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Hockey has rough road trip out west
The Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team was on the road this past weekend as they traveled out west to face the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO.
The first game of the weekend was on Friday, February 14th, but both teams showed little affection for one another, in fact the first period was filled with four roughing calls and two slashing minors.
Despite the physical play, the Bobcats got off to a great start scoring just 31 seconds into the game. Matt Froehlich redirected a shot from the point off the stick of Tom Watkins giving the Bobcats the 1-0 lead.
The Bobcats continued to crash the Air Force net early in the first period as they tallied their second goal at 4:38. Chris White took a routine shot that was deflected by the Falcon’s Brain Reaney in front, who changed the direction of the puck as it trickled past the Air Force goaltender Mike Polidor.
Quinnipiac with the 2-0 lead looked very sharp in the first period and the Bobcats were beaming with confidence.
Coming into the game the Bobcats were 14-0-1 when scoring first, this record and the Bobcats confidence would both falter over the next 5 periods.
As the second period began Air Force showed a strong resolve as they got them selves right back in the game when Spanky Leonard scored Air Force’s first goal of the game. Leonard took a quick shot that beat Quinnipiac goalie Justin Eddy as it snuck between Eddy’s pads and into the net.
Chris White was one of the few Bobcats who had a strong weekend as he scored his second goal of the night in the second period. Then at the 13:32 mark of the second period Kyle Fransdal pounded home a lose rebound.
Fransdal stickhandled behind the net and wrapped the puck around the net and beat Justin Eddy cutting the Bobcats lead back to a goal.
The lead would not last for long as the Falcons tied the game at 13:32 when Spanky Leonard scored his second goal of the night for Air Force to tie the game 3-3.
The Falcons captured the momentum and the lead with a goal 27 seconds after the game-tying goal.
The third period provided chances for the Bobcats to tie the game, but Air Force’s Ryan Wiggins scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal at 3:39.
Quinnipiac’s Chris White capped of the scoring with his third goal of the night and the fourth and final goal of the game for the Bobcats.
The Falcon’s Mike Polidor made 33 saves in the 5-4 win for Air Force.
On Saturday night the Bobcats started out the same way first. This time it was defenseman, Dan Rossi on a blast form the point on the power play that gave the Bobcats the 1-0 lead at 16:41 of the first period.
However, the Bobcats had trouble holding the lead for the second night in a row.
With three seconds left in the period Air Force’s Ryan Wiggins picked up an errand pass, as he stood all alone and beat Jamie Holden to tie the game at one goal apiece.
The second period again proved to be the Bobcats downfall.
With the Air Force campus located 7,000 feet above sea level the air was very thin and the Quinnipiac players all tried to keep hydrated over the three day span in the rockies.
“Other teams come in here and don’t have a problem with it Air Force came in here and they were hungry and they were the better team tonight,” said head coach Rand Pecknold.
This time Jamie Holden was the Quinnipiac net minder who had trouble between the pipes and wore down in second period.
Just 3:07 into the period Scot Zwiers took advantage on the Falcons power play and Carson Strang added the third goal for the Falcons just 33 seconds later.
The Bobcats tried to come back in the second with some fortitude as Matt Froehlich scored at 8:29 mark to bring the Bobcats within a goal.
But before the period came to a close Air Force found the back of the net again at 17:48 when Steve Cook beat Jamie Holden to give Air Force a 4-2 lead.
In the third period the Falcons put the nail in the coffin just 2:57 into the period when Tom Starkey provided the fifth goal for Air Force on an assist from Steve Cook.
The Falcons kept pressuring the Bobcats, Brian Reaney 16:27 closed the scoring with Air Force’s sixth and final goal to give the Falcons the 6-2 victory.
After both games the team left Colorado Springs, CO with two tough losses.
“We just really played awful both nights, it certainly is disappointing,” said Pecknold.
There were some positives out of the trip out west. Players got to know each other better over the three-day span and some of the sophomores and freshman experienced life on the road.
“A lot of our guys are from Canada and they got to see their parents, I guess we will have to wait and see if this trip helps make us a better hockey team,” said Pecknold.
Chris White had the best weekend as he registered a hat trick on Friday and if he gets hot, he could play an important role with the playoffs right around the corner.
But before the Bobcats can look ahead to March, they will travel to Holy Cross on Thursday.
The team returns home for an early 4 o’clock start on Saturday against the same Crusaders.
After a winless weekend at Air Force, the Bobcats will try to respond this weekend, if anything maybe the trip out west was a wake up call.