The Quinnipiac Bobcats fell one game short of booking their spot in the Frozen Four, NCAA Div. 1 hockey championship on the weekend.
With two minutes to play, Trail native Craig Martin drew the Quinnipiac Bobcats to within a goal of the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs, but couldn’t find the equalizer as the Bobcats lost to the defending champion on Sunday in Allentown, Pa.
“It’s disappointing for us,” Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold. “I’m proud of the effort this year, and I think we got the program back on track. It’s a disappointing result, but we’ll be back.”
Minnesota-Duluth took a 1-0 lead into the third period, and tallied another with just over five minutes remaining. After a delay-of-game penalty to the Bulldogs, Brogan Rafferty knocked down a clearing attempt at the right point, then fed Martin in the right circle. The former Trail Smoke Eater beat Shepard with a high wrist shot on the near side to put the Bobcats on the board.
However, with goalie Andrew Shortridge on the bench for an extra man, the Bobcats failed to net the equalizer and the Bulldogs scored into the empty net for a 3-1 win.
As seniors, both Trail products, Martin and Scott Davidson, played their final game for the Bobcats. But it was a good run, as Quinnipiac beat Arizona State on Saturday 2-1 in the Midwest Regional semifinal, before falling to number-2 ranked Minnesota-Duluth in the regional final.
Martin and Davidson were on the 2016 Bobcats team that earned a berth to the Frozen Four and went all the way to the final, only to lose to North Dakota. Davidson amassed 30 points in 153 career games with the Bobcats, while Martin finished out his senior year with a 30-point season, and scored 26 goals and 71 points in 126 games with Quinnipiac.
In other action, no. 16 ranked American International (AI) upset no. 1 St. Cloud State with a 2-1 win on Friday sending the Huskies home much earlier than anticipated. However, no. 6 ranked Denver earned the West Regional berth to the Frozen Four by shutting out AI 3-0 on Saturday.
The Providence Friars booked the East Regional ticket to the final four, with a 4-0 shutout victory over Cornell, and the no. 4 ranked University of Massachusetts Minutemen earned their first ever berth to the Frozen Four by taking the Northeast Regionals with a 4-0 win over Notre Dame on Saturday.
The Frozen Four semifinals will see Denver play UMass and Providence face off against Providence at the Key Centre in Buffalo, NY on Apr. 11. The final goes at 5 p.m Pacific Time on Apr. 13.