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Men host Mercyhurst over the weekend
The two games could not have been any different. Friday’s game was a 4-3 nail-biter. Saturday’s was a 7-2 blowout. But both victories last weekend at home over Mercyhurst College were equally important for the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team, which extended its winning streak to six games.
“I thought we played with confidence [both nights,] which is something we were lacking a bit earlier in the year,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pencknold said. “We’ve certainly garnered it now with this winning streak, and confidence is a big part of being successful.”
The wins allowed the Bobcats [9-4-2 in conference play] to leap over two teams and into sole possession of third place in the Atlantic Hockey standings. Quinnipiac is just three points behind league-leading Canisius, a team it has three games in hand on and plays twice at home later this month.
Freshman forward Ben Nelson, of Spokane, Wash., continued to put rubber in the back of the net as he scored two goals on Friday and tallied a hat trick the following night. Nelson, the reigning Atlantic Hockey Player of the Week, now ranks second on the team in goals with ten despite missing the team’s first 11 games due to an injury he suffered over the summer.
“We got him to score goals and he’s been doing that,” Pecknold said. “The injury really set him back with the conditioning, so he’s just getting up to speed.”
Senior forward Craig Falite, of Billerica, Mass., scored on his rebound to record the game-winning goal with 3:45 remaining in regulation in Friday’s see-saw game. Nelson had Quinnipiac’s first two goals of the game, while freshman forward Mark Van Vliet, of Dorchester, Ont., netted a third-period goal for the Bobcats.
On Saturday, Quinnipiac’s power play produced four goals on eleven opportunities as the Bobcats scored seven goals for the first time in nearly two years. After neither team scored in the opening 14 minutes, the Bobcats scored three goals in a span of 5:16 to take a 3-0 lead into the first intermission.
The Bobcats added a pair of goals in both the second and third period. Sophomore defenseman Reid Cashman, of Red Wing, Minn., finished with a career-high four assists, while three others players each added a pair of helpers.
Senior goaltender Jamie Holden, of Telkwa, British Columbia, was between the pipes for the Bobcats in both games.
Quinnipiac plays again on Friday when it hosts American International College at 7:00 p.m.