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‘Cats Q-Cup champs
The Quinnipiac University Bobcats have won the Quinnipiac Cup. By beating American International College 9-2 on Oct. 19, the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team captured its fifth Quinnipiac Cup in seven years.
Junior standout Ryan Morton won the tournament’s MVP award with a hat trick in the championship game versus AIC. Morton totaled five points in the tournament, scoring a goal and notching an assist in the first game against the Bentley Falcons.
In their first game of the Q-Cup the Bobcats faced a severely out-matched Bentley squad, who came with a new coach behind the bench. Expecting to defeat the Falcons with ease, the Bobcats became complacent and saw themselves up by a score of 2-1 late in the second period.
Morton, who was playing in his first game back since having his knee scoped just eight days earlier, put the finishing touches on the Falcons half-way through the third period for the 3-1 victory.
On Saturday the Cats sought to play a tighter game and finish their chances, according to head coach Rand Pecknold. They did exactly that by converting their first two power play opportunities.
Senior Brian Herbert put Quinnipiac up 1-0 in the first period on a power play just three minutes in. Morton scored the first of his three goals on the next man-up opportunity for the Bobcats.
In the second frame, captain Dan Ennis and forward Craig Falite each contributed to the Bobcat cause. Falite netted two in the period while Ennis put one behind the AIC goaltender with a blistering slapshot from the point.
In the final period, the right-handed Morton capped a splendid game by scoring his third goal with a lefty stick in the final seconds, improving Quinnipiac’s record to 3-1.
“It’s been typical of the way things have been going,” said Pecknold. “Ryan [Morton] ran to the bench because he broke his stick and grabbed a lefty one, and he scored.”
The Quinnipiac Cup has been an ongoing tradition for seven years now and has been largely dominated by the Bobcats. Their record in the tournament is 10-1-1.
This year, however, there was a new addition to the Northford Ice Pavilion in the form of the “Crazy Cats” fan club. Students are encouraged to join the club and will receive a complimentary t-shirt after they pay a membership fee.
“We started the club to get the students more involved in the games,” said Emilio Sarullo, director of Public Relations of the Crazy Cats. “Last year at the NCAA tournament we saw how other schools do it. We want to get that started here.”
Quinnipiac University is hoping that the success of the hockey team will bring out new fans and faculty alike.
“We can feel a lot of energy and excitement,” said Pecknold. “Our players thrive on that type of enthusiasm and it will only get better.”