Redemption tasted oh-so-sweet for the Quinnipiac women's ice hockey team as junior Amanda Colin lit the lamp over eight minutes into the third overtime period to send the No. 4 seeded Bobcats past the No. 5 Saints, 3-2, and force a deciding Game Three of their ECAC Hockey Tournament Quarterfinals series on Sunday.
Colin's goal was incredibly dynamic as she toe-dragged past one defender and then beat St. Lawrence goalie Carmen MacDonald five-hole for the game-winner. Quinnipiac will now face-off against the Saints on Sunday at 2 p.m. from High Point Solutions Arena with the winner advancing to the ECAC Hockey Semifinals.
Colin's goal was her second of the night as the junior forward finished with her second career multi-goal game and the first since Nov. 19, 2010 against Colgate. Senior Kristen Eklund also found herself in the scoring column for her first goal of the season and first in 54 games as she last scored on Oct. 29, 2011 against Union. Quinnipiac's senior goalie Victoria Vigilanti flashed the leather all evening as she finished with 57 saves, tying a career-high, on 59 shots to pick up her 71st career victory.
Less than 24 hours after falling in overtime, 1-0, to St. Lawrence in Game One, the Bobcats exacted a little payback in Game Two but it certainly wasn't easy. The Bobcats held a 2-0 lead for the majority of the game until the final minute of regulation where the Saints pumped in two last-second goals with an extra skater on ice within the final 32 seconds of play.
The Bobcats jumped out in front with Eklund's goal at 10:57 in the first period. Quinnipiac began the play with a faceoff win in their own end. The puck was held up along the boards as freshman Nicole Brown dumped down to Eklund below the right faceoff dot. She fatuously threw the puck towards MacDonald hoping for a rebound opportunity for Brown but the puck happened to deflected off the shoulder of the Saint goalie and into the back of the net for the goal. It was the first tally for the Bobcats in over 80 minutes played against the Saints up to that point this weekend.
Quinnipiac later tightened their stranglehold on this game as Colin pumped in her first goal of the game at 15:52 in the second period. The play began with a Saint turnover in their defensive end. The Bobcats cycled the puck along the boards as junior Erica Uden Johansson push it to Colin who back passed to junior Shelby Wignall at the blue line. She fired a slap shot that was loose in front and eventually poked home by Colin at the doorstep to give the Bobcats a commanding 2-0 lead. Wignall's assist was her third of the season while Uden Johansson recorded her 14th helper.
With both sides executing defensively, the two-goal Bobcat lead seemed insurmountable until the final minute of regulation. The first goal came at 19:28 as the Saints' Rylee Smith scored to close the gap to 2-1. St. Lawrence won the faceoff in the Bobcats' defensive end and Kelly Sabatine twirled around several defenders before centering in front of the crease. Her pass somehow made it to Rylee Smith's stick, avoiding a deflection, and was one-timed past Vigilanti for the goal.
Still with 32 seconds remaining and the Bobcats still up 2-1, the result seemed to be in hand before the Saints struck again. With the puck scrambling around in the Bobcats' defensive end, St. Lawrence's Mel Desrochers threw the puck in front which Smith tipped up and over the sprawled Vigilanti to light the lamp with an incredible 0.2 seconds showing on the scoreboard.
Both teams were locked in a battle throughout the first two overtime periods as the shots heavily favored the Bobcats, 15-4, in the first extra frame but MacDonald was up to the task throughout the evening with a career-high 57 saves for the Saint goalie.
Vigilanti was busy throughout the second extra period as she thwarted several near-goals from St. Lawrence as the Saints carried a 14-9 shots advantage throughout the frame.
The crowd sensed a goal was close as the play was up-and-down with several close opportunities were denied by both goalies but the home crowd rose to their feet after Colin's amazing one-on-one play. Wignall made a strong defensive stand as she rode a Saint forward to the boards with the puck to limit the two-on-one rush for St. Lawrence. The Saints still possessed behind Vigilanti but the centering pass was deflected out wide to Colin who poked the puck past the lunging defender to create a one-on-one breakaway. Colin carried the puck on her forehand side and then toe-dragged right past the last Saint defender to the middle of the crease. She looked down, faked a forehand, and slid over with the backhand game-winner to lift Quinnipiac to the victory.
Several side-notes as the Saints played in the longest game in program history tonight while this was the second-longest in Quinnipiac history behind the five overtime battle against Rensselaer on Feb. 28, 2010. The Bobcats attempted 108 total shots while St. Lawrence totaled 97. Both sides played incredibly clean hockey as only four penalties were called throughout the 100-plus minute game.