Men’s ice hockey takes 3-2 win over UMass despite power-play woes

By on October 25, 2016

No. 6/7 Quinnipiac men’s hockey defeated the University of Massachusetts Minutemen 3-2 on Tuesday at High Point Solutions Arena in Hamden. While the win improves the Bobcats’ record to 4-2-1, head coach Rand Pecknold saw a few problems with the Bobcats’ performance.

img_7096Shawn Urban

“It’s a win and we’ll take it and move on,” Pecknold said. “There were a lot of great things I thought we did tonight, and then we had a lot of struggles and a lot of frustration in our game at times.”

One source of such frustration for Pecknold was the Bobcats’ power play, which has now gone 21 consecutive man advantage opportunities without posting a goal.

Pecknold shuffled his personnel around, but didn’t feel as though anything really clicked on the power play.

“Our power play needs to be better. We’ve got to work on it,” Pecknold said. “It’s been hard… We start the season and we don’t have a lot of practices, and then when you’re playing Wednesday, Saturday, and Tuesday, there’s no time.”

Pecknold and the Bobcats will take advantage of a nine-day break before travelling to Cheel Arena to square off against Clarkson in their first conference game of the year. The Golden Knights are currently 3-2-1 with a 1-2-0 home record.

“We’ve got a little bit of a lull to work on our power play and work on our five on three,” Pecknold said. “We’ve got good players. I just think we’ve got to figure out the right combinations. And I think also we’re getting our power plays and we’re playing frustrated.”

Pecknold is still searching for a way to replace some big names on his power-play unit, which held the fourth-best power play percentage in the country last year.

“I think our problem is Devon [Toews], Sam [Anas] and [Travis St. Denis] are gone and those three guys were elite,” he said. “The problem we have right now is we have a lot of net-front, power forward kind of players… and we don’t really have a lot of Travis St. Denises that can run the half wall, so we might have to figure out a way to adjust and adapt.”

Despite their power-play struggles, the Bobcats dominated the first period in shots 20-9 and came out leading by a goal.

Tommy Schutt struck first for the Bobcats, jumping on a rebound in front with 9:21 remaining in the first period. Alex Whelan and Bo Pieper picked up assists on the play.

Pieper followed up his assist with a goal of his own on a bar-down wrist shot in four-on-four play with 5:50 left in the first. He was set up by Brogan Rafferty.

img_4483Madeleine Hayes

The Minutemen answered with a goal from Ryan Badger with 1:49 remaining in the period. Badger picked up his first goal of the season on a cut to the front from behind the net, stuffing the puck past the pad of Chris Truehl.

At the end of the second, Quinnipiac led Massachusetts 31-13 in shots on net, with a 54-22 lead in shots attempted. However, thanks to freshman Jack Sutter, the Minutemen found themselves in a 2-2 tie.

Sutter, playing in his first NCAA game, buried a rebound goal with 7:51 remaining in the second period.

Getting shots on net was a major point of emphasis for the Bobcats after their 3-0 loss to Boston University on Saturday, according to Pieper. When outshooting a team by a wide margin, but not reaping the rewards on the scoreboard, Pieper said the plan was to just keep shooting.

“The last few games, we haven’t gotten as many shots on net as we hoped for,” Pieper said. “But everyone’s an experienced player and we know that in some games, pucks go in and in some games, pucks don’t. So we knew if we just kept getting shots, then eventually one would find it’s way in.”

That’s exactly what happened for the Bobcats when Tanner MacMaster fired a shot across Nic Reynard’s body on a three-on-two rush with 7:03 remaining in the game. The shot from the right faceoff dot beat Reynard over the pad on his blocker side to win the game for the Bobcats.

Chris Truehl picked up the win for Quinnipiac, getting the nod after Andrew Shortridge’s 3-0 loss to Boston University. Truehl made 17 saves on 19 shots as his record improved to 3-1-1.

As the Bobcats picked up the win, it certainly wasn’t all criticism from Pecknold after the game.

“I thought there was a lot of things we were great at tonight,” Pecknold said. “I thought we hunted the puck well, we had good effort and support on the forecheck, and our [defense] worked well.”

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Class of 2019