BELFAST, Northern Ireland – Quinnipiac freshman Nick Jermain's shootout goal against ECAC Hockey foe St. Lawrence was the difference in leading the nationally ranked No. 3 Bobcats to the 2016 Friendship Four Championship Game. The game registers as a 0-0 tie in the official standings, but the lone shootout goal sets up a matchup against Vermont at SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET for the Belpot trophy.
Jermain's goal may not count towards his statistics, but it was enough to help the Bobcats advance in the tournament. Quinnipiac goalie Chris Truehl had arguably his best game as a Bobcat after turning back all 30 of St. Lawrence's shots-on-goal for his first shutout of the season, and first as a Bobcat since transferring from Air Force before the 2015-16 season, and the fourth of his career.
QU WINS! a 1-0 shootout victory! Nick Jermain strikes for QU with a beauty of a backhand to win it for QU! pic.twitter.com/rHaWphBFhD— QU Men's Ice Hockey (@QU_MIH) November 25, 2016
Truehl was tested early as St. Lawrence peppered him with 14 shots in the first frame. Despite being outshot in the period, Quinnipiac had several scoring opportunities that featured a shot by Chase Priskie glancing off the crossbar and a failed power play.
Coming out of the first period, momentum swung Quinnipiac's way as they blasted St. Lawrence goalie Kyle Hayton with 17 shots in the middle frame while allowing just three on-goal by the Saints' offense.
Deadlocked at 0-0 heading into the final period, a back-and-forth battled ensued that was highlighted by a major penalty on St. Lawrence and a five-minute power play for the Bobcats. Despite not being able to convert on a flurry of chances, the Bobcats also clamped down on the defensive end and stifled St. Lawrence's offense that heaved 14 shots on Truehl down the stretch.
After a scoreless five-minute overtime, the enthused crowd of 5,000-plus at SSE Arena rose to their feet as Landon Smith strode to the center faceoff dot. Smith's attempt sailed wide of Hayton, setting up St. Lawrence's Drew Smolcynski. Smolcynski's bid was turned back by Truehl, who also stopped Gavin Bayreuther and finally Mike Marnell to empty the Bobcats bench in celebration.
Just prior to Marnell's denial, Jermain scored the shootout's only goal. The freshman Bobcat started out with the puck on his backhand as he carried it to the faceoff circle to Hayton's left. Once he stepped between the faceoff circle, he went to his forehand and was able to make Hayton commit before switching back to his backhand. With Hayton reeling, Jermain calmly flipped a shot past the St. Lawrence goalie to give the Bobcats the deciding marker.
Quinnipiac and Vermont will hit the ice at SSE Arena in a game that can be seen live on NESN, SNY, TSN 2 and Americansportsnet.com.