Quinnipiac, Yale Tie in National Title Rematch
Roundup: Union Responds to Coach's Criticism
CHN Staff Report
Facing off for the first time since last year's NCAA championship game, Yale and Quinnipiac skated to a 3-3 tie Saturday in Hamden.
Separated by just a few miles of road, the rivalry has grown since Quinnipiac joined the ECAC. But few expected to ever see what took place last April in Pittsburgh, when the pair met, Yale coming out on top for its first national title.
That made this meeting all the more highly anticipated, and a packed house wasn't disappointed.
The home Bobcats went up 2-0, then watched as a few breakdowns in the second period gave Yale three straight goals. But while pumping 51 shots on net, Quinnipiac finally broke through for the tying goal late in the third, from Matthew Peca.
"It was bittersweet," QU coach Rand Pecknold said. "I'm happy we came back and tied it, but disappointed we didn't win it."
Many expected Quinnipiac to take a step back this year — after all, only a national title could top last season, and its defense had a lot of newcomers, and a new starting goalie. But the Bobcats are 9-1-1 after the weekend, in which it dominated through large stretches thanks to a tenacious forward corps that comes at you in waves.
"We're on a bit of a roll and our kids are really buying into what we need to do to win," Pecknold said. "I thought it would take us a little bit longer, but we have some really good forwards up front that are getting it done, and other kids that are contributing. We're really good at hunting the puck and being relentless on the puck, and that's our best defense.
"We just need to finish more."
Yale freshman goalie Alex Lyon made 48 saves to help his team also get another three-point weekend.
“A like a crowd like that, it helps me get ready,” said Lyon about the sold-out arena. “They are a good team for sure, but I feel like the crowd really helped us.”
Yale also figured to take a step back — again, how could it not? But the Bulldogs are off to a strong 3-1-2 start, 2-0-2 in the league.
“I am disappointed in not getting a win tonight, but it was a three-point weekend and you have to be satisfied with that number,” Yale coach Keith Allain said.
Lyon made a few excellent saves on grade-A chances in the overtime and finished with 23 stops over the last 25 minutes.
“He did a good job for us," Allain said. "He was out square to the puck and showed poise under pressure tonight. I thought we played pretty good team defense. We kept them from second shots and kept them to the perimeter. We were shorthanded on the back end due to injuries, and I thought we gutted it out.”
One night after Union coach Rick Bennett vented at his team in the post-game press conference following a loss to Colgate, the Dutchmen responded for a 3-0 win over Cornell in Schenectady.
"If you have passion for this game — maybe after the game, I had too much passion than need be," Bennett said. "But sometimes that's the way it goes. ... They knew the plan, and they executed the plan, and that was the message today, very simple. We wanted to make it difficult."
Colin Stevens needed just 11 saves for the shutout, though Cornell coach Mike Schafer disputed the shot totals.
One of the targets of Bennett's frustration Friday was the play of star defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, though he certainly wasn't the only one. But after a morning video session to talk it over, Gostisbehere — and his teammates — got the message, and he added a third-period goal that helped put things away.
"I talked to Shayne. He took it like a man," Bennett said. "It's never personal. And he was great about it. He rebounded tonight and he was excellent."
On the flip side, Schafer wasn't pleased with his team, which scored two late goals to tie Rensselaer on Friday.
"I watched Rick's press conference (Friday) night, and we knew coming into the game, they were ready to roll," Schafer said. "I thought our guys did a good job early on. But as (ticked) off as Rick was at his team (Friday) night, that's how upset I am our team this night. ... I thought they had stronger will to win tonight than we did. They were hungrier around loose pucks.
"It's the first one of six (games) we weren't focused for long periods of the game. Give them credit. They were coming through the neutral zone with speed, they had strong sticks, they were hounding pucks."
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Massachusetts-Lowell saw its four-game winning streak end at the hands of Northeastern (6-3-0, 1-2-0 HEA), in a 4-2 loss.
“It was a good hockey game overall. It was a game of momentum shifts, and we didn’t seem to seize any of the momentum,” said River Hawks Head Coach Norm Bazin. “We scored two power-play goals, and there were some good things in the game, but we’d score one and give up two – that’s not a good recipe for success.”
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Vermont got three goals from freshmen in the second period and held on for a 4-3 win over Maine, taking a split of the weekend. Both teams are now .500.
"I like the way we played. We got it to 3-1 after giving up the first goal. Then we make it 4-1 and we feel like we're in the driver's seat," Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon said. "Then we made some really soft plays. We played with a sense of panic and (Maine) had nothing to lose.
"Our penalty kill was very, very good but we certainly have to address the number of penalties. That could have made us pretty fragile if we had ended up with a tie or worse."
Sneddon collected his 150th career victory at Vermont and his 200th win as a Division I head coach.
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In a rematch of the 2013 Atlantic Hockey Championship, Canisius once again prevailed, scoring two third-period goals to rally for a 4-3 victory against Mercyhurst in its home opener on Saturday night.
“It was a gutsy effort by everybody today,” said Canisius head coach Dave Smith. “We came up with a huge penalty kill at the end of the game. The line of Braeden Rigney, Matthew Grazen and Patrick Sullivan was also excellent with four even-strength goals and really provided a huge spark for us.”