Two shorthanded goals for Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey senior Mike Atkinson led the Bobcats to a 4-2 victory over Clarkson University on Friday night at the TD Bank Sports Center.
Before Atkinson’s two goals, the Bobcats found themselves staring at a 2-1 deficit on their home ice in the middle of the second period to an ECAC Hockey opponent.
“I think we’re fortunate to come away with the two points,” head coach Rand Pecknold said. “I don’t think we played our best hockey today.”
The Bobcats took a penalty with just under eight minutes left in the game when Atkinson beat two defenders to get on a breakaway and scored, giving Quinnipiac a 3-2 lead.
“I was just was able to make a move and get by the first guy, then the second guy lunged, and I was lucky enough to slap the puck over,” Atkinson said. “Nobody came back so I just went to the net.”
Quinnipaic’s Eric Lampe started the scoring with 54.6 seconds left in the first period on an assist by Scott Zurevinski.
The Golden Knights responded immediately in the second period with two unanswered goals. Forward Scott Freeman scored less than five minutes into the second period, and Adam Pawlick scored on a power play three minutes later to give Clarkson a 2-1 lead.
With 4:07 left in the second period, the Bobcats had their penalty killing unit on the ice again when Atkinson got the puck and went one-on-one with a defenseman. Atkinson took a quick shot in the top left corner of the net that flew past goalie Richie LaVeau to knot the game up at 2.
“He gets fired up on the penalty kill,” Pecknold said of Atkinson. “He’s tenacious and has great instincts.”
While Atkinson may have been the first star of the game, sophomore Dan Clarke had a 34-save performance that contributed to the victory.
“I thought he played great and made a lot of tough saves,” Atkinson said. “He was coming off a tough week, but [Pecknold] challenged him and he answered.”
The Bobcats have been rotating goalies early in the season, but Pecknold was impressed with the way Clarke played.
“I thought he did real well,” said Pecknold. “He battled and competed hard the whole game.”
Atkinson scored one more goal on an empty-net to complete the hat trick, but it was the win that was important to him.
“W have a tough conference and there’s never an easy game in this league,” Atkinson said. “As a team, this was a great win.”