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Bobcats tie, retain “Heroes Hat” award
The Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team may not have won the game on Saturday, but they were still winners. The Bobcats tied the University of Connecticut, 2-2, at the Northford Ice Pavilion on Saturday night, but won the season series, 1-0-2, to take the “Heroes Hat” award for the third consecutive season.
The “Heroes Hat” award was established by Quinnipiac University and the University of Connecticut to honor all of those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. The award remembers Joseph Mascali (FDNY/Staten Island 5), father of Quinnipiac junior Chris and graduate Jenn, and at Connecticut the award honors Amy Jarret, a flight attendant (United 175) and sister of former UConn player Matt Jarret.
The Mascali family was at the game and participated in an on-ice ceremony following the match-up to present the award to Quinnipiac. The “Heroes Hat” was donated by Rescue Company 5 and has Joseph Mascalli’s badge and company number displayed on it.
“I just hope that when people see this award, they think about the people that did lose their lives on September 11,” widow Lori Mascali said. “It should also be a reminder of how we should cherish every day and really unwrap it like it’s a special gift.”
The “Heroes Hat” award has added to the already strong rivalry between the two intrastate rivals. Last year, the two teams played the third and decisive game of the season series at Madison Square Garden. A crowd of 2,112, the largest ever for a Quinnipiac home sports event, showed up for the first Division I college hockey game to be played at the Garden since 1977.
“We take a lot of pride in [the award],” said red shirt senior captain Mark Hallam, of Medicine Hat, Alberta. “September 11 is a very memorable date for many people, so it was great for us to bring it home.”
The Bobcats won the first meeting of the season, 4-2 at home, on Halloween evening. The two clubs tied a few weeks later, 1-1, at Storrs, setting the stage for Saturday’s showdown.
Looking to end a two-game home winless streak (0-1-1), the Bobcats took control of the game early, outshooting the Huskies, 10-2, in the first eleven minutes of the opening period.
But the Bobcats could not put the puck past UConn goalie Scott Tomes until junior Matt Froelich, of Apple Valley, Minn., picked up a loose puck in the right face-off circle and scored at 11:14. Junior Matt Craig, of London, Ontario, and senior Ryan Morton, of Hampden, Mass., tallied the assists on the goal.
The Huskies stormed back in the second period with two goals to take the lead. Matthew Scherer scored at 1:38 to knot the score at 1-1. Then, at 8:41, Scott McDougall followed up on Brian Burns’ shot from along the right boards and knocked the rebound past Quinnipiac junior goalie Jamie Holden, of Telkwa, British Columbia.
“To come out in the second, we got a tough break on their first goal,” Hallam said. “The ice was a little wet and [the puck] hopped over one of our guy’s stick.”
Quinnipiac answered midway through the third period with Hallam’s third goal of the season while the teams were skating four-on-four. Freshman defenseman Reid Cashman, of Red Wing, Minnesota, kept the puck in at the right point and flipped a centering pass to Hallam, who deflected the puck over Tomes’ shoulder. Cashman leads the team in assists with 17.
The Huskies went on the power play with 5:21 left, but Holden, who made 27 saves overall, stopped both shots he faced to keep the score deadlocked at 2-2. The Bobcats then went up a man with 2:24 remaining, but a cross-checking minor on Morton :44 later negated the Quinnipiac man advantage.
Goals have not come easy this season for the Bobcats, and Saturday’s contest was no different. After scoring a season-high six goals at AIC on Friday, the Bobcats managed only two goals on 39 shots versus the Huskies.
“Our big line of Craig, Froelich, and Morton are getting golden opportunities,” Hallam said. “They’re scoring for us, but they’re getting frustrated. But it’s going to come for them and that’s good.”
The Bobcats will attempt to finish out the home portion of their schedule this weekend on a high note. On Friday, they host Bentley, and on Saturday the first-place Holy Cross Crusaders visit Quinnipiac for the second time this year.