For Union, history will have to wait.
The Dutchmen’s bid to become the third team to win four straight ECAC Hockey tournament titles was ended Sunday by Quinnipiac, forward Soren Jonzzon and goalie Michael Garteig.
Jonzzon scored twice, and Garteig stopped 37 shots as the top-seeded Bobcats defeated the 10th-seeded Dutchmen, 3-1, in the deciding game of the best-of-three quarterfinals at High Point Solutions Arena.
The 11th-ranked Bobcats (23-10-4) won the series, 2-1, and will take on sixth-seeded Harvard in the first semifinal Friday in Lake Placid.
For the Dutchmen (19-18-2), the season ends a lot earlier than they are used to. They were trying to join Cornell (1967-70) and Boston University (1974-77) as the only teams to win four Whitelaw Cups in a row.
“You know what, take solace in the fact that you won three in a row,” Union coach Rick Bennett said. “When was the last time a team has done that? That’s what we’re going to take. We didn’t win, so be it. But we left it on the ice.”
The Dutchmen won’t get to defend their NCAA title, and their run of four straight NCAA tournament appearances is over, as they aren’t in the top 16 in the PairWise Rankings. The last time Union’s season ended this early was in the 2009 ECAC quarterfinals, when Princeton won in three games.
“It’s tough,” said senior right winger Daniel Ciampini, who finished as Union’s leading scorer this season with 26 goals and 24 assists. “We went out battling. It was their game to win tonight. That’s how it went.”
Jonzzon, who was robbed on a glove save by Union goalie Colin Stevens late in the second period of Saturday’s Game 2, got his revenge in Game 3. He gave the Bobcats the lead with 46.6 seconds left in the first period when he ripped a wrist shot from the top of the right circle over Stevens’ right shoulder.
Jonzzon made it 2-0 just over four minutes into the second period. Landon Smith stepped past Dutchmen defenseman Jeff Taylor at center ice, creating a two-on-one with Jonzzon. Smith fed a cross-ice pass to Jonzzon along the right wing, and he fired a shot from the right circle past Stevens.
Union got that one back when junior left winger Matt Wilkins put home the rebound of a Charlie Vasaturo right-point drive with 12:41 left in the second. The Dutchmen grabbed the momentum and were getting chance after chance.
But Garteig was a stone wall. Nothing was going to get by him.
“Anytime you put up 40-plus shots on a goalie, you expect to get more than one goal,” Wilkins said. “He was outstanding.”
Shortly after Wilkins’ goal, Nick Cruice got a breakaway. Garteig made a terrific glove save.
Later in the period, Ciampini tried a wraparound. Garteig denied that.
With less than two minutes left, senior center Max Novak had two excellent chances on the doorstep. Garteig got his pads on both of them.
“He played a good game,” Novak said. “I had some pretty good chances there. He made some pretty good saves. Hats off to him.”
The Dutchmen pressed for the trying goal in the third period. They even got a power play with 1:36 left when Andrew Taverner was called for hooking. Stevens was pulled for an extra attacker, giving Union a two-man edge.
But in what was a major problem in the series, the Dutchmen’s power play couldn’t generate anything. Matthew Peca sealed it on an empty-net goal with 37.6 seconds to go.
After Wilkins scored a power-play goal on Union’s first attempt in Game 1 Friday, the Dutchmen went 0-for-12 the rest of the series. Union was 0-for-3 Sunday and had just three shots.
“They switched it up on us,” Bennett said. “We could never, off the forecheck, sustain any drives. We had a couple [of chances] earlier in the series, I thought. We just didn’t put in the back of the net, and it just got harder and harder.”
Stevens was outstanding for the Dutchmen in making 22 saves. He robbed Travis St. Denis on a glove save with 8:24 left in the second after St. Denis stripped Wilkins of the puck in front of the Union net.
With 14:13 left in the third period, Stevens made a right- pad save on Tanner McMaster’s breakaway attempt.
“I thought our goaltender played well,” Bennett said. “He made some big saves for us to keep us in there and gave us some life.”
But it wasn’t enough to keep Union’s season going.
“As a staff, all you can ask is [for] the team to work as hard as they possibly can,” Bennett said. “I thought we did that tonight. I’m not going to get caught up in if we outplayed that team or we didn’t. It doesn’t matter right now. What matters is that we left it on the ice.”
Union 0 1 0 — 1
Quinnipiac 1 1 1 — 3
First Period — 1, Quinnipiac, Jonzzon 6 (L. Smith, Federico), 19:14. Penalties — None.
Second Period — 2, Quinnipiac, Jonzzon 7 (L. Smith), 4:10. 3, Union, Wilkins 13 (Vasaturo, Vecchione), 7:19. Penalties — Novak, Uni (boarding), 11:18; Wilkins, Uni (hooking), 19:29.
Third Period — 4, Quinnipiac, Peca 7 (St. Denis), 19:23 (sh-en). Penalties — T. Clifton, Qui (hooking), 8:37; Taylor, Uni (roughing), 16:04; Taverner, Qui (hooking), 18:24.
Shots on Goal — Union 9-18-11 — 38. Quinnipiac 11-11-3 — 25.
Power-play opportunities — Union 0 of 3; Quinnipiac 0 of 3.
Goalies — Union, Stevens 16-15-0 (24 shots-22 saves). Quinnipiac, Garteig 22-8-3 (38-36).
A — 2,784. T — 2:10.
Referees — Kevin Graber, Chip McDonald. Linesmen — Jim Briggs, Steven Drain.
Categories: College Sports