and David Marshall (22) - to scored 20 goals in his first season.
Samuels-Thomas, Travis St. Denis (Trail, British Columbia) and Tommy Schutt (Chanhassan, Minn.) also scored for Quinnipiac while Matthew Peca (Petawawa, Ontario) and Connor Jones(Montrose, British Columbia) both had two assists in the game. Bobcats goalie Michael Garteig(Prince George, British Columbia) picked up his 24th win of the year.
Anas, a 2014 ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Year Award finalist, gave the Bobcats an early lead with his 20th goal of the year. Connor Jones carried it up ice on the right flank and spied his twin, Kellen, skating between the face-off circles. Kellen received the puck, looked off a defender, and back-handed a pass to Anas on the back door for the one-timer.
Less than three minutes later, St. Denis lit the lamp for the third time in the series to give Quinnipiac a 2-0 lead. St. Denis dug the puck out of the corner and tipped it up to Peca along the boards. Peca zipped a pass to Tolkinen who bombed a shot on goal. Yale goal Alex Lyon was able to stop the shot but St. Denis picked up the rebound and beat the Bulldogs' sophomore goalie five-hole for the two-goal lead.
Yale answered with just under five minutes to play in the period. After a Quinnipiac penalty, Yale found itself with a man-advantage, setting up John Hayden with the power play goal. Jesse Root handled the puck along the boards just below the blue line in front of Quinnipiac's bench and dropped a pass down to Kenny Agostino in the corner. Agostino took a step towards the goal and then split two defenders with a pass to Hayden in the slot for the one-timer.
The Bobcats responded moments later when Schutt, who was called for a cross check that set up Yale's power play, cleaned up a loose puck in the crease and banged home his fourth goal of the year to give Quinnipiac a 3-1 lead. Peca picked up his second assist of the night when he fed Brayden Sherbinin (Kelowna, British Columbia) in the slot. Sherbinin's shot was knocked down but the puck trickled behind Lyon where Schutt was waiting.
The second period belonged to Yale as the Bulldogs tied the game off of markers by Mike Doherty and Hayden's second tally of the night. Doherty pulled Yaled to within a goal when he took a pass from Stu Wilson, skated along the goal line and then flipped a puck high on Garteig. Garteig lost the puck in his padding before it trickled out and over the goal line. With eight minutes to play, it was Hayden from Agostino and Root again. Hayden received a pass on an odd-man rush from Root and wristed a shot at Garteig from the face-off dot that found room over the Bobcats' goalie's short-side shoulder.
Quinnipiac regained its composure and found the game-winner and some insurance in the third period. On the power-play with 16 minutes remaining, Derek Smith (Apple Valley, Minn.) and Bryce Van Brabant (Morinville, Alberta) assisted Samuels-Thomas for Quinnipiac's fourth goal. Smith whipped the puck towards the crease to Van Brabant's stick, who took a shot that deflected off of Lyon. Samuels-Thomas was right there for the finish to put Quinnipiac back on top, 4-3.
With 12:20 left in the game, Anas scored his second goal of the game to give Quinnipiac a 5-3 lead. Connor Jones picked off a Yale pass in the neutral zone, setting up an odd-man rush heading down ice. Connor looked off a defender on a fake pass to Kellen before feeding Anas on the other side of the ice. Anas skated in uncontested and fired a shot over Lyon's right shoulder to give the Bobcats the two-goal lead.
For up-to-date playoff schedules and ticket information regarding the ECAC Hockey Championships, please visit the official website of Quinnipiac men's ice hockey, www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com.