2016 NCAA Frozen Four: Quinnipiac edges Boston College to advance to National Championship game

By DJ Powers
Michael Garteig - Quinnipiac University

Photo: Quinnipiac University goaltender Michael Garteig flashes the leather to make a last-second glove stop of an Ian McCoshen shot to preserve the Bobcats’ 3-2 win over Boston College in the first semi-final game of the 2016 NCAA Frozen Four at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida (courtesy of Richard T. Gagnon/Getty Images)

 

 

A goal scored in the second period goal by Landon Smith and an electrifying, last-second glove stop by goaltender Michael Garteig provided the difference as Quinnipiac University moved on to the title game with a 3-2 semi-final win over Boston College at the 2016 NCAA Frozen Four.

Why Quinnipiac won: The stifling defense that has become the Bobcats trademark was evident for much of the game. Quinnipiac did an excellent job of taking away shooting lanes and blocking shots. Senior netminder Michael Garteig didn’t have to be spectacular the entire game, but he made the crucial saves when needed including two stellar ones late in the third period.

Why Boston College lost: Turnovers were a problem for the Eagles, particularly in the first period. While the Eagles were able to find their groove early in the second period, it would be short-lived. Another area that led to Boston College’s downfall was their failure to get shots, specifically quality shots, on net.

How the scoring went

Sophomore defenseman Kevin McKernan netted his fourth goal of the season when he took advantage of a Casey Fitzgerald turnover to give Quinnipiac the early lead at 2:31 of the first period.

Just under five minutes later at the 7:20 mark, sophomore winger Andrew Taverner extended the Bobcats lead to 2-0 after receiving a nice feed from senior Travis St. Denis for his sixth tally on the season.

Boston College finally got on the board 23 seconds into the second period when sophomore Alex Tuch (MIN) netted his 18th goal of the season when he put home a nice feed from freshman Colin White (OTT).

Sophomore winger Landon Smith would restore Quinnipiac’s two-goal lead at the 4:32 mark of the second period on the power play with his 12th tally of the season. St. Denis also collected his second assist in the game.

Junior Ryan Fitzgerald (BOS) got Boston College within one on his 24th goal of the season after putting home a rebound given up by Garteig at the 13:53 mark of the third period.

St. Denis and Connor Clifton top performers for Quinnipiac

Senior Travis St. Denis had a hand in two of the Bobcats three goals. Throughout the season, St. Denis has proven to be a reliable point-producer who also was able to jump-start his team. It was no different in this game. St. Denis may be small in stature (5’7”, 170 lbs.), but he has shown yet again that he can play a very big game.

Hard-hitting junior Connor Clifton (ARI) was arguably the Bobcats’ top defenseman in the game. He was excellent in slowing down or shutting down the Eagles top snipers throughout the game. If he wasn’t stopping or slowing down the Boston College players, Clifton was blocking many of their shots.

White top performer for Boston College

One of the few bright spots for the Eagles in the game was freshman Colin White. The Hanover, MA native set up Tuch’s second period goal and was able to create some very good opportunities that unfortunately his team failed to capitalize on.

What you need to know about Quinnipiac heading into the National Championship game

Quinnipiac will be making their second trip to the National Championship game and first since 2013. The Bobcats fell to ECAC rival Yale in their only previous national title game appearance.

Quinnipiac has never met Denver in NCAA Tournament play. The Bobcats only previous meeting versus North Dakota in the NCAA Tournament came in last season’s West Regional of the 2015 NCAA Tournament. In that game, the Bobcats fell to the Fighting Hawks, 4-1.

Follow DJ Powers on Twitter via @DJPowersHF