Men’s ice hockey powers late comeback over Union

Bryan Lipiner

Quinnipiac’s men’s ice hockey 16-game unbeaten streak began 64 days ago, when the Bobcats defeated Colgate in an overtime thriller. Many thought then No. 4 Cornell would trounce the Quinnipiac the very next night. Others believed a two-game set with Nebraska-Omaha in late December would put an end to the streak.

This evening, the No. 5 Bobcats entered the third period at the High Point Solutions Arena at the TD Bank Sports Center down 2-0 to No. 16 Union, along with a pair of major penalties to kill in the beginning of the frame. Most fans in the TD Bank Sports Center believed that tonight, the then 15-game unbeaten streak would end.

Yet, tonight was not the night.

Behind third period goals by Mike Dalhuisen, Jordan Samuels-Thomas, and Kellen Jones, Quinnipiac edged Union, 3-2. In the process, the Bobcats pushed their unbeaten streak to 16-games, while also improving to 11-0-1 in league play.

“Nineteen years, we’ve had a lot of big ones, a lot of exciting ones,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “I thought we played well all night. Our power play had a ton of great looks. We were fired up.”

In the seventh minute of the third period, Quinnipiac won an offensive zone faceoff, sending the puck to Mike Dalhuisen. Dalhuisen wound up, and rocketed a slap shot from the point to put the Bobcats on the scoreboard for the first time.

Less than five minutes later, Quinnipiac lit the lamp again, this time off the stick of Jordan Samuels-Thomas. Dalhuisen set up at the point again, before driving a shot off goaltender Troy Grosenik. Samuels-Thomas picked up the rebound and put it home for his seventh of the year, also tying the game at two.

Then, at 13:06, Cory Hibbeler fired a shot off Grosenik, resulting in another loose rebound. Jones was there, and buried the puck for the 3-2 Quinnipiac advantage.

“We just needed that first goal,” Jones said. “The crowd was into it. It’s a pretty remarkable feeling, and I think the guys are all pretty excited.”

The Bobcats received two major penalties near the end of the second period, after Travis St. Denis and Connor Jones were handed game misconducts for butt-ending and elbowing. Both majors were killed off successfully, including 3:00 of 5-on-3 play.

“We were all confident in the dressing room right off the bat. We knew we were going to kill it [the majors],” Dalhuisen said. “It’s huge for our character. It shows that we don’t get down on ourselves. Some teams might quit at that point. We need to take every game as if we’re playing the No. 1 team in the nation.”

Union’s two scores came at 5:22 and 11:33 of the first period; both via the power play. The goals were credited to Wayne Simpson and Greg Coburn.

Quinnipiac enters a 10-day layoff before taking on former Heroes Hat opponent, Connecticut, on Jan. 22.