Bobcats beat Yale

Joe Addonizio

After an embarrassing 6-1 loss last year at the TD Bank Arena, Quinnipiac got revenge Friday night. The Bobcats defeated No. 20 Yale 2-1 for the first time at the Ingalls Rink in New Haven since February 2008.

“We wanted to get points today, a tie or win and we got the two which is huge on the road,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “Ultimately I made sure my guys are focused, played hard and played our system. I don’t think it was a perfect game or our best game. I think we probably lacked a bit of poise at times but the kids competed. They played with urgency and we found a way, which is really good.”

[media-credit id=1459 align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]Quinnipiac goalie Eric Hartzell recorded 24 saves, including 10 in the third period.

“He had a couple great saves and we got lucky with a couple of posts, but on the flip side, Connor hit both posts on his shot,” Pecknold said. “We had our chance to score a few more goals in the game and that didn’t happen but it was a good road win, we battled hard and beat a good team today.”

Jeff Malcolm had 23 saves for the Bulldogs.

Quinnipiac (12-7-4, 4-4-3 ECAC) got on the board first, late in the first period. Cory Hibbeler won the draw and kicked the puck over to Zack Currie. Currie then went end to end and flipped the puck over to Kevin Bui to the left of the crease, who deflected the puck past Yale goaltender Jeff Malcolm.

Yale (7-6-1, 4-3-0 ECAC), who ranked No. 1 in the country in penalty killing coming into the game at 94.4 % easily killed off Quinnipiac’s first two power-play opportunities in the first period. However the Bobcats would do what has only happened three other times in 56 chances this season on their third try.

Colin Dueck got called for roughing just 17 seconds into the second period, and the Bobcats took advantage. Defensemen Loren Barron got the puck on a pass from Zack Currie at the high slot and snapped a low liner to the far side of the net that got past Malcolm for a 2-0 advantage 1:05 into the second period. Currie picked up his second assist of the game and fifth of the year, while Barron’s goal is his fifth goal of the season.

“I thought on the first two power-plays tonight we didn’t win the battles,” Pecknold said. “On the third power-play, when we scored, we won some battles and gained possession of the puck. A little bit of chaos down low and Zack Currie made a really good play to feel LB and he found the back of the net.”

The Bobcats penalty kill unit isn’t far behind their rival, coming into the game fourth in the nation, killing 89.4 % of opponents power-plays. Like Yale, Quinnipiac successfully killed off their first two penalties. But Hibbeler would get called for tripping in the third period to give the second best power-play unit in college hockey a third chance.

Junior Bulldog forward Andrew Miller took a pass from Tommy Fallen and skated into the Bobcats’ zone. Miller then found a wide open Brian O’Neill in the slot, who waited for Hartzell to jump on his deke then pushed it past the sliding keeper. The goal came at the 8:11 mark of the third period and was O’Neill’s seventh power-play goal of the season, which is tied for second in the country.

Quinnipiac’s bench was thin for the game as Russell Goodman missed the game due to a disqualification for fighting. Yuri Bouharevich was a late scratch for sickness and the Bobcats also lost sophomore forward John Dunbar, who left the team to join the Fort McMurray Oil Barons of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

“He’s gone, I’ve been told not to comment on it,” Pecknold said. “He’s a good kid, I really like him. It’s just one of those things, he left for personal reasons.”

The rivalry between Quinnipiac and Yale is now tied up at 6-6-1 and the win snaps a two-game losing streak for the Bobcats against Yale. The teams will meet again in the final game of the regular season on Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. at High Point Solutions Arena at the TD Bank Sports Center.