Friday, March 15, 2013

Quinnipiac's back is to the wall

Strange game for Quinnipiac. Not its best overall performance of the season, but it generated tons of chances, especially in the third, and was simply unable to beat an outstanding goalie in Cornell's Andy Iles.

Now, the Bobcats face the prospect of a premature exit from the ECAC tournament. A cushy NCAA seed is already sewn up, but the last thing Quinnipiac wants as the top team in the Pairwise and the polls is to enter its first NCAA tournament since 2002 having played only two (or three) games in three weeks.

Mike Schafer knows what it's like to be a heavy favorite and the pressure Quinnipiac is under.

"I know being in the position they're in, how much pressure there is to get to Atlantic City as a program right now," Schafer said. "We can kind of play with that carefree mentality. (Quinnipiac) carries an awful lot of burden and pressure. We need to use that to our advantage in tomorrow's game."

It's not necessarily an unfamiliar spot for Quinnipiac, which is 3-5 in Game 1 of the quarterfinals since joining ECAC Hockey in 2006. The Bobcats are 3-1 in Game 2s.

Special teams played a major role. Quinnipiac leads the nation in penalty killing and was 25 for its last 25 heading into tonight. Cornell was just 2 for its last 29 on the power play before Friday. That all changed with Brian Ferlin's two power-play goals in the second period.

The chances were there for Quinnipiac. Finishing was tough, mainly because of Iles.

"As a small goalie he challenges really well," Quinnipiac sophomore Matthew Peca said. "You've got to elevate the puck or get him moving. I think today we made his job pretty easy. We shot low a lot. Went post and tried to jam it a lot. To be successful against a small quick goalie you have to elevate the puck. And I think that's our focus on him from now on." 


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