Six-game skid leaves Bobcats unranked
Once ranked as high as fourth in the nation, the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team slipped out of the top 20 after suffering through six straight losses over winter break – the last two coming against the No. 14 St. Cloud State Huskies over the weekend at the TD Bank Sports Center.
Quinnipiac managed just one goal in six of its eight games before Saturday night’s 3-2 loss and was held scoreless by St. Cloud goaltender Mike Lee until the third period. Lee finished with 33 saves.
Lee’s counterpart, Dan Clarke, kept St. Cloud off the scoreboard through the first period, but the Huskies broke through in the second with three goals.
St. Cloud forward David Eddy had two goals that went in after deflecting off Clarke, but defenseman Brett Barta’s one-timed slap shot from in front of the blue line went untouched and rocketed in the top shelf.
“We obviously had a lull in the second period, but we battled back,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “We had our chances. (Sean) Coughlin’s wide open and Lee makes an unbelievable diving stop and (Eric) Lampe rips one off the crossbar with 15 seconds left when he’s got Lee beat.
With St. Cloud leading 3-0, sophomore forward Scott Zurevinski put the Bobcats on the board 1:34 into the third period. Senior forward Greg Holt cracked a shot off Lee’s pads, and Zurevinski was there for the rebound and flicked it in the upper-left corner.
“We just focused on getting the first one,” Pecknold said. “I give my guys credit. They didn’t roll over and die; they just fell a little bit short.”
Zurevinski helped make it a one-goal deficit on a power play shortly after Pecknold called a timeout with six minutes left.
“I wanted to make sure we set up exactly what we wanted to do and it certainly panned out,” Pecknold said.
Zurevinski passed the puck from the right side of the crease to the left side, feeding senior captain Jean-Marc Beaudoin who flicked it over Lee’s stick.
Pecknold pulled goalie Mathieu Cadieux, who replaced Clarke in the final period, with under a minute to play. With the extra man, Lampe gathered a loose puck near the far faceoff circle, fired a shot that got past Lee, but caromed off the crossbar. After a faceoff with 10.4 seconds left, Quinnipiac made a desperation shot that was easily blocked and time expired.
“It was a little bit of us not finishing and a little of bit of St. Cloud getting great goaltending,” Pecknold said. “It is what it is and we’ve got to find a way to start scoring some goals.”
Quinnipiac had outshot the Huskies in the first period 12-4 and seemed determined to stop its losing trend. Quinnipiac’s best scoring chance of the period came with three minutes remaining when freshman defenseman Mike Dalhuisen led a two-on-one. He opted to take it in himself but his quick wrist shot from the point didn’t get the job done.
“When you hit a hot goalie, there’s not much you can do,” Beaudoin said. “We just have to find our confidence back. There’s still a lot of hockey left.”
Quinnipiac (13-9-1) hosts Niagara (6-13-2) at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday before finishing the season with eight ECAC Hockey games.