What goes around comes around. After lighting up Brown for 14 goals last weekend, the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team was dominated and embarrassed in an 11-0 thrashing at the hands of Harvard in the opening game of their ECAC quarterfinal series in Cambridge, Mass.
The Bobcats have struggled defensively for more than a month, and it was never more evident than Friday night.
Jumping out to an early 2-0 lead on goals by Mike Taylor and Dave Watters in the first 5:33 of the opening period, the Crimson took that lead into the first intermission.
Harvard held a slim 14-12 shot advantage in the first period.
Both teams had chances over the first ten minutes of the second period, but it was Harvard who struck first. Dave MacDonald took the puck down the left side on a 2-on-1 break and fed a pass across the middle to Steve Rolecek, who beat Fisher to give Harvard a three goal lead midway through the second period.
Bobcats head coach Rand Pecknold said the third goal was what really turned the momentum.
“I thought we actually had an okay first (period). We gave up those two goals, just lost some battles,” Pecknold said. “The big goal was the third goal. One of my seniors blew a back check and it’s hard to win games when kids don’t buy in.”
The flood gates opened after that. The Crimson tallied two more goals on Fisher before he was pulled in favor of Pat McGann, who gave up three more goals prior to the second intermission.
It was safe to say Pecknold was not pleased with his team’s effort.
“We played poor defensively and our goaltending was really bad tonight. It was atrocious,” he said. “I wanted to get Bud out of there and let him refocus for tomorrow (Saturday) night.”
McGann surrendered two more goals, both of the power play variety, before being replaced by Dan Cullen midway through the third period.
While the Bobcats obviously struggled defensively, they were also unable to solve one of the ECAC’s best goaltenders, Kyle Richter.
Richter made 27 saves before he was called to the bench to the sound of a standing ovation, replaced by John Riley.
“We had some good chances early. We need to do a better of getting some traffic in front of him. I think if we kept it at 2-0 we would’ve scored,” Pecknold said.
The 11 goals were the most surrendered by a Bobcat squad since an 11-2 loss against Minnesota in December of 2000.
The Bobcats will look to bounce back tomorrow at 7 p.m. in Game 2 of the best-of-three series. A loss would be the end of the road for the Bobcats and Harvard would advance to ECAC Championships in Albany, N.Y next weekend.
“We have a lot of seniors. It’s basically the same team from last year. Right now, we’ve got some kids ready to go on spring break,” Pecknold said. “We can compete with Harvard. It’s a fire and desire to be successful.”