Men’s hockey drops two on road at Niagara

By on November 17, 2004

Over the summer, the ECAC nixed Niagara University’s bid to replace Vermont in the conference, eventually selecting Quinnipiac from a field of five applicants. Over the weekend, Niagara did the best it could to get revenge on the Bobcats, winning a pair of non-conference contests at Dwyer Arena. The Purple Eagles won Friday’s contest 3-1 and defeated the Bobcats again on Saturday night, 4-1.

The Bobcats entered the two-game series after a 13-day break in the schedule.

Quinnipiac had not played since Oct. 30, when they won 2-1 against Dartmouth, which was ranked 11th in the country at the time. After the losses to Niagara, Quinnipiac’s record on the season drops to 3-4.

In Friday’s game, the Bobcats fell behind after Niagara scored a pair of first-period goals in a 42-second span.

At 7:10, Marc Norrington beat senior goaltender Jamie Holden, of Telkwa, British Columbia, stick-side from between the circles. Then, captain Barret Ehgoetz jammed the puck between the post and Holden’s right pad to put Niagara ahead 2-0.

“We struggled out of the gate,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “I thought our competitiveness was good from there-on-out. We competed and played hard, but we struggled to score goals,” he said.

The Bobcats were awarded a penalty shot 7:10 into the second period after junior Michael Bordieri, of Rocky Hill, Conn., was taken down from behind on a breakaway. Bordieri could not convert, missing the net wide to the right.

In the third period, Quinnipiac finally solved Niagara goal tender Scott Mollison, who was making his collegiate debut. With 5:14 left, senior Matt Craig, of London, Ontario, scored on the power play from the right face-off circle for his team-leading third goal of the season.

Niagara added an insurance goal less than three minutes later. Justin Cross beat Holden low to the stick-side with 2:46 left in regulation. Holden made 33 saves for the Bobcats, who were outshot 36-22 in the game.

“We can’t expect Holden to be superman every night,” Pecknold said. “He’s certainly our best player, but we can’t ask him to get a shut out or give up one goal every game. We need to play better in front of him.”

The Bobcats fell behind early again in Saturday’s game, giving up a goal just 1:41 into the contest. Kris Wiebe popped a wrist shot into the upper-right corner of the net to give the Purple Eagles a 1-0 lead.

Then, at 12:02, Niagara leading scorer Ryan Gale scored his eighth goal of the season to increase the home team’s lead. After the opening 20 minutes, Niagara had built a 2-0 lead and amassed 21 shots-on-goal.

The Purple Eagles added another goal late in the second period. While on a five-on-three man advantage, Norrington beat Holden with a slap shot from the right point.

Senior forward Chris White, of Santa Ana, Calif., scored Quinnipiac’s only goal of the game 6:03 into the third period. But the Purple Eagles quickly responded as Cross pounced on a rebound and knocked it past Holden at 9:32 to finish the scoring. Niagara finished the game with 48 shots, the most allowed by the Bobcats this season.

The Bobcats will finally begin conference play this weekend with a home-and-home series with Bentley. Quinnipiac is the only Atlantic Hockey team to not have played a conference game this season. After visiting Bentley on Friday, the Bobcats will host the Falcons on Saturday in Quinnipiac’s first home game in over a month.


About Doug Manners