LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – The No. 5 Quinnipiac men's ice hockey team and No. 14 Colgate Raiders traded blows throughout 80-plus minutes of hockey on Friday night but in the end it was Colgate coming away victorious with a 3-2 victory in double overtime over Quinnipiac in the ECAC Hockey Semifinals. The loss drops the Bobcats to 24-9-6 on the season as they now await the decision of the NCAA Selection Committee who will determine their seed for the upcoming NCAA Tournament with Regional play set to begin next weekend. The Selection Show will air on ESPNU at 12:00 pm on Sunday.
The Bobcats were done in by three unanswered goals for Colgate as Quinnipiac couldn't hold on to the 2-0 lead they built up late in the second period. The double overtime game was the first in the ECAC Hockey Semifinals since 2009 and it was also just the fifth game that stretched into two overtimes since the ECAC Hockey founded its playoff format in 1961-62 (52 years ago).
The hard luck loss shouldn't diminish an outstanding effort in net from the Bobcats' sophomore goaltender Michael Garteig (Prince George, British Columbia) who tied his career high with 33 saves in net, matching his 33-save shutout of Yale back on Feb. 14. Garteig and Colgate goalie Charlie Finn (30 saves) went toe-to-toe on Friday in a game that saw 65 shots-on-goal fired with several coming in prime scoring positions.
Quinnipiac lite the lamp twice to open the game as senior Connor Jones (Montrose, British Columbia) and freshman Sam Anas (Potomac, Md.) each notched their 15th and 22nd goals of the season, respectively. Senior Kellen Jones (Montrose, British Columbia), junior Matthew Peca (Petawawa, Ontario) and freshman Devon Toews (Abbotsford, British Columbia) each picked up one assist for the Bobcats. Peca's helper gives him at least one point in six straight games while Connor Jones also extends his point streak to six games.
The Bobcats were first to strike after a penalty was accessed to Travis St. Denis, Kellen Jones picked off a Colgate pass and fed up-ice to his brother Connor at the opposite blue line for breakaway on Finn. Connor took the pass and went backhand-to-forehand to beat the freshman goalie five-hole to make it 1-0 Bobcats at 2:54 in the second.
Both teams played through a physical second period that featured three power play opportunities for each side but the Bobcats were the only one to convert on the chance as Quinnipiac's freshman sensation Anas picked up his team-leading 22nd tally of the season. The Bobcats swung the puck all the way around the boards from freshman Devon Toews (Abbotsford, British Columbia) over to Peca who planted himself above the faceoff dot. Peca surveyed the defense and decided to center the puck to Anas who had already wound up his stick for a one-timer. Colgate's goalie Charlie Finn did his best but couldn't find his way to the opposite post in time to prevent the power-play goal and push the Bobcats' lead to 2-0 at 15:37 in the second.
With a two-goal lead in-hand, the Raiders pushed back with a goal of their own just 1:42 later as Andrew Black took advantage of some miscommunication behind the Bobcats' net to pick up a turnover and put home the goal with Garteig out of position.
Quinnipiac certainly had their opportunities to add to their lead as Jordan Samuels-Thomas and Kellen Jones each had a strong rush up-ice with no Colgate defender in front of them but on both occasions were denied by the freshman goalie Finn.
As the clock winded under two minutes to play, the Bobcats were in control holding possession in the Raider defensive end but one clear for Colgate and a failed clearing attempt for Quinnipiac was all it took to find the equalizer. After the Raiders cleared the puck from their end and Finn made his way to the bench creating an extra-man opportunity, the Bobcats regained possession along the boards and attempted to float the puck out but it wasn't lifted far enough. Colgate's Tylor Spink picked up the loose puck and flung it to Kyle Baun in front who banged it past Garteig to send the game into overtime.
The Bobcats needed a strong push as the Raiders came out with plenty of momentum to start the first extra period and they received one from their sophomore goalie. Garteig and Finn both traded stellar save-for-save as each made multiple denials on rushes up-ice for the opposition. Garteig's finest came with Colgate on a 3-on-1 break and a rip from Tylor Spink in the slot was knocked aside by Garteig's blocker as the Bobcat fans exhaled as both teams skated off for another overtime frame.
Colgate didn't wait long to put an end to this one as they came out of the locker room and scored the game-winner just 58 seconds into the second overtime frame. Tyson Spink is the one who ended it as Kyle Baun threw a shot on Garteig's left leg pad that the sophomore goalie initially stopped but the rebound was left right in front for Colgate as Spink banged home the goal to send the Raiders to their first Championship Game appearance since 1990.
Quinnipiac will now await the decision of the NCAA Selection Committee on their seed, opponent and location for their First Round game of the 2014 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Tournament.