No. 18 Quinnipiac outlasts No. 14/16 Northeastern for 6-4 victory

The Bobcats get outshot 41-15, but earn first road victory of the season

By on October 21, 2017

No. 18 Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey scored six goals on 15 shots to beat No. 14/16 Northeastern, 6-4 on Friday night at Matthews Arena in Boston.

Photo Courtesy of Q30 Sports
After a nightmare first two periods, — which saw Quinnipiac go down 31-9 in shots on goal — the Bobcats were able to keep up, regroup in the third period and finally close out a game in regulation. Freshman goalie Keith Petruzzelli made 37 saves on 41 shots, while 11 different skaters tallied points to propel the Bobcats to their first road win of the season.

“We didn’t play well for two periods, but we were resilient,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “It’s a nice win to get on the road against a really, really good Northeastern team.”

The tables were certainly turned in this game.

In the past, Quinnipiac (2-1-1) is typically the team that outshoots an opponent and fails to convert, but against the Huskies (2-1-1), it was quite the opposite.

At 7:39 into the first period sophomore forward Alex Whelan opened the scoring at the tail end of Quinnipiac’s first power play with a chippy wrap-around goal for his third of the season.

Despite the early goal, from there on out Northeastern flexed its offensive weapons, but couldn’t beat Petruzzelli until Huskies senior captain Nolan Stevens banged home a puck from a scramble in front.

With 33 seconds left to play, the Bobcats took a costly too many men on the ice penalty that carried over into a wild second period of play.

Just 1:22 into the second, Northeastern senior Dylan Sikura (Chicago Blackhawks’ 2014 sixth-round pick) connected on a one-timer from the top of the right dot for the Huskies’ first power play goal of the night, point No. 100 in his collegiate career and, more importantly, a 2-1 lead.

From that point on, Northeastern dominated possession and directed what seemed like an endless amount of shots towards Quinnipiac’s cage.

However, eight minutes after Northeastern’s control, senior forwards Tanner MacMaster and Landon Smith made the most out of an offensive opportunity to tie the score at 2-2. On a mini 2-on-1 break, MacMaster centered the puck to Smith who tapped home the puck for his first of the season and 99th career collegiate point.

But less than a minute later, Northeastern junior Adam Gaudette (Vancouver Canucks 2015 fifth-rounder) capitalized off of a defensive miscue behind the net and tucked home his second of the year to regain the lead.

About five minutes later, junior forward Craig Martin drew a holding penalty to put the Bobcats on their second power play of the night, in which freshman Odeen Tufto extended his point streak to four games to start the season and his collegiate career.

On his third goal of the season, Tufto showcased his poise, skill and ability to finish, while tying the game at 3-3.

Despite being heavily outshot throughout the remainder of the period, the Bobcats were able to maintain a tie score until sophomore defenseman Brogan Rafferty was called for holding with just over two minutes left to play.

Quinnipiac killed off the initial penalty, but on the same possession Sikura buried his second of the night with one second left on the clock.

Fresh off of a last second goal, a drained Quinnipiac team headed into the locker room down 4-3.

“I didn’t yell after two periods. I wasn’t happy. I was blunt,” Pecknold said. “We talked a lot about resetting and finding a way to play better and it was only a one goal game, we played poorly and we can find a way to grit out a win.”

Pecknold’s method proved to work, as less than two minutes into the third period sophomore defenseman Karlis Cukste scored a seeing-eye shot from the point to knot the game up at 4-4.

The goal gave Quinnipiac life in a time it needed a boost most.

Eight minutes later, MacMaster skated to a 1-on-2 rush entering the zone, decided to fire a puck on net and beat Northeastern’s Cayden Primeau (Montreal Canadiens’ 2017 seventh-rounder) low-blocker side.

“I kind of noticed I didn’t have much support, so I went to the outside and put a shot through a screen and luckily it went in,” MacMaster said. “I felt that it was a big goal for us and after that we controlled the pace.”

With just over five minutes left, sophomore forward Nick Jermain tallied his third assist of the game in incredible fashion. Jermain batted a puck out of mid-air to a surprised Martin, who buried his first of the season for a 6-4 lead.

Northeastern pulled its goalie with two minutes left in the game, but was unable to find daylight on Petruzzelli, as the Bobcats secured their second win of the season.

“They’re obviously a really skilled team offensively — that kid Sikura is an incredible hockey player and same with Gaudette — but I thought the boys did a pretty good job keeping [shots] to the outside,” Petruzzelli said. “It’s a big comeback win for us in the third.”

While Quinnipiac ultimately prevailed on the scoreboard, defensive adjustments will surely be made.

“I think just in general we turned the puck over a lot in the first and second and when you turn pucks over, good teams are going to make you pay for it,” Pecknold added. “We need to protect the puck better and make better decisions with it and have a lot more urgency. We got caught from behind a few times, didn’t get pucks deep, we lost races on icings, it was endless. There was a lot of little things that we did not do well tonight that typically we do do well, but again, it’s game four, so we’ve got to clean some things up and pay attention to details a little bit better.”

Quinnipiac and Northeastern will go at it again on Saturday night in the second game of the weekend series.

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