March 18, 2005
Atlantic Hockey Semifinals
One Step Away for Bobcats

By Doug Manners

Quinnipiac 4, Bentley 1
Team Goal Str
Time Assists
First Period
1-Q Matt Craig (17) PP
11:00 M. Sorteberg, R. Cashman
1-B Bryan Goodwin (6) EV
17:16 J. Judd, J. Plattner

Second Period

2-Q Jamie Bates (6) EV
3:42 Unassisted
3-Q Matt Froehlich (14) EV
8:22 M. Craig, R. Cashman
Third Period
4-Q Matt Froehlich (15) EN
19:28 Unassisted
B: Simon St. Pierre, 59:24, 29 saves, 3 GA
Q: Jamie Holden, 60:00, 24 saves, 1 GA
Penalties: B 5/10; Q 7/14
Power Plays: B 0-5; Q 1-3
Attendance: 1,000

NORTHFORD, Conn. – The seniors at Quinnipiac have learned the hard way over the past three years that there are no guarantees in life. After winning the MAAC championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament as freshmen in 2002, there was a general feeling that every season would end on the national stage.

But that hasn’t been the case. Mercyhurst edged Quinnipiac in the MAAC finals in 2003, and last year the Bobcats were upset in the first round by Canisius, marking the first time at the Division I level that Quinnipiac had failed to win a postseason game.

“You almost take going to the NCAA tournament for granted when you go there as a freshman,” senior Matt Craig said. “When two years go by, you realize what an opportunity it is to go there.”

Not only do the seniors want to end their collegiate careers on top, but Quinnipiac wants to leave Atlantic Hockey as the league champions. The Bobcats will compete in the much stronger ECACHL next season, and Quinnipiac will likely struggle to win games during the next few years.

However, Quinnipiac’s focus remains on this season. And the Bobcats can cap a successful regular season with another trip to the NCAA Tournament if the can defeat Mercyhurst Saturday night in the Atlantic Hockey championship game.

The top-seeded Bobcats earned that opportunity with a 3-1 victory over Bentley in the semifinals. After a surprising victory against No. 2 seed Canisius last weekend, the Falcons were looking to advance to their first Division I conference championship game.

Bentley played a strong first period, feeding off energy from its power play to go into the first intermission with a 1-1 tie. But the Bobcats’ fore-checking wore the Falcons down in the second period, with Jamie Bates stripping the puck from Bentley defenseman Jaye Judd and scoring on a breakaway to tally the game-winner.

Quinnipiac goalie Jamie Holden, who shutout Army in the quarterfinals game, saved the Bobcats from falling behind in the first period and kept Bentley from gaining the momentum it needed to upset the Bobcats.

“Without a doubt, I think he’s been the best goaltender in the league over the past four years,” Bentley coach Ryan Soderquist said. “Quinnipiac is a great team and they capitalized on their opportunities.”

Mercyhurst 4, Holy Cross 3 OT
Team Goal Str
Time Assists
First Period
1-M David Wrigley (18) EV
2:45 M. Warren, P. Briggs
1-HC Tyler McGregor (21) EV
3:30 P. Napert-Frenette, A. McKay

Second Period

2-HC Dale Reinhardt (11) EV
5:37 J. Sixsmith, C. Sullivan
2-M Scott Reynolds (7) EV
7:20 T.J. Kemp
3-M Scott Champagne (11) EV
8:23 B. Cottreau
3-HC Andrew McKay (10) PP
18:13 P. Napert-Frenette, T. McGregor

Third Period

No Scoring


4-M Ryan Toomey (4) EV
2:03 Unassisted
HC: Tony Quesada, 61:43, 32 saves, 4 GA
M: Mike Ella, 61:52, 36 saves, 3 GA
Penalties: HC 9/18; M 9/18
Power Plays: HC 1-6; M 1-6
Attendance: 1,000


One-goal games have been the kiss of death for Mercyhurst this season – but not tonight. The Lakers entered the semifinals game with a 4-10 record in one-goal contests, but made that stat look worthless when freshman Ryan Toomey scored 2:03 into the overtime period to lift the Lakers to a 4-3 win over Holy Cross.

Toomey, who won the face-off deep in the Holy Cross zone, put the puck through a maze of players in front of the net and past Crusaders’ goalie Tony Quesada for the unassisted goal.

“I was supposed to win the puck back to the ‘D’ and I heard the Holy Cross coaches yelling, ‘get it out to the point.’ They looked so focused on getting it out to the point,” Toomey said. “So I decided to take the chance. I went through, took the shot and got the right bounce. The puck just squeaked through and it was such a relief.”

Toomey’s goal set the stage for one more Mercyhurst/Quinnipiac championship game clash. The two teams met in the MAAC championship game in 2001, 2002 and 2003, with the Lakers prevailing twice.

“There have been so many Mercyhurst/Quinnipiac championship games over the years, maybe it’s almost fitting,” Mercyhurst head coach Rick Gotkin said.


3. Mike Ella, Mercyhurst
The Lakers’ goalie came up with a couple big saves while Holy Cross was on the power play at the end of regulation. Ella finished the night with 36 saves.

2. Matt Froehlich, Quinnipiac
The senior forward took a pass from behind the net from Craig and beat St. Pierre to give the Bobcats some breathing room in the second period. He also added an empty net goal to finish the Falcons off.

1. Ryan Toomey, Mercyhurst
Freshman forward only had two shots on the night, but made his last shot count to send the Lakers to their fourth conference championship game in five years.

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