PITTSBURGH -- The Quinnipiac Bobcats have been the top-ranked team in the nation for months, and in the first period of their first Frozen Four, they showed exactly why. QU stormed out to a 3-0 lead over the WCHA regular-season champion St. Cloud State Huskies on goals from Jordan Samuels-Thomas, Ben Arnt and Jeremy Langlois.
St. Cloud generated plenty of its own chances in the period, but Quinnipiac goaltender Eric Hartzell made a number of huge stops and got a little bit of good luck here and there as well to keep the Huskies off the board.
Samuels-Thomas scored on the power play just 1:49 into the period on a weak wrap-around try that snuck behind St. Cloud goalie Ryan Faragher. A little over three minutes later Arnt followed up with the Bobcats second goal, and senior Jeremy Langlois scored his 100th career point when he stepped out of the penalty box and poked a rebound past Faragher at the 11:19 mark.
The period was a microcosm of what Quinnipiac's done well all year. The Bobcats are a speedy team that capitalizes on their chances, and it was clear that SCSU was a step behind every time the Bobcats had the puck in the offensive end of the ice. QU also leaned heavily on Hartzell, and even though the defense made several mistakes with the puck, their goalie was able to bail them out and keep the Huskies scoreless.
It doesn't look good for St. Cloud after one period considering Quinnipiac is the best defensive team in the country. They've given up four goals just a handful of times this season, and all but one of those games were blowout losses. St. Cloud will need to get some luck on their bounces and will need to hope Hartzell stumbles if they want to meet Yale in the national championship game on Saturday.