HAMDEN, Conn. –Nationally-ranked No. 3 Quinnipiac men's ice hockey was defeated by St. Lawrence, 3-2, in an ECAC Hockey match-up at High Point Solutions Arena at the TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden, Conn. The loss drops Quinnipiac to 20-5-5 overall and 10-3-3 in ECAC Hockey play while St. Lawrence improves to 11-14-3 overall and 5-8-3 in league action.
Matthew Peca (Petawawa, Ontario) and Bryce Van Brabant (Morinville, Ontario) both scored for the Bobcats in the loss. Peca scored his 10th goal of the season, and 11th point in his last six games, with a just over a minute left in the first period and Van Brabant scored in the third. Travis St. Denis (Trail, British Columbia) had an assist on Van Brabant's goal for his fifth helper of the weekend.
Peca's third goal of the weekend came late in the first period when he connected with Soren Jonzzon (Mountain View, Calif.) between the face-off circle and the goal line to the right of St. Lawrence goalie Matt Weninger. Jonzzon had Weninger beat but his shot bounced off the far post and out in front of the goal. Peca came crashing in and tipped the rebound between Weninger's pads to give Quinnipiac a 1-0 lead.
Midway through the second period, St. Lawrence's Gavid Bayreuther benefitted from a screen in front of Garteig for the game-tying goal. St. Lawrence put pressure on Garteig with a pair of Grade-A chances from down low. Garteig made a sprawling saves on a shot by Gunnar Hughes before denying Jeremy Wick's rebound attempt. The puck caromed out to the boards where Bayreuther picked it up and threw it on goal. Traveling through traffic in front of Garteig, Bayreuther's shot found daylight and put St. Lawrence on the board.
Van Brabant banged-home a rebound just 1:41 into the third period to give Quinnipiac a 2-1 lead. Zach Tolkinen (Lino Lakes, Minn.) fired a shot from the point that was stopped by Weninger and deflected out to the slot. Van Brabant was waiting between the face-off circles for the rebound and was able to slide the puck past the Saints' goalie for his 13th goal of the year.
Van Brabant has now scored in six of his last seven games, including three straight. St. Denis fed Tolkinen for the one-timer from the point for his fifth assist of the weekend. Tolkinen's helper was his third of the weekend, and fifth in his last three games.
St. Lawrence tied the game with 5:28 to play when Brian Ward netted his eighth goal of the year with assists credited to Drew Smolcynski. Smolcynski fed Ward from the point to the face-off circle to the left of Garteig. Ward looked a defender off and then wristed a shot to the far post to tie the game at 2-2. It was then Baker with the game-winner, with assists to Greg and Matt Carey, with 4:16 left to play. Greg Carey's shot from the point was stopped by Garteig, sending the puck up into the air. Baker crashed the net and was pushed by a Quinnipiac defender into the puck, re-directing towards the goal and in.
Quinnipiac returns to action on Friday, Feb. 14 when it travels to New Haven, Conn. to take on Yale in an ECAC Hockey match-up at 7 p.m. at Ingalls Rink. The game will be televised locally on CPTV, where available. The Bobcats will then travel to Providence, R.I. on Saturday, Feb. 15 to take on Brown at 4 p.m.