It was a rude awakening for the No. 4 Quinnipiac Bobcats as they lost their first ECAC Hockey game of the season to cross-town rival No. 10 Yale. In front of a sell-out crowd of 3,500 at Ingalls Rink in New Haven, the Bulldogs defeated the Bobcats 7-4 on Friday night.
Quinnipiac held a 4-3 lead with 11:26 remaining in the third period, but Yale responded with four straight goals to run away with an otherwise close game.
“We were out-battled all night,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “We were bad in the first, bad in the second and we were bad in the third. It was almost staggering the amount of mistakes we made. We were a really bad hockey team tonight, and Yale was good.”
Quinnipiac assistant captain and senior forward Brandon Wong led the Bobcats with two goals, one of which gave the Bobcats a 4-3 with 13:36 left in the third period. Wong was disappointed with the loss.
“We definitely think it’s a rivalry,” Wong said. “We’re only 10 minutes down the road from them, and I’m sure they feel the same. You always want to get up for these games, and we didn’t come ready today, and that’s what the game had for us.”
The first period saw four power play goals – two from each squad – leaving the game tied going into the first intermission. Sean Backman, Yale’s active leading scorer, put the Bulldogs on top just 3:08 into the first period. After goals from Quinnipiac freshmen Loren Barron and Wong, senior Eric Lampe’s roughing penalty allowed Brian O’Neill to even the score at 2.
“We’ve been good all year,” Pecknold said. “Whenever we’ve had a bad period, we’ve rebounded the next period. We didn’t do it all night. The guys knew they were bad in the first and came out even worse in the second. I kept waiting for them to respond and it never happened.”
Yale took the lead 32 seconds into the second period on Jeff Anderson’s breakaway goal – the game’s first at even strength. Fifteen minutes later, senior Greg Holt tied it up again with Quinnipiac’s first even strength goal.
Wong notched his second goal of the game 6:24 into the third, but it was Quinnipiac’s last lead. Just two minutes later, Yale captain Ryan Donald blasted a shot from the blue line past goaltender Dan Clarke to tie the game. Denny Kearney and Backman scored two goals just 53 seconds apart, and Kearney added an empty-net goal with 33 seconds left to seal the game.
“We were making costly mistakes,” Wong said. “We’ve brought it all year. It shows by our play and us winning games. We haven’t played great all season but we just do the little things and that helps us in the long run and that’s helped us win games. All 20 of us weren’t really ready to play today at all. We didn’t do the little things well that we’ve been doing well all season.”
Quinnipiac was outshot 41-22 for the game and took 11 penalties compared to nine for Yale. The Bobcats went 3-for-5 on the power play, while Yale was 2-for-7 on the man advantage.
Clarke, who was named HCA National College Hockey Player of the Month for November, made 34 saves in the loss.
“It’s a long year, and it was just one of those games,” Pecknold said. “For whatever reason we were flat and weren’t ready to play.”