As Quinnipiac faced their arch-rival Yale in one of their biggest games this season, the Bobcats hoped they could repeat their stunning success from previous years in which they compiled a 5-0-1 record against Yale. Unfortunately, due to ineffective clearing, the Bobcats (14-10-2, 7-5-2 ECAC) succumbed to constant pressure in the form of 28 shots, three of which slipped past freshman goaltender Dan Clarke en route to a 3-0 loss at the hands of the Bulldogs (15-5-1, 10-3-1 ECAC).
Both the Bulldogs and the Bobcats came out strong, seeking vengeance. Due to the nature of this rivalry, tensions rose as the Bulldogs and Bobcats combined for 25 penalties, including a 10-minute game misconduct by each side.
With 3:39 left in the first period, Broc Little was on a breakaway toward the Bobcat goal and Sami Liimatainen came in and got his stick in front of the puck to slow the momentum down. As he was falling to the ice, Little ripped a shot towards the upper left corner of the goal. Bobcat goalie Dan Clarke made a glove-stop and saved what was to be the Bulldogs first goal of the game. Liimatainen was called for holding, but he stopped Little from driving all the way to the goal.
However, less than a minute later, sophomore Zach Hansen made a drive towards the Bulldog goal. Hansen skated towards the left side of the goal and made Bulldog goalie Alec Richards come out for the puck. As Richards was diving for the puck, Hansen pulled the puck out and tried to squeak it in the lower left corner of the goal. While Richards was down, he got the top of his skate in the way of the goal and kept the game tied at zero apiece.
Tensions continued to mount when players returned for the second period of action. Four minutes into the period, Bulldog senior Patrick Brosnihan ripped a shot from just in front of the blue line and beat Clarke to the top left corner, putting the Bulldogs on the board. Freshman Charles Brocklett and Chad Ziegler assisted the goal.
With 7:11 left in the period, Mark Arcobello unleashed a shot from the same spot as Brosnhian and again beat Clarke, putting the Bulldogs up by two. Junior Tom Dignard and Sean Backman assisted the goal.
A minute after the Bulldogs scored their second goal, Dignard was hit and dropped at mid-ice by a Quinnipiac player. The retaliation continued seconds later when junior Greg Holt and Yale junior Ryan Donald went at it behind the Yale goal. Gloves and helmets came off, and when everything was sorted out, they both received 10-minute game misconduct penalties.
Action continued with 4:54 left in the period when the Bobcats’ junior Mike Atkinson and Bulldogs’ Arcobello received roughing penalties. As soon as the penalties were committed, Bulldog freshman Brian O’Neil was called for cross-checking. With emotions flying, both teams continued to drive towards each other’s goals, but neither team scored.
The Bobcats continued to pressure the Bulldogs in the third period, but could not produce anything. The Bobcats had a flurry of shots in the beginning of the third period, but none were able to squeak by Bulldog goalie Alec Richards.
“I think we thought we had a real shot there in the third period especially when we had those power plays, but we didn’t execute,” associate head coach Ben Syer said. “We didn’t work hard enough away from the puck to create chances, you know, we had 31 shots on net here tonight. I think Richards saw just about everyone of them, but yeah, we didn’t screen them.”
With 14:14 remaining in the period, sophomore Zach Hansen passed the puck to Jean-Mark Beaudoin, who was wide open by the left post of the goal. Beaudoin flicked the puck up, but Richards was able to get his glove out and deflect it above the goal.
Nevertheless, the Bulldogs struck again, skating through the zone with ease. Little skated through two Bobcat defenders on the left side of the goal, got the puck and faked a shot, then proceded to skate right across the goalmouth through traffic and finally, backhanded the puck into net on the inside of the right post with 11:18 remaining in the game.
Quinnipiac continued to pound the net, posting 31 shots on the night, but nothing was able to make it into the back of the net. With about seven minutes, fans started to leave, and the Yale pep band become more vocal with their cheers. By the time the game ended, Yale was busy celebrating its first victory over Quinnipiac in three years.
“I think they [the Yale defense] did a good job of boxing out,” Syer said. “I think we knew that we needed to get greasy goals here tonight, but we didn’t have anybody around the crease on a consistent basis to make that happen.”
The Bobcats are on the road this weekend at Cornell and Colgate to finish up their four-game road trip.