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No. 14 Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey ties No. 13 Boston College in season opener
The Bobcats hit three posts, skate to a 1-1 tie on the road
In its first game of the regular season No. 14 Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey played to a tie against No. 13 Boston College at Conte Forum.
Quinnipiac sophomore Andrew Shortridge picked up right where he left off last season and competed with Boston College sophomore Joseph Woll (Toronto Maple Leafs’ 2016 third-round pick) throughout the night.
Shortridge stopped 24 of 25 shots for the Bobcats, while Woll made 28 of 29 saves for the Eagles.
Although there were speculations that freshman Keith Petruzzelli would open the season as the Bobcats’ starter, Pecknold and staff chose to take a different route.
“We’re fortunate to be blessed with two high-end goaltenders,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “We chose one to play tonight.”
Quinnipiac sophomore forward Alex Whelan notched the Bobcats’ only goal of the contest, while Eagles’ freshman forward Jacob Tortora tied up the game late with his first career collegiate goal.
The game went to overtime, but ended in a 1-1 tie after limited scoring chances in the extra frame of play.
“I thought it was a great college hockey game for Oct. 6,” Pecknold said. “I thought both teams battled hard, both goalies were excellent and probably the two best players on the ice.”
Just 29 seconds into the season, Quinnipiac’s penalty kill was put to its first test when junior captain Chase Priskie was called for tripping.
It was one of Quinnipiac’s three successful kills on the night and set a positive tone moving forward in the period.
While Quinnipiac’s best chance of the period came from a Whelan wrist shot off the crossbar, the Eagles found themselves with a penalty shot opportunity after junior defenseman Brandon Fortunato made a save, but covered the puck in the crease.
Boston College sophomore forward David Cotton (Carolina Hurricanes’ 2015 sixth-rounder) attempted to “Forsberg” the puck past Shortridge, but found only an extended left pad on the penalty shot.
“At that time, you can’t focus on the future, you can’t focus on the past,” Shortridge said of the penalty shot. “Just have to focus on what’s in front of me and narrowing the game.”
After the first period, the shots were knotted at nine, while the score remained deadlocked at zeros.
In the second frame of play, the Eagles came flying out of the gate.
Boston College junior captain Christopher Brown (Buffalo Sabres’ 2014 sixth-round pick) had the best chance from the slot in the opening minutes, but was robbed by Shortridge’s glove.
The even play continued from the respective No. 13 and 14 teams, until Eagles freshman Michael Karow took a penalty with 10:20 left in the period. Although it was one of Quinnipiac’s four power plays on the night, they were unable to bury any scoring chances.
With a new-look couple of units, Pecknold notes that it will take more than just five or six practices to nail down a solid power play.
“It would be nice to have five guys come back from the year before and it’s all cohesive, but it’s not,” Pecknold said. “Once you’re getting new players on both units it’s a work in progress.”
At even strength, Whelan scored the game’s first goal with just under five minutes to play in the period. On the play, freshman Odeen Tufto pushed the puck forward to Whelan who made no mistake ripping a snapshot from the top of the left circle, over the shoulder of Woll, off the bar and in.
“When you have all of the guys going to the net, it really takes away the goalie’s attention,” Whelan said on his first of the season. “It gives me a great shot to shoot where I want to.”
Heading into the third period, more of the same grittiness and equal play wes showcased from both sides.
At 15:51 in the third, the Bobcats took a too many men on the ice penalty, giving Boston College an opportunity late. A slapshot and inopportune bounce later, Tortora buried the game-tying goal past Shortridge.
“We had some bad changes and it cost us a win there at the end, but it was an honest mistake,” Pecknold said. “It’s early in the season.”
After sophomore forward Nick Jermain rattled one of three Quinnipiac shots off the iron throughout the course of the game, play headed to overtime where both sides had chances within the five minute timeframe.
Junior forward Scott Davidson came close to tipping a point shot home for Quinnipiac, while seaparate Eagles’ attempts were blocked by Whelan and sophomore defenseman Karlis Cukste.
Despite Quinnipiac’s late-game collapse, Boston College head coach Jerry York (the NCAA’s winningest active coach in college hockey) had high praises for Bobcats’ overall effort in just their third meeting ever against Boston College.
“I think Quinnipiac will be more of a staple in our schedule from now on,” York said. “The only times we’ve played them is in a Christmas tournament and a Frozen Four, but…I think we go there next year to play, so I envision that as one of our non-conference rivalry-type games as we go through the stretch here.”
Next up, Quinnipiac takes on another Hockey East foe in No. 2 Boston University. The Bobcats welcome the Terriers to Hamden for their home opener on Sunday, Oct. 8.