In a game that saw everything from a first career goal to a youngster receiving a standing ovation, Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey head coach Rand Pecknold summed up his team’s 5-2 victory over the American International College Yellow Jackets Saturday afternoon the best.
“I’m happy with the win to get us back on track,” said Pecknold. “It’s that simple tonight.”
Coming off three straight winless affairs, the No. 7 Bobcats were in need of a victory heading into the final week of the semester and the final 17 games of the year.
“We just have to keep working hard and do whatever it takes to get over the hump,” senior captain Jean-Marc Beaudoin said. “Now we need to rest up and get ready for the second half.”
Quinnipiac came out of the gate firing on all cylinders like they have for the entirety of the season. Throughout the year, the Bobcats have outscored their opponents 23-8 in the first period and continued their strong play with three goals in the first.
The Bobcats struck first a little less than two minutes into the game as Greg Holt corralled a loose puck in the neutral zone and skated up the right side into the Yellow Jackets’ zone. Mike Atkinson was on his left and created a two-on-one opportunity for the Bobcats and they capitalized. Once Holt made the AIC defender commit, he passed off to Atkinson who hit a one-timer into the back of the net for a quick 1-0 lead.
About 10 minutes later, the Bobcats knocked in another goal, as Scott Zurevinski brought the puck up the left side of the ice and sent a centering pass to Eric Lampe who lost control heading toward the goaltender. The Yellow Jackets’ goaltender made a diving attempt to cover up but was unsuccessful as Beaudoin picked up the loose puck and flipped in the puck on the wide open net.
A Yellow Jacket penalty near the end of the first started up the first Bobcat power play of the afternoon. After Brandon Wong just missed a one-timer to the right of the goal, Quinnipiac regained control and found Wong again near the faceoff circle and he did not miss this time. Wong’s goal made it 3-0 heading into the first intermission.
The Yellow Jackets found their legs starting the second period, as Arcibal Nielsson scored his second goal of the year just 24 seconds in. However the Bobcats answered back with their fourth goal seven minutes later. Holt finally found the back of the net after two close chances of scoring. Yuri Bouharevich sent a backward pass to Holt, who lifted his shot over the goalie and into the upper-left corner of the net.
Perhaps one of the nicest moments of the year at a sporting event took place when a puck was lifted over the boards. A young fan grabbed the loose puck in the stands and threw it back over the boards. As the puck went over the glass – on his second try – the Quinnipiac faithful gave the young boy a standing ovation and the event staff handed him a yellow Quinnipiac T-shirt for his efforts.
As play continued, the Bobcats added an insurance goal when freshman D’Arcy Oakes scored his first career goal. The play was started by Davies, who intercepted an American International pass at the blue line, and skated up for a three-on-one opportunity. Oakes followed in the center, received the pass from Davies and after his initial shot was saved, he knocked in the rebound for the Bobcats” fifth goal.
Eric Hartzell picked up the win for the Bobcats in net, saving 15 shots in the first two periods. Beaudoin and Holt each recorded a goal and an assist, and Davies notched a team-high two assists on the night.
With the win, the Bobcats move to 13-3-1 on the year and 8-0-0 at home, as they head into the second half of the year with their next game coming on Dec. 29 at Harvard.