Quinnipiac knocks off Princeton 4-3

Max Molski

No. 3 Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey completed its sweep against Princeton with a 4-3 come-from-behind victory on Wednesday night.

“It was an interesting game,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “We’re certainly ecstatic to get out of here with two points tonight.”

The Bobcats jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 50 seconds into the game. Tim Clifton dove from behind the Tigers’ net with the puck and slid a backhand shot beneath goalie Colton Phinney. Clifton’s team-leading 12th goal was also his fifth point in four periods against Princeton after finishing last night’s game with a goal and three assists.

“I thought Timmy was great,” Pecknold said. “I thought he was excellent last night. I thought he was one of our better players and I thought he was one of our better players again tonight. He’s playing great hockey.”

The quick goal mirrored the previous night’s game where Quinnipiac went on to score five goals in the opening period. However, Princeton was not going to let this game slip as easily as it did in Tuesday’s 6-0 defeat.

Garrett Skrbich scored the Tigers’ first goal in a scrum in front of Quinnipiac goalie Michael Garteig. Princeton jumped out to a 2-1 lead just four minutes later. Ryan Kuffner delivered a pass past the Quinnipiac defense to Max Veronneau who proceeded to beat Garteig on the breakaway. The Tigers increased their lead to 3-1 on a power play. Josh Teves jumped to prevent a clearance pass from escaping the offensive zone before he blasted a shot past Garteig.

“We were immature in how we prepared for the game tonight,” Pecknold said. “We weren’t ready to go.”

Trailing did not faze the Bobcats in the first half of their season. They entered the game with a 3-0-1 record in games where they have trailed after the opening period. With multi-goal comebacks against St. Cloud State, Cornell and UConn earlier this season, the Bobcats knew the 3-1 score was not the end game.

“We’ve been in that position before, against Cornell and a couple of other games,” Derek Smith said. “We just try to bring it together, hit the reset button and get back at it. It shows the resilience and character that we have on this team.”

Sam Anas brought the game to 3-2 five minutes into the second period. Anas gathered a rebound off a shot from Travis St. Denis and lifted a backhand shot on the left side of the net for his 11th goal of the season.

Landon Smith tied the game up just two and a half minutes later. Again, St. Denis put the first couple of shots on Phinney before Smith swooped in for his first home goal of the season.

Derek Smith put Quinnipiac ahead on a 5-on-3 power play. He picked out Phinney’s stick side and ripped in a shot to put Quinnipiac up 4-3. The goal was his second of the season with one in each game against Princeton.

“It’s been a while since I’ve scored,” Smith said. “We work a lot on getting pucks to the net and in the last two games I’ve gotten two pucks to the net.”

The Bobcats improved to 17-1-2 on the season with the win and increased their hold atop the ECAC standings to 18 points (8-0-2). The team returns to action on Jan. 2 with a game at Northeastern.

 

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