Quinnipiac men’s hockey continued to have defensive troubles as they hosted Robert Morris for two games last weekend. After the Bobcats posted a 5-4 victory Friday night and achieved several milestones along the way, the Colonials (5-12-4) came back to bury the Bobcats (13-9-2) 8-5 Saturday night.
After holding the lead through the first two periods on Saturday, the Bobcats gave up a late, second period goal and entered the third period tied 3-3. It did not take long from there for the game to fall apart for Quinnipiac.
Colonials’ Cody Crichton sparked the scoring frenzy with 16:58 remaining in the final period. Less than two minutes later, the Bobcats had given up three more goals and found themselves staring at a 7-3 deficit. Robert Morris scored five goals overall in the third period. The final goal for Robert Morris also gave senior Chris Margott a hat trick for the night.
“It’s definitely not the third period you want to start off with,” Bobcats right wing Jean-Marc Beaudoin said. “It just seems like the last four or five games we’ve been playing well offensively, but defensively we’ve just been.subpar.”
Quinnipiac started off the game on the right foot, with freshman Scott Zurevinski scoring the first goal of the game at 6:09. Fellow freshman Spencer Heichman sent a pass from the left side over to Zurevinski, leaving the right side of the net wide open for a shot.
Robert Morris responded quickly, netting their first point of the night on a power play. Sophomore Nathan Longpre took a pass from Margott and shot it over Bobcat goalie Bud Fisher for the score.
Beaudoin brought the lead back to the Bobcats on a power play with 1:20 remaining. They scored once more in the second period with a goal from David Marshall, who extended his point-scoring streak to 17 games. Quinnipiac then proceeded to allow six unanswered goals by Robert Morris. Head coach Rand Pecknold cited a lack of defensive consistency as the cause of their recent struggles.
“I thought defensively we struggled.we gave up too many shots,” Pecknold said. “I think we gave up four empty-net goals tonight. You’ve got to be in the net to contest the goal.”
The Bobcats attempted to stage a comeback later in the third period, as Beaudoin scored his second goal of the night with 11:50 left. Senior Christ Myers followed up with another score at 8:40 to get within two, but Robert Morris’ Margott sealed the game with less than 30 seconds remaining.
Going back to Friday night, the Bobcats were coming off a tough series against Niagara where they allowed nine goals in two games. They hoped to rebound against the Colonials, as they held a 6-1-1 record against them coming into the weekend.
The game started out much different then Saturday, as the Bobcats came out of the gate looking sluggish. Longpre scored the only goal of the period, giving the Colonials a 1-0 edge heading into the second.
“I thought we were flat,” Pecknold said. “There is no middle ground for us.”
This proved to be true for the Bobcats, as they came into the second period looking like a much different team. Less than 30 seconds into the period, freshman Yuri Bouharevich scored his second goal of the season to tie the game. Eric Lampe contributed another score at the 16:18 mark and the Bobcats took a 2-1 lead.
Robert Morris tied the game at two at the 13:07 mark, a theme which continued throughout the game. The teams exchanged leads several times, but Robert Morris eventually fell behind.
“It was a back-and-forth hockey game and both teams made mistakes,” Robert Morris head coach Derek Schooley said. “Every time we responded .they got a quick goal.”
Marshall scored the winning goal in the third period. While on a power play, Senior Dan Henningson fed the puck to Marshall, who fired a shot from the left face-off circle to make the game 5-3. The goal was Marshall’s third point of the night and brought him to 30 on the season.
Leitch also contributed three assists on the night. With that feat, he became the fifth player in Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey history to record 50 goals and 100 assists. His 150 total points are good for seventh all-time. Both Leitch and Marshall insisted that the teams’ struggles were more important than individual achievements.
“Me and Bryan don’t treat ourselves any different than the rest of the team,” Marshall said. “Lately I’ve been struggling defensively.and I care about that right now.”
Brandon Wong joined the scoring festivities with an assist in the first period. He reached 99 career points before being taken out later in the game.
The Bobcats now have to look forward to a four-game road trip against strong conference opponents. They will have to leave their defensive problems behind them.
“I think the whole weekend we were just poor defensively,” Leitch said. “We’re lacking that killer instinct right now.”
The team hopes to find that instinct when they travel to Brown on Friday.