Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey strikes first in series, beats Yale 5-1

Bobcats score five unanswered goals, including four in the third period to take Game 1 of the ECAC Hockey Tournament First Round

By on March 3, 2018

Justin Cait | The Quinnipiac Chronicle
For the first time since the 2005-06 season, the Quinnipiac men’s hockey team took to the road to start the playoffs and it started off its best-of-three first round series against Yale with a 5-1 win.

“I thought it was a good win tonight, I thought it was a good battle,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “I thought we really battled and played a good honest game tonight. Good habits, kept it simple, the passion was there, the care was there. If we’re going to do that and play to our identity, we’ll win a lot of games.”

Yale (15-14-1) senior captain Ryan Hitchcock opened scoring in the first period for Yale, but that would be the last time they lit the lamp. The Bobcats (15-16-4) proceeded to score five unanswered goals, each by a different player.

Freshman forward Joe O’Connor scored his second of the season in the second period, but the Bobcats really came to life in the third period.

First, junior defenseman captain scored his 10th of the season to take gain the lead just 2:41 into the third, then McKernan scored six minutes later to extend it to 3-1. Sophomore forward Alex Whelan scored his 15th of the season on an empty-netter and junior forward Scott Davidson added a fifth goal with just 37.5 seconds left to make it 5-1.

Davidson was the only player to have a multi-point night, but that didn’t stop the production of his line with freshman forward Matt Forchuk and senior defenseman Kevin McKernan. They combined for two goals and four points on the night. In addition, Pecknold went with freshman goalie Keith Petruzzelli tonight and he got the win saving 21 shots.

“I thought he was great, he played really well,” Pecknold said. “We’re happy with his effort, I wanted to get him there last weekend, he was out sick and we’re happy to have him back.”

A big key for the No. 9 Bobcats was shutting down No. 8 Bulldogs’ top-scorer Joe Snively. Snively came into the game with 14 points in his past six games. He finished the night with no points and just two shots on goal.

“Just didn’t give him any time and space,” Priskie said. “He’d get the puck, press on him. It’s tough to make plays under pressure and he didn’t really get anything tonight. I was pretty happy with our d-corp as a whole.”

McKernan, who was back after missing for games with an injury, had a different look at the ice tonight as he was switched to forward for the game. It was only his second time playing forward as a Bobcat and his first since his sophomore season.

“I don’t mind it, running around the ice hunting a little bit, it’s a little fun,” McKernan said. “Playing with [Davidson] and [Forchuk] made it easy. A lot of talking, it was a good game overall.”

McKernan’s goal gave the Bobcats some insurance when it put the team up by two. On a team that is typically carried by its top line, McKernan notes it’s nice to get some depth scoring.

“[Senior forward Tanner McMaster] and [freshman forward Odeen] Tufto, they’re kind of leaders,” McKernan said. “So give them the night off and help out from the back end, it’s not bad.”

Megan Lowe | The Quinnipiac Chronicle
There was a good flow to the first period, but the second and the third were choppy as a result to a combined 11 penalties being assessed. Seven of those penalties were dealt to the Bobcats. While two of those penalties resulted in coincidental minors, that still left five penalties Quinnipiac took.

“For sure that’s something we have to talk about,” Priskie said. “Taking some seven penalties is unacceptable in our book and to beat a good Yale team tomorrow we’re going to have to be disciplined and come out with the same energy.”

Yale has only beaten Quinnipiac once since it shut out the Bobcats in the 2013 NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Championship game. Yale is going to need to improve if it is to stay alive in this tournament, according to head coach Keith Allain.

“We certainly have to play much better than we did tonight,” Allain said. “I didn’t think we were very good in any facet of the game so if we don’t play better then there won’t be a game three.”

The Bobcats are right back to work tomorrow night against Yale in Game 2, again at Ingalls Rink in New Haven.

“I just love beating Yale, that’s it,” Priskie said. “I just do whatever I can to chip in offensively and defensively to help the team win.”

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