Bobcats split two game series

Greg Glynn

Last Thursday the men’s ice hockey team took the trip to Worcester, Mass., to do battle with MAAC opponent the Holy Cross Crusaders.

After the weekend against Air Force the Bobcats were looking to get back on track, and in the first period they did.

Quinnipiac exploded for three goals in the first period led by Dan Ennis at 4:03 on assists from Brian Herbert and Ryan Morton. With Herbert’s assist he broke the all-time record for career assists with 112 surpassing the old mark of 111 set by Todd Johnson in 1989.

Following the accolade, Matt Froehlich tallied the second goal for the Bobcats at 14:07 on the power play, with assists from Dan Ennis and John Kelly. The brilliant passing allowed open ice for Froehlich, and for him to put the puck in the back of the net and give the Bobcats a 2-0 lead.

Froehlich then tickled the twine again just 27 seconds later as he picked up the loose rebound in front. The Bobcats led 3-0 at the end of the first period, and knocked Holy Cross starting goalie Tony Quesada out of the game.

Despite a great first period from the Bobcats, the Crusaders changed the game around in the second quicker that cat’s reflexes, well almost.

Holy Cross forward Blair Bartlett scored nine minutes and ten seconds into the frame to bring the Crusaders within two goals. It only took 3:24 seconds for Holy Cross to tie the game.

First J.R Walker took advantage of a Matt Craig penalty as he used the man advantage to beat Jamie Holden at 11:24. Then just a 1:10 later Jeff Dams tied the game at three with another power play goal on assists from R.J Irving and Greg Kealy.

The Crusaders capped off the period with Tyler McGregor’s ninth goal of the season at 19:01 to give the Crusaders the 4-3 lead heading into the third.

The third period provided a chance for the Bobcats to tie the game just one second in when Brain Herbert broke lose on a power play on Holy Cross goal Ben Conway. Herbert made his moved but Conway was up to the task and made a big saved to preserve the lead.

As Herbert’s rebound came loose the Crusaders turned around in transition as Brandon Doria hit Tyler McGregor and sent him in alone on Holden. McGregor slid the puck past Holden and lifted the Crusaders ahead 5-3.

Again the Crusaders capitalized on the momentum by scoring just 37 seconds later when J.R Walker took a shot that snuck through Jamie Holden into the back of the net to put the Crusaders ahead 6-3.

Shortly after the sixth goal head coach Rand Pecknold elected to put Justin Eddy between the pipes to try his luck against the Crusaders offense, and Eddy held down the fort, and held the Crusaders scoreless the rest of the game.

However, Quinnipiac couldn’t muster a comeback, although Matt Froehlich did cap off the Bobcats scoring at 14:03 with his hat trick goal.

“I think he has really had a great year, and he has stepped up,” said coach Pecknold.

After a day off on Friday the two teams faced each other again at the Northford Ice Pavilion on Saturday night. In similar fashion to the game on Thursday the Bobcats got on the board first. Matt Froehlich continued his scoring spree at 11:04 of the first period when he scored his team leading 18th goal of the season and put the Bobcats ahead 1-0.

The Crusaders responded with 2:48 left in the period when Tyler McGregor beat Justin Eddy glove side, which tied the game at a goal apiece. Despite some brutal performances in the second period by the Bobcats in recent games Joe Dumais crashed the net hard putting himself and the puck in the net.

The second period, which has been a big problem for the Bobcats allowing 38 goals in the second session coming into Saturday only allowed one on Saturday. The goal came off the stick of off the Jonas Tamiuck who picked up a loose rebound lying in the crease. The goal tied the game at 2-2 and it would stay that way until 3:32 of the third period, when Michael Bordieri beat Ben Conway to put the Bobcats ahead 3-2.

The Crusaders continued to pressure the Bobcats deep in their own end and with 11:49 to go Greg Kealy tied the game for the purple and white, when the original shot from the point by Brandon Doria went of his shin pad and deflected the puck into the net. The two teams fought hard in the final minutes but neither team could score.

Before the game assistant coach Scott Robson said, “The key to tonight’s game is for us to play a full 60 minutes.” Little did Robson know that the Bobcats would have to play 60 plus minutes to win, as at the end of regulation the score remained 3-3. Justin Eddy had 31 saves heading into the extra session, but he wouldn’t need to make anymore the rest of the night.

The Bobcats didn’t waste anytime in overtime.

It took just 26 seconds for John Kelly to find Joe Testa on the far side boards breaking into the Crusaders end. Testa came across the blue line a launched a rocket into the back of the Crusaders cage that gave the Bobcats the crucial 4-3 win. For Testa, he couldn’t have picked a better time to tally his first career goal as a Bobcat.

With the win the Bobcats improve to 18-10-1 over all and 16-5-1 in the MAAC. Quinnipiac remains in second place behind Mercyhurst, but picked up two crucial points over Holy Cross who was in third place coming into this weekend. Mercyhurst lost on Saturday night 6 to 3 to Army, which means if the Bobcats win out they would win the regular season title.

The question remains, can the Bobcats scratch and claw their way back into first place and show some consistency? This weekend will provide a good chance for the Bobcats to stay on track.

The first game on Friday is at 5 p.m. in Storrs, Conn., in which the Bobcats could claim the “Heroes Hat” title for the second year in a row. Then on Saturday “The world’s most famous arena” at Madison Square Garden at 12 noon. Both games will be televised and will provide a big stage for the Bobcats.

“It should be a lot of fun, with both games on TV, and we’re looking forward to it,” said Pecknold.

The Bobcats would preferably beat UConn convincingly and generate more momentum as the playoffs roll around, rather than another dramatic performance on Broadway.