Heroes Hat knotted at one

Doug Manners

The battle for the Heroes Hat award is going down to the wire…again. For the fourth consecutive year, the third and final game of the season series between Quinnipiac and the University of Connecticut will be necessary to determine the winner of the award.

The Heroes Hat award was established by Quinnipiac University and UConn to honor all of those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001. The award remembers Joseph Mascali (FDNY/Staten Island 5), father of Quinnipiac senior Chris and graduate Jenn, and at UConn the award honors Amy Jarret, a flight attendant (United 175) and sister of former UConn player Matt Jarret.

Quinnipiac has won the Heroes Hat in each of the past three seasons. To keep the award in Hamden, the Bobcats will need to either defeat or tie the Huskies in Storrs on March 3. With Quinnipiac moving up the ECAC next season, the two teams will not meet each other next season, so this year’s winner will get to keep the trophy for at least two years.

The season series between the two intrastate rivals is tied 1-1 after the teams split a home-and-home weekend series in mid-January.

In the first contest, the Bobcats lost 4-1 at home despite peppering UConn goalie Scott Tomes with a season-high 49 shots.

Freshman Ben Nelson, of Spokane, Wash., had the only goal for Quinnipiac in that game. The Huskies scored the game-winning goal with 2:12 left in regulation, taking advantage of a defensive turnover in the Quinnipiac zone. UConn then added a pair of empty net goals to seal the victory.

The next night, up the road in Storrs, the ‘Cats jumped out to an early 3-0 lead en route to their most important victory of the season at the time. Quinnipiac had entered the game on a four-game winless skid and a record of 1-5-2 over its past eight games.

Notorious for slow starts this season, the Bobcats struck first at 3:57 on the man advantage when senior Chris White of Santa Ana, Calif. blasted a one-timer past UConn goalie Brad Smith from inside the right face-off circle. Quinnipiac went ahead 2-0 at 8:56 when red shirt sophomore Peter Alden, of Branford, Conn., scored on a scramble in front of the UConn net for his first collegiate goal.

The Bobcats added another power play goal at 11:28. Sophomore defenseman, Reid Cashman, of Red Wing, Minn., picked up a loose puck in the left face-off circle and scored his fifth goal of the season. Senior Matt Froehlich, of Apple Valley, Minn., scored early in the second period to put the visitors in front 4-0. Senior goalie Jamie Holden, of Telkwa, British Columbia, finished the game with 24 saves for Quinnipiac.

Cashman and rookie defenseman Mark Van Vliet, of Dorchester, Ontario, set career records with three points each in the game.

Van Vliet’s three assists also tied a Heroes Hat record.