Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey’s unbeaten streak hits 17

Bryan Lipiner

Facing former Heroes Hat opponent, and in-state rival UConn, tonight’s men’s ice hockey contest showed signs of a reverse lock; a term describing a game where the underestimated opponent could escape with a win.

[media-credit id=1459 align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]Unfortunately for Quinnipiac (18-3-3, 11-0-1 ECAC), that was just the matchup it got through the first 55 minutes of play. Yet, it was junior alternate captain Connor Jones who nailed the go-ahead score at 15:47 in the third period to give Quinnipiac the victory, 2-1. With the win, the No. 2 Bobcats pushed their unbeaten streak to 17-games, before entering conference play through the remainder of the season.

“It was a great win,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “We kept having chances. The guys were confident the whole game. When we scored, and we take the penalty right after it, the confidence was phenomenal. I thought our penalty kill in that last little bit was great. We did such a good job they never got their goalie out. That’s good hockey right there.”

Jones’ goal came on the power play, after a pair of shots from the far side circle by Jeremy Langlois and Matthew Peca. Peca’s shot generated a rebound in front of the open crease, later batted home by Jones for the game-winner.

“As a team, it was a tough game. We played hard, they played hard,” Jones said. “A little bit sloppy, passes and things like that. With the next 10 days off, we’ll definitely stay on track of things.”

Quinnipiac’s first goal off the night came off the stick of Peca in the 14th minute of the first period. Langlois skated up the left wing, before dropping a pass to Peca between the hashmarks. Peca then rifled a shot top shelf for the early 1-0 lead.

Later, with 3:06 remaining in the second stanza, UConn (9-11-2, 6-8-1 AHA) struck back for their only goal of the evening. Brant Harris blocked a Quinnipiac shot, followed by Billy Latta picking up the puck and skating onto a breakaway. Latta deked around Hartzell, before burying his second goal of the year, tying the game at one.

The Bobcats took a season-high 50 shots-on-goal throughout the game, while UConn goaltender Matt Grogan stopped 48 of them. Meanwhile, Eric Hartzell saved 21-of-22 between the pipes for Quinnipiac.

The Bobcats enter another 10-day layoff before hitting the road to take on Brown and Yale on Feb. 1 and Feb. 2.

“We haven’t done anything yet,” Jones said. “We’re No. 2 right now. We’re just a team, and we’re just trying to focus on the little things.”