Photos by Erin Kane, Morgan Tencza and Megan Lowe
After entering the weekend without a single point in conference play, the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team defeated the Yale Bulldogs, 3-0, on Saturday night to complete a weekend sweep in the year’s most-anticipated home tilt.
“We needed it,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “We’re not used to losing games at home or anywhere. It was a good weekend for us, happy for the boys and hopefully we can build off this.”
In front of a packed crowd of 3,625, the Bobcats (5-5-1, 2-4-0 ECAC) extended their unbeaten streak against Yale (3-5-0, 3-5-0 ECAC) to 10 games dating back to a NCAA National Championship Game defeat on April 13, 2013.
[media-credit id=2200 align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]“I think it’s one of the games that’s always circled on our calendar and we always get jazzed up to play,” Quinnipiac junior captain Chase Priskie said. “If you can’t get up to play Yale, I don’t know who you can get up to play.”
Sophomore goaltender Andrew Shortridge led the way for Quinnipiac as he recorded his second straight shutout on a season-high 30 saves.
By blanking Brown and Yale this weekend, Shortridge becomes the first Bobcat goalie to post consecutive shutouts since Michael Garteig did so in 2015.
“Everybody in front of me is doing everything they can to block shots, push-off to the outside, give me one-and-done opportunities and make it easy on me,” Shortridge said. “I can’t give enough credit to the guys in front of me right now.”
[media-credit id=2148 align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]After surrendering a slapshot goal to Brogan Rafferty in the second period, the Bulldogs’ window back into the game opened up midway through the third period when Quinnipiac senior forward Tanner MacMaster got tangled up with Yale’s Mitchell Smith.
The two kept up with each other from Quinnipiac’s offensive zone up to the Yale bench, where MacMaster brought both of them to the ice with a slew foot penalty. The play resulted in a game misconduct for MacMaster and a five-minute major with the Bulldogs down a goal.
The Bulldogs dominated the puck on the man advantage, but Bobcat bodies crouched and laid out across the ice to block shooting lanes throughout. Quinnipiac fended off the Yale attack throughout the five minutes and came out with its one-goal lead on the other end.
[media-credit id=2228 align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]“I think that penalty won the game in the third period,” Priskie said. “Killing off the five-minute major, [the penalty killers] were excellent tonight.”
By going 0-for-4 on the man advantage on Saturday, Yale’s power play percentage took an even greater hit, dropping the team to 2-for-39 (5.1 percent) through eight games.
“Yeah [Quinnipiac was] blocking our shots, but our power play hasn’t been good all year and it wasn’t good again tonight,” Yale head coach Keith Allain said.
After killing off the Yale power play, the Bobcats offense came alive to seal the deal.
Quinnipiac doubled its lead when junior forward Craig Martin redirected a shot from senior assistant captain Kevin McKernan for his third goal of the season. In the blink of an eye, junior forward Thomas Aldworth notched his first goal of the season as he cruised past the Bulldogs defense and beat goaltender Sam Tucker up top to drive the nail in Yale’s coffin.
[media-credit id=2148 align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]“We all know that when we play our game, we get rewarded,” Priskie said.
Next up for the Bobcats is a home-and-home series against UMass Amherst from Nov. 24-25, before returning to conference play at Princeton on Nov. 28.
The team says it will look to build momentum as it works its way back up the ECAC standings.
“As long as we keep winning, keep getting points and we keep rolling, confidence is going to keep going up and up, for not only myself, but everyone in the room,” Shortridge said.