PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Nationally-ranked No. 14 Quinnipiac men's ice hockey outlasted No. 6 Boston College 3-1 in the first game of the 2016 Three Rivers Classic at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The win snaps a three-game losing streak for the Bobcats and advances Quinnipiac to the tournament championship game on Friday, Dec. 30 at 7:30 p.m. Quinnipiac improves to 11-7-2 on the season while Boston College drops to 13-7-1 to open the second half of the season.
Bo Pieper had a goal and an assist to lead the Bobcats while Tanner MacMaster and Craig Martin also scored for the Bobcats. Quinnipiac was 2-for-5 on the power play, as Pieper and Martin's goals both came with a man advantage, while also going 4-for-4 on the penalty kill. Chris Truehl stopped 21 of Boston College's 22 shots-on-goal.
Quinnipiac doubled-up BC on shots in the first period, posting 10 to the Eagles' five through the first frame, but it was a penalty shot by Austin Cangelosi that stood as the first scoring opportunity of the game. After officials ruled that Kevin McKernan (MIllbury, Massachusetts) pulled Cangelosi down, it gave BC the first shot to draw blood. Cangeloi stick-handled his way up-ice and attempted to beat Truehl five-hole, but the Bobcats' goalie denied the Eagles' assistant for an early statement.
In the second, MacMaster scored his fifth of the season to give the Bobcats and early lead. MacMaster has been in-and-out of the Bobcats' line-up over the last two months, missing eight games through the end of November and again to wrap-up the first half of the season. MacMaster returned from a five-game stint on the injured reserve to score early in a 4-1 win against Princeton before scoring in his return against Rensselaer on Dec. 2. He would leave that game early and would not return until the Bobcats' match-up against BC - scoring in his second-straight game to give Quinnipiac a 1-0 lead. MacMaster's goal came off a hustle play by Pieper who won a battle along the boards and played the puck up to McKernan at the point. McKernan bombed a shot on goal that landed on MacMaster's stick on the rebound before he flipped the puck past Eagles' goalie Ryan Edquist.
Quinnipiac held the lead until the closing seconds of the middle period when Cangelosi and Graham McPhee were handed a two-on-none break-away. McPhee and Cangelosi played the puck back-and-forth after Cangelosi picked up the loose puck just over center ice. Cangelosi took a pass from McPhee in the slot and faked a shot on Truehl before handing the puck back to McPhee for the one-timer to tie the game at 1-1.
LIVE PRESS CONFERENCE: Craig Martin, Chris Truehl, and Rand Pecknold. https://t.co/I1GDaIHKIX— QU Men's Ice Hockey (@QU_MIH) December 30, 2016
Quinnipiac scored twice in the third period, in a span of four minutes to skate away with a two-goal victory. Martin's power-play goal came eight minutes into the period when Tim Clifton (Matawan, New Jersey) punched the puck behind the BC goal to K.J. Tiefenwerth. Tiefenwerth maneuvered around the Boston College net before slipping the puck to Martin in the face-off circle. Martin's one-timer found the opposite post and pushed Quinnipiac out in front, 2-1.
Less than five minutes later, Pieper scored his career-best seventh goal of the season to give Quinnipiac a 3-1 lead with less than half of a period to play. Chase Priskie (Pembroke Pines, Florida) handled the puck in front of the BC bench before rimming it around the Boston College zone to Landon Smith (Greenwood Village, Colorado) on the other side of the ice. Smith walked in on goal before sending the puck to Pieper who was camped out on the opposite face-off dot for the one-timer. For Smith, he now has a point in three consecutive games and has accumulated a goal and six assists in his last five games.
Quinnipiac is back in action on Friday, Dec. 30 when it plays for the 6th Annual Three Rivers Classic Championship at 7:30 p.m. at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.