No. 8 Bobcats Win UConn Hockey Classic Championship With 5-0 Win Against Sacred Heart

HARTFORD, Conn. – Nationally-ranked No. 8 Quinnipiac captured the 2013 UConn Hockey Classic Championship with a 5-0 win against Sacred Heart at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. Quinnipiac improves to 14-3-4 on the year while Sacred Heart drops to 5-13-0 overall. The Bobcats also captured their second UConn Classic Championship all-time, after winning the tournament in 2008. 

Quinnipiac had three players honored on the all-tournament, headlined by freshman Tim Clifton (Matawan, N.J.) who was the only player in the Classic to score in both games he played he. Kellen Jones (Montrose, British Columbia), with a goal and an assist over two games, and Jordan Samuels-Thomas (West Hartford, Conn.), with two assists in Monday night's win, were also honored. 
In goal, Michael Garteig (Prince George, British Columbia) stopped all 12 shots on goal he saw on a night that the Bobcats outshot the Pioneers, 54-12 - Quinnipiac's highest shot total of the year. Garteig also picked up his NCAA-leading fourth shutout of the season while improving to 14-3-4 on the year. He is now tied for the national lead in wins. 
Bryce Van Brabant (Morinville, Alberta) gave Quinnipiac a 1-0 lead with his sixth goal of the season. Seconds after Sacred Heart was whistled for a penalty, Quinnipiac capitalized on the their first power play of the game. Zach Tolkinen (Lino Lakes, Minn.) fired a shot from the point that was knocked down in front of the crease. Jordan Samuels-Thomas (West Hartford, Conn.) tipped the puck loose across the goal mouth where Van Brabant, crashing the net, was able to push the puck past Pioneers goalie Alex Vazzano.

Tim Clifton (Matawan, N.J.) picked up his second goal in as many nights when he cleaned up a rebound in front of Vazzano and banged the puck home to give the Bobcats a 2-0 lead. Sam Anas (Potomac, Md.) started the play when he stick-handled through the Sacred Heart defense before flipped a back-hand pass to Dan Federico (Acton, Mass.) point above the face-off circle to the left of Vazzano. Sacred Heart's goalie was able to stop the initial pass but Clifton took control of the puck just above the crease before sliding it past Vazzano to give Quinnipiac a two-goal lead.

Quinnipiac took a 3-0 lead halfway through the second period when Connor Jones (Montrose, British Columbia) scored on the power play. Samuels-Thomas carried the puck to the top of the Sacred Heart zone where he sent the puck to the opposite point to Kellen Jones. Kellen fired a cross-ice pass to Connor at the goalline to the left of Vazzano, who one-timed a shot top-shelf to give the Bobcats a three-goal lead while Samuels-Thomas picked up his second point of the night.

In the closing minutes of play, Quinnipiac scored two more goals as Travis St. Denis (Trail, British Columbia) and Soren Jonzzon (Mountain View, Calif.) both found the back of the net, with St. Denis' coming on the power play while Jonzzon's was set-up by Connor Jones for his second point of the night. 

Quinnipiac will return home on Friday, Jan. 3 to host Maine in a non-conference match-up at High Point Solutions Arena at the TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden, Conn. That game can be seen live on NESN at 7 p.m. The Bobcats then travel to Harvard on Tuesday, Jan. 7 for a mid-week ECAC Hockey match-up before returning home for a three-game homestand. The Bobcats host Union and Rensselaer on Jan. 10-11 before hosting Merrimack on Friday, Jan. 17 for the first contest of a two-game set that includes a trip to the Warriors home ice on Saturday, Jan. 18.