Providence, R.I. – Top-ranked Quinnipiac scored three goals in the final 12 minutes of regulation to rally for a 4-3 win against the Canisius College hockey team in the NCAA East Regional Semifinal on Saturday night. The Griffs, ranked 20th in the latest national poll, end their season with a 19-19-5 record
Juniors Kyle Gibbons and Patrick Sullivan and sophomore Stephen Farrell all scored for the Griffs.
Junior Tony Capobianco recorded 36 saves on the night, finishing the campaign with a school-record 1,256 stops in 41 games.
The Bobcats (28-7-5) controlled the early portion of the contest and took advantage at the 8:43 mark of the opening period with the game’s first goal. Connor Jones one-timed a shot from the top of the left face-off circle for the early 1-0 lead.
The Griffs responded in the second frame and took its first lead of the game with two tallies in a 44-second span. Farrell netted Canisius’ first-ever NCAA Tournament goal 4:24 into the period, scoring his second of the season to tie the game. From behind the net, senior captain Preston Shupe centered the puck and Farrell scored from the slot. Freshman Ralph Cuddemi also registered an assist on the game-tying goal.
Canisius then quickly took the lead, scoring just 44 seconds later with Sullivan’s eighth of the season. Junior defender Duncan McKellar fired a shot toward goal from the point and Sullivan tipped it in for the 2-1 lead. Senior Ben Parker added an assist for the Griffs.
The Griffs then stretched their advantage to two when Gibbons netted his team-leading 21st goal of the season. The junior gathered a loose puck at the boards, made his way toward goal and swatted in his own rebound for a 3-1 Canisius lead with 16:17 remaining in regulation. Sullivan recorded the lone assist to give the Griffs a two-goal advantage.
The Bobcats, however, came back strong with the final three goals to secure the victory. Matthew Peca started the run with 11:58 remaining in the third, sneaking a puck past Capobianco from close range to pull within one, 3-2. Jordan Samuels-Thomas then fired a shot in on the power play to tie the game at three with 9:18 left in regulation.
Quinnipiac continued to pour on the pressure and grabbed the lead with just 5:32 left in the third when Kevin Bui knocked in a rebound on a rush for the 4-3 advantage.
The Bobcats were then able to hold the lead for the final five-plus minutes, successfully killing off a Canisius power play plus a 1:29 with an empty net for the one-goal victory.
Quinnipiac finished the game with a 40-23 advantage in shots on the night. The Bobcats were also 1-for-3 on the power play, while killing both Canisius extra-man chances.
The Bobcats now advance to face the winner of Boston College and Union in Sunday’s East Regional Final.
Game Notes: The loss ended the Griffs’ program-record eight-game winning streak, which was also the longest active streak in the country … Canisius finished the season with a school-record penalty kill unit of 90.1 percent, becoming just the 10th team in NCAA history to finish with a penalty kill above 90.0 percent … Capobianco finished the season with school records in saves (1,256), save percentage (.929) and shutouts (four) … The junior’s 1,256 saves are the 12th-most in NCAA history and the most since Lance Madson (Notre Dame) and Bill Pye (Northern Michigan) during the 1988-89 season … Gibbons finished his junior campaign with 43 points and 21 goals, which both rank third in the program’s Division I history … Junior defender Ben Danford set the program’s record by appearing in his 117th-straight game, while senior captain Torrey Lindsay played in his 146th-career contest, the most by a Griff in the school’s history … The contest marked the final game for Lindsay, Parker and Shupe plus senior defender Chris Barrea … The four seniors combined to appear in 472 career games with 164 points (57g, 107a).