St. Denis nets 100th NCAA point

Scott Davidson sets up winning OT goal against Harvard.

Quinnipiac University Bobcats’ forward Travis St. Denis netted his 100th point in NCAA hockey on Thursday, and Quinnipiac earned the number-1 ranking in the nation in PairWise and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine rankings following a 5-4 overtime victory over Harvard at Madison Square Gardens in New York on Saturday.

St. Denis, a Trail native and former Trail Smoke Eater, became the 24th player at the NCAA Division I level to reach 100 career points with two goals and an assist in the Bobcats’ 5-0 win over Union Thursday.

“If you look at the players on the list, there’s a ton of unreal guys from the past, and a couple I’ve played with, it’s definitely a feather in the cap for myself, and I’m pretty happy about it,” said St. Denis in a press conference. “But it’s not just me doing all the work, it’s my line-mates, my teammates, it’s everyone I’ve played with and the coaching staff.”

St. Denis has 11 goals and 14 assists for a team-high 25 points for the year and 49 goals and 52 assists for his career.

He joins Montrose twins and former Bobcats, Connor and Kellen Jones, in the 100-point club.  The 23-year-old forward played three seasons for the Smoke Eaters before going to the Penticton Vees where he led the team to an RBC Cup in 2012.

“He (St. Denis) has been a phenomenal player over his four-year career,” said Bobcat coach Rand Pecknold. “He’s great off the ice, great in the weight room, great grades, great student, so it’s been a win-win for everyone the past four years.”

The shutout win over Union was also a milestone for Michael Garteig who notched his seventh shutout of the season, breaking his single-season record of six set as a sophomore in 2013-14. It also gives him the most among all Division I goalies and 18 for his career.

On Saturday, playing under the lights of the New York Rangers’ home ice – the iconic Madison Square Gardens – Trail native Scott Davidson set up the winning goal to give Quinnipiac a 5-4 overtime win over then number-2 ranked Harvard. The point was Davidson’s ninth (4-5-9) of the season, and third in the past four games for the freshman and former Smoke Eater.

Quinnipiac had jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first period on goals from Alex Miner-Baron, T.J. Tiefenwerth, Sam Anas, and St. Denis, but Harvard battled back scoring three times in the second period and tying it midway through the third.

But two minutes and five seconds into overtime, Davidson drove to the net and tried jamming it by the Harvard goalie, the puck bounced out and onto the stick of Derek Smith who fired it into the open net.

“It’s something I’ve dreamed of, in this rink and in that situation,” Smith said. “He (Davidson) did a good job in front and the puck kind of squirted out to me. I put it right where I wanted to on net, and it went in. It was awesome.”

The win gives the Bobcats a 19-1-3 record, the best in NCAA Div. 1 hockey.

Desert Classic

The 12-7-3 Michigan Tech Huskies were triumphant in the Desert Classic on the weekend, beating number-12 ranked Yale Bulldogs 2-1 in overtime.

Former Smoke Eater captain Brent Baltus, coming off Player of the Week honours in WCHA hockey, had a goal and assist in the Huskies 4-2 semifinal victory over Connecticut on Friday.

Baltus has seven goals and 11 points for the Huskies this season, while Trail native Jake Lucchini has been good in his rookie year with three goals and eight points in 22 games. Defenceman Dane Birks, a sixth round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins and son of Beaver Valley Nitehawks assistant coach Bill Birks, has also seen more action this season after injury trouble kept him out last year.