The No. 14 Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team won its only exhibition game, as it defeated the St. Mary’s Huskies (Nova Scotia), 3-2, on Sunday afternoon in Hamden.
[media-credit id=2182 align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]Although the Bobcats got the win, Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold wasn’t thrilled with his team’s performance.
“We struggled in a lot of areas tonight,” Pecknold said. “We didn’t play pace, we struggled with details on faceoffs…the power play, you could go the whole gamut.”
The game was decided in the third period as three goals were scored in a 5:30 span in the final frame.
The first of the late goals went the Huskies’ way, as junior forward Anthony Repaci scored to put St. Mary’s up 2-1 with 11:25 remaining in the third. Graduate student Steven Shipley assisted the goal.
The next goal went for the Bobcats as junior center Craig Martin passed the puck to senior forward Tanner MacMaster in the neutral zone, who then took the puck into the attacking zone and scored on a two-on-one breakaway to tie the game with 6:50 left. Martin and sophomore goalie Andrew Shortridge got the assists on the play.
The Bobcats took the lead less than a minute later as senior defenseman Kevin McKernan scored a one-timer on a two-on-one rush. Senior wing Landon Smith fed McKernan and sophomore defenseman Karlis Cukste was also credited with an assist.
“Tonight worked out well,” McKernan said on his play in the attacking zone. “If it’s there, it’s kind of one of our ‘D’ foundations to jump up when it’s there.”
The Huskies saw one last chance as Shortridge received a tripping penalty with 1:45 remaining. The Huskies pulled their goalie for the six-on-four opportunity, but weren’t able to score, sealing the Bobcats’ first win.
Freshman goalie and Detroit Red Wings draft pick Keith Petruzzelli was in net for the Bobcats for the first two periods. He had 15 saves on 16 shots in that time.
[media-credit id=2200 align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]Shortridge, who started 20 games as a freshman for the Bobcats last season, was in net for the third period. He made 11 saves on 12 shots.
“[Petruzzelli and Shortridge] were great,” Pecknold said. “It’s nice to have two guys we can count on. I thought Keith did really well in the first two periods. He had some big saves for us. It’s tough for [Shortridge] to go in kind of cold, but it’s good. It’s new experience for him. I thought both guys were really good.”
Pecknold would not comment on who would be the starter.
St. Mary’s junior forward John Mullally got the game’s first goal in the second period. Bobcats senior forward Bo Pieper answered less than a minute later to tie the game. Smith and junior transfer defenseman Brandon Fortunato were credited with assists.
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There were two areas in which the Bobcats struggled on throughout the contest.
The Bobcats only won 25 of 73 faceoffs (34.2 percent), which Pecknold knows the Bobcats will have to improve moving forward.
“I would say that might be the worst game faceoff-wise we’ve had in…15 years?” Pecknold said. “I’d have to find the stats, but it was pretty bad. We lost Tim Clifton, we lost Tommy Schutt who took most of our draws last year. So we’ve got to figure out how to get better at that.”
Quinnipiac was also 0 for 8 on the power play on Sunday.
[media-credit id=2182 align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]“We’ll have to figure it out,” Pecknold said. “[There’s] of talent out there. It’s early in the year. I think the guys were just overthinking things and really taking too long to make a play. You’ve got to move that puck.”
The regular season starts for the Bobcats on Friday as they travel to Boston to face the No. 13 Boston College Eagles. The Bobcats home opener will be on Sunday Oct. 8 against No. 2 Boston University.