PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Saturday’s opening East Regional semifinal at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center was a match-up of two Cinderella stories. It was the top-seeded Quinnipiac Bobcats that pulled it out in the end, however, as they came back for three unanswered goals in the third period for a 4-3 victory over the Canisius Golden Griffins.
Thanks to 20 saves from senior Eric Hartzell, the Bobcats set a new program record with their 28th win, passing a 27-6-3 record in 1999-00. Quinnipiac will face the winner of a 9 p.m. game between Boston College and repeat ECAC Hockey champion Union.
Sophomore Jordan Samuels-Thomas, the Bobcats’ lone Connecticut native from Windsor, tied the score with a power-play goal at the 10:42 marker of the final period, before senior Albertan Kevin Bui put the ‘Cats ahead to stay at 14:28.
Things started off strong for QU, which earned victory over crosstown rival Yale in the ECAC third-place game but sported the top billing in the PairWise, as junior Connor Jones scored first, off a beautiful pass from behind the net from his brother Kellen, just 8:43 into the proceedings.
The Atlantic Hockey champion Griffs scored twice in the second and once in the third, including junior Kyle Gibbons' 21st of the year at 3:43 of the final stanza. Despite falling to 18-19-4 to close the season, Canisius junior Tony Capobianco made 36 saves in the contest.
Joshua Kummins covers Hockey East for SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaKummins.