No. 18 men’s ice hockey ties UMass

Dan Dolph

In the final leg of a six-game road-trip the Bobcats pushed their unbeaten streak to five games, but oddly enough left the ice without a win.

Bryce Van Brabant and Mike Dalhuisen each scored a goal in the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team’s 2-2 overtime tie against Hockey East opponent UMass Amherst.

Van Brabant gave the No. 18 Bobcats (8-3-2) an early lead with a goal just 3:24 into the game, in what looked as if it could have been a game in which nationally ranked Quinnipiac flexed its muscles against a Massachusetts (4-5-2) team that has an anemic total in their win column. The contest shaped up much differently.

“You go on the road to three Hockey East teams and go 2-0-1, you’re obviously happy about that,” Quinnipiac assistant coach Reid Cashman said. “But in the moment, you’re never happy with a tie.”

The game was the Bobcat’s third road game against a Hockey East opponent. Earlier in the season they defeated both the University of Maine and Providence College on their home ice.

The Bobcats took to the ice with a thin line up, playing without sophomore Matthew Peca and freshman Travis St. Denis, two of their more potent scorers.

Without the tandem, the Bobcats tallied just two goals on a Massachusetts team that has allowed 27 goals in 10 games; a defense which earlier this week forfeited eight goals to UMass Lowell.

A newly constructed line of Van Brabant, Jordan Samuels-Thomas and Ben Arnt did their part in Quinnipiac’s offense-by-committee gameplan, giving the Bobcats the lead early in the first period.

The Minutemen would answer back at the 15:47 mark of the first with a goal from team point-leader Conor Sheary. The first period would conclude with the game tied at one. UMass then went ahead on a goal from Rocco Carzo with 9:33 remaining the the period for the 2-1 advantage.

They would hold onto the lead for the next 21:59 minutes of play, well into the third period.

With the clock winding down towards the final few minutes of the game, Dalhuisen provided the Bobcats with the equalizer on a slapshot from the outskirts of the UMass defensive zone.

“Cory Hibbeler was standing right in front of that goalie. I don’t know if he got an assist on that goal. I don’t think he get’s a point, but that’s his goal,” Cashman said. “Dalhuisen does a great job of getting it to the net quick but that’s Hibbeler’s goal.”

The game would continue into a five-minute overtime period which resulted without either team getting on the scoreboard. Neither goalie was tested with a shot in overtime. Quinnipiac’s Eric Hartzell saved 27-of-29 shots on the game. UMass goaltender, Kevin Boyle, registered 24 saves on 26 shots.

Quinnipiac has been inconsistent thus far in the season. Wins against No. 4 Cornell and No. 16 St. Lawrence in the last two weeks have bolted them to No. 18 in the Division I Coaches Poll. But they have also suffered losses to the likes of American International College (3-5-3), and today tied the sub-.500 Minutemen.

Although they had attained a top-20 ranking earlier this season, it is a place where the Bobcats are not a mainstay.

Games against No. 8 Union and conference-rival RPI this upcoming weekend will be challenge for the Bobcats and will give a barometer reading as to whether they are worthy of such high praise in the poll.

“A couple of tough league games on the road,” Cashman said. “But we’re looking forward to the challenge.”