Marshall’s goal highlights weekend

Doug Manners

David Marshall would probably like to forget Friday’s game against Niagara. With the game tied midway through the third period, Marshall was taken down in front of the crease as he tried to jam a rebound in the net. Frustrated after the play, he slammed his stick against the glass behind the net and was tacked with a ten minute misconduct penalty.

Marshall, Quinnipiac’s leading goal scorer, watched from the penalty box as Niagara scored with 4.6 seconds left in regulation to defeat the Bobcats 4-3 in a non-conference game at the Northford Ice Pavilion.

Saturday night, in a rematch against Niagara, Marshall scored a goal that neither he nor the crowd of 1,750 will be likely to forget anytime soon as the Bobcats defeated the Purple Eagles 5-2.

With Quinnipiac (4-11-0 in ECAC, 13-14-0 overall) leading 3-2, Marshall skated into the Niagara zone with one Purple Eagles defender back in the zone. He deked the defenseman to break in alone on goaltender Jeff Van Nynatten. Marshall then drew Van Nynatten down to the ice, slammed on the brakes and fired the puck into the empty net with 2:45 left in the second period.

“I couldn’t believe it happened,” Marshall said. “I made one move and got past (the defenseman) and then made another one.”

Even the usually even-keeled Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold admitted that he might have cracked a smile behind the bench after the goal.

“It was one of the better (goals) I’ve seen in a long, long time,” Pecknold said. “It was pretty unique.”

After a devastating loss Friday, Pecknold said Saturday’s game would be a test of character for Quinnipiac. The Bobcats responded with their best period of the season, outshooting the Purple Eagles 20-2 to build a 2-0 lead in the first period.

Van Nynatten stopped Quinnipiac’s first 15 shots before Reid Cashman scored with 4:20 left in the period. Ben Nelson screened Van Nynatten and Cashman fired a shot from the right point past the Niagara goaltender.

Jamie Bates added a goal with 52.3 seconds left. Bates took a centering pass from Brian Leitch and snapped a shot from the low slot over Van Nynatten’s glove.

Niagara answered with two goals 1:09 apart in the second period to tie the game. On the tying goal, Quinnipiac goalie Bud Fisher was lying on his stomach inside the net after a Niagara player collided with him. There was a delayed penalty against the Bobcats on the play, but before they could touch the puck Niagara forward Sean Bentivoglio popped the puck into the empty net.

The Bobcats scored the game-winning goal just 25 seconds later on a seemingly harmless play. Van Nynatten reached to grab the puck with his glove, but it slid underneath the glove and crossed the goal line. Leitch was credited with the power play goal for Quinnipiac.

“That was a big momentum switch for us,” Pecknold said. “We hadn’t been getting any good bounces even though we were playing well. The Leitch goal was a good bounce and you need to have those if you’re going to win games.”

Quinnipiac finished the game with a season-high 54 shots on goal and has won three of its last four games heading into the final month of the regular season.

“For a while there, we didn’t know what it felt like to win,” Marshall said. “It’s a good feeling to win and I think everyone is starting to realize that we’re going to want that feeling more.”