The Empire State sure has been a cruel place for the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team this season. The Bobcats have played six games in New York and have lost all six, including five by just one goal, not including empty-net goals.
Over the weekend, Quinnipiac’s woes in New York continued as the Bobcats (9-9 overall, 3-7 in ECACHL) blew third-period leads in both games, losing to Colgate, 4-3, on Friday night and 2-1 to Cornell on Saturday night.
The Bobcats lost Saturday’s game at raucous Lynah Rink on a tough-luck goal with 22.3 seconds left in the third period. Quinnipiac goalie Bud Fisher (22 saves) made the initial save on a shot from the point. As he was spinning around to get back into position, Mark McCutcheon picked up the rebound in the crease. Fisher tired to snag the puck with his glove, but it slid under his arm and into the net.
“You can’t even believe the dejection in the locker room,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said on the WQUN-AM 1220 postgame show. “But we wanted to be in the ECAC and we have to take our lumps.”
In his last outing, a 6-3 loss against Princeton on Nov. 26, Fisher was pulled in the third period after allowing four goals on 13 shots. But the freshman was sharp against the 11th ranked Big Red. His best save came withseven minutes left in the third and the game tied 1-1. With Quinnipiac on the power play, Cornell forward Cam Abbott picked up a bouncing puck in the low slot and skated in alone on Fisher, who managed to get a piece of the backhand shot with his glove.
“Both goalies played great,” Pecknold said. “That’s what Cornell always has – the goaltending. I was pretty happy that Fisher came out and played as well as he did.”
Quinnipiac opened the scoring 6:09 into the second period on the power play. Defenseman Reid Cashman intercepted the puck in the slot and passed to Mark Van Vliet in the right circle. Van Vliet beat Cornell goalie David McKee (23 saves) for his fourth goal of the year.
But the Big Red tied the game with a power play goal of its own 4:34 into the third. Matt Moulson took a pass from behind the goal line from Topher Scott and redirected the puck past Fisher to set the stage for McCutcheon’s game-winner.
“The guys played real hard and I’m proud of them,” Pecknold said. “We just couldn’t get an extra bounce on offense, and we got a horrendous bounce there at the end.”
On Friday, Brian Leitch scored 40 seconds into the third period to give Quinnipiac a 3-2 lead over 13th ranked Colgate. But just over five minutes later, the Raiders scored two goals 1:51 apart to give Colgate a 4-3 lead. David Marshall and Peter Alden scored Quinnipiac’s other goals.
The Bobcats played at Harvard on Tuesday to finish a stretch in which they played seven of eight games on the road – all ECAC games. Quinnipiac will play eight of its final 11 ECAC games at home, beginning with the Bobcats’ next game on Fri., Jan. 6 against Brown at the Northford Ice Pavilion.
On Sun., Jan. 8 at noon, Quinnipiac will play Yale for the first time in men’s ice hockey. It will officially be a home game for the Bobcats, even though the game will be played at Yale’s Ingalls Rink, where Quinnipiac is playing six ECAC home games this season while the Hudson United Bank Center is being built. The game against Yale will be televised live on the New England Sports Network (NESN).