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Wong working wonders for Bobcats
POSTED 11/17/06 at 11:45 p.m.
NORTH BRANFORD – When the Quinnipiac men’s hockey team signed Brandon Wong, it knew it had landed a talented offensive player. Wong hasn’t disappointed on that end – he leads the Bobcats in goals and points.
What has been a pleasant surprise is Wong’s defensive game. Just 11 games into his collegiate career, he has become one of the Bobcats’ best penalty killers.
Wong showcased his all-around skills tonight, figuring in all three goals and playing a key role in the Bobcats’ perfect penalty killing as Quinnipiac defeated Colgate, 3-1, at the Northford Ice Pavilion.
“(Wong) is on his way to becoming a complete player,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “He definitely was great offensively and we knew that. We were trying to get him to round out his game and it’s happened pretty quickly.”
The Bobcats, who are 3-1-1 in the ECACHL and 6-3-2 overall, host Cornell tomorrow night. Colgate, the top pick in the coaches and media pre-season polls, dropped to 0-4-1 in the ECAC and remains the only team in the league without a conference win.
Wong was paired fellow freshman Jean-Marc Beaudoin to form Quinnipiac’s top forward penalty killing unit in the game. The Bobcats killed off all eight Colgate power plays.
Although Wong tallied 128 points in junior hockey last season, playing on the penalty kill isn’t new to him.
“In my minor hockey days, I was pretty much a checker with some skills as well, but I didn’t score as much,” Wong said. “Now, it’s all coming out and the two-way play is showing.”
With Michael Bordieri, one of the team’s best defensive forwards, out indefinitely with an injury and forward Mark Nelson moved back to defense, the Bobcats are without two of their top forward penalty killers. That makes Wong’s strong defensive play even more important for Quinnipiac.
“He’s got the full package, so we can use him on both ends, the power play and penalty kill,” forward Ben Nelson said.
The Bobcats took the first 17 shots in the game and had a 20-6 advantage after the first period, but went into the second period scoreless.
“It’s a little frustrating, but I knew if we kept working hard, goals would come,” Wong said.
Quinnipiac finally solved Colgate goaltender Mark Dekanich midway through the second period on its 25th shot of the game. Wong teamed up with Ben Nelson on the goal, which came just 11 seconds after the Bobcats finished killing a penalty in which Wong blocked multiple shots.
Wong skated the puck into the left corner and fired the puck into the lower right circle to an open Nelson, who beat Dekanich (38 saves) with a shot over his left shoulder.
The Bobcats took a 2-0 lead with 8:56 left in the third period. David Marshall, who is second on the team in goals with eight, scored on a rebound to the right of Dekanich for the power-play goal.
Colgate ruined the shutout bid for Quinnipiac goalie Bud Fisher (26 saves) when it scored with 37.3 seconds left in regulation, but Wong’s clearing shot from along the left boards in the Quinnipiac zone sailed into the empty net with 10.5 seconds remaining to ensure a win for the Bobcats.
Quinnipiac is still unbeaten in ECAC games at Northford with a 5-0 record. Tomorrow’s opponent, Cornell, is the only team in the conference that the Bobcats have never defeated.