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Bobcats trounce Saints, 8-0, at Appleton Arena


CANTON — A meeting between the nation’s top-ranked power play and one of the top penalty-killing teams in the country was simply no contest.

No. 8 Quinnipiac scored five power-play goals, including four consecutive tallies, en route to blitzing St. Lawrence University, 8-0, in an ECAC Hockey clash before a turnout of 1,850 at Appleton Arena.

The Bobcats (22-8-5, 12-6-3), who entered the night ranked second in the nation in penalty-killing efficiency, shut down the Saints’ vaunted and nation-leading power play.

Five different players scored a power-play goal for Quinnipiac, which clinched a first-round bye in the ECAC Hockey playoffs.

“You don’t have many nights like that,” Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said of his team’s power play. “But I thought our penalty kill in the first period was probably more important for us. They have the best power play in the country and had some good looks, but we were fortunate.”

Junior center Matthew Peca totaled a single-game, school-record six points, including four assists, to lead the Bobcats.

“There were obviously some positives in this game,” said Peca, who also recorded his 100th career point. “Our penalty killing was awesome and our power play was awesome. After you get one early, you just shoot pucks at the net and kind of start to loosen up as a team.”

Freshman goalie Michael Garteig made 24 saves to record his sixth shutout of the season, also a school record, for Quinnipiac.

Senior netminder Matt Weninger stopped 15 of 20 shots for St. Lawrence (12-17-4, 6-11-4).

“In these games, it seems like it’s easy to blame people and point fingers,” Saints senior winger Greg Carey said. “But you win as a team and you lose as a team — and tonight we lost as a team.”

The Saints dropped to 4-10-2 at home this season, including just one win in their past 11 games in Canton. However, they remain alive in the hunt to secure home ice for the first round of the playoffs.

“We lost 8-0 in our own building and that’s unfortunate,” Carey said. “That’s something you don’t ever want to happen and tomorrow we’ll come out with a bit of little fire is us. ... It can’t get any lower than this.”

For starters, the Saints were held at bay on all three of their power plays in the opening period, including a full two minutes of an early two-man advantage.

“I’m sure they’re going to say they got some momentum from the (penalty) kill and all that,” said St. Lawrence associate coach Mike Hurlbut, who filled in for head coach Greg Carvel, who was out with an illness.

“But it’s early enough in the game and we’re a good enough team with good enough players to respond to that,” Hurlbut added.

The Saints went scoreless on five power plays while allowing a season-high five man-advantage goals on six chances.

“It was just one of those games where we had scoring chances and we limited their scoring chances — obviously their power play was going pretty good tonight,” Hurlbut said. “We had some miscommunication on our penalty kill, and they’re one of the top teams in the country for a reason.”

Quinnipiac led 1-0 as Peca lifted a shot that hit the bottom of the crossbar and in eight minutes, 12 seconds into the game.

The Bobcats struck again, this time on their first power play, as freshman Sam Anas scored his team-leading 19th goal, one-timing a feed from Kellen Jones at 14:37 for a 2-0 advantage.

The power-play onslaught continued in the second period for Quinnipiac. Zach Tolkinen scored on a long-range blast well out from the slot at 2:24 for a 3-0 lead. After Kellen Jones scored on the man advantage at 12:35, Peca finished off the power-play surge with a tally at 14:18 to push the margin to 5-0 to chase Weninger, who was relieved by Kyle MacDonald.

“They just pucks on net and battled,” Carey said. “That’s ECAC hockey and that’s what we want to do and that’s what we have to do (tonight). It’s a simple game — if you do that you win and if you don’t you lose.”

With one regular-season game left, St. Lawrence is tied for ninth place in the conference with Dartmouth and Harvard, and is still in the hunt to host a first-round playoff series.

The Saints, who will host Princeton at 7 tonight on Senior Night, actually sit in 10th as Dartmouth owns the tiebreaker.

St. Lawrence needs to win tonight and get help from several other teams — a Brown loss to Union and a loss or tie by Dartmouth against Colgate — in order to secure home ice.

“A game is a game and a point is a point,” Carey concluded. “We just want to win and it doesn’t matter if we’re at home or on the road. We just want to get to a good place with our game (tonight).”

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