In a season when so much has changed, the Quinnipiac men’s hockey team can still rely on two things to stay the same – winning at home against Bentley and winning the Quinnipiac Cup. The Bobcats defeated their old rivals from Atlantic Hockey, 6-0, in Saturday’s championship game to capture the Quinnipiac Cup for the sixth consecutive season.
Since Quinnipiac became a Division I program in 1998, the Bobcats are 14-1 at home against the Falcons. The Bobcats are also 18-1-1 all-time in the Quinnipiac Cup, which celebrated its tenth anniversary this year.
Although Quinnipiac (2-2 overall) will face much stiffer competition when it opens its ECAC schedule on Nov. 4 against Harvard, the two wins in the Quinnipiac Cup served as a confidence booster for a young team that had dropped two close games at nationally-ranked Michigan the prior weekend.
“It really helps (having) such a line-up to get on a winning streak and to get those guys scoring goals,” junior defenseman Reid Cashman said. “For those guys to come out and perform at a high level, it’s a confidence booster not only for them, but for our team.”
Cashman, who led all Division I defensemen in points last season with 45, tallied a tournament-high five points (one goal, four assists) and was named Tournament MVP.
Freshman goalie Bud Fisher, whose older brother Mike plays in the NHL with Ottawa, played both games in the tournament for the Bobcats and was named to the All-Tournament team. Fisher only faced 33 shots in the two games combined. To put that in perspective, Quinnipiac had 34 shots in the first 40 minutes of the game against Bentley.
“It was a good team defense weekend, but Fisher definitely played well,” head coach Rand Pecknold said. “We blocked a lot of shots and we got to a lot of loose pucks.”
The Bobcats broke the championship game open with four goals in the second period. Freshman forward David Marshall scored 2:18 into the period when Cashman found him in the slot and slid him a cross-ice pass out of the left corner.
Quinnipiac then scored three goals in less than three minutes starting with sophomore Jamie Bates’ third goal of the tournament at 8:38. Freshman Chris Walsh scored his first collegiate goal at 10:30 off a deflection and Marshall added another goal 59 seconds later.
Playing a full 60 minutes was a problem for Quinnipiac during the first half of the season last year, but the Bobcats maintained their intensity in the third period. They scored their sixth goal at 9:06 as senior Ty Deinema jammed a rebound past Falcons’ goalie Geordan Murphy, who replaced starter Jason Kearney after the Bobcats’ fifth goal.
“That’s something we’re working on. We’re going to need to play 60 minutes to be able to compete in the ECAC,” Cashman said.
In Friday’s semifinals game, the Bobcats handed Rochester Institute of Technology a 6-2 loss in its first Division I game. Specialty teams were the deciding factor in the game as both teams had 11 power plays. Quinnipiac scored four goals on the power play, including twice with a two-man advantage, while RIT scored just once.
“The power play was awesome and the penalty kill was great, too,” Pecknold said.
Quinnipiac meets another former foe from Atlantic Hockey this weekend when it plays a home-and-home series with American International College. The Bobcats are on the road Friday and host the Yellow Jackets at the Northford Ice Pavilion on Saturday at 7 p.m.