Bobcats win ‘Whitney War’ again

Brian Stevenson

The ‘Whitney War’ between Yale and Quinnipiac is quickly becoming less of a war and more of a massacre.

The Bobcats continued their dominance over the Bulldogs in front of a TD Banknorth Sports Center record crowd of 4,213, upending Yale 5-1 on Friday night to sweep the season series for the second straight year. The win gave the Bobcats a second straight Heroes Hat victory and was the fifth win in a row against their cross-town rival.

A goal by Dan Travis with just over two minutes remaining in the open period gave the Bobcats a 1-0 lead.

Travis deflected a shot by Dan Henningson from the blue line past goaltender Billy Blasé. Brandon Wong also assisted on the play, his team leading 20th on the season.

In the first period both teams were a bit sloppy for the sixth installment of the Whitney War, as only 10 shots were registered for either side.

“I thought we played a little bit sluggish in the first. I think we were ready to play but we were a bit nervous,” head coach Rand Pecknold said. “The electricity building up this whole week, it’s really an event for our program.”

The Bobcats extended their lead to 2-0 early in the second period. Bryan Leitch took a pass from Brett Dickinson and fed the puck cross-ice to Dan LeFort. LeFort blasted a slap shot from just above the circle over the left shoulder of Blasé for his second goal of the season.

On a night where a packed house had a lot to cheer up about, it may have been a penalty kill late in the second stanza that earned the loudest roar of the night.

Yale had a 4-on-3 advantage late in the first period when defenseman Zach Hansen broke his stick. Mike Atkinson gave Hansen his stick and the two, along with Dan Henningson, proceeded to block half a dozen shots off their chest and legs, preventing most shots from getting through to netminder Bud Fisher. Hansen was finally able to clear the zone and the trio received a standing ovation from the crowd.

“Guys were just laying their bodies down,” Fisher said. “I don’t even know if I had a shot in that sequence.”

Yale was able to cut the Bobcat lead in half on a rebound goal by Sean Backman with 1:45 left in the second period.

Brandong Wong supplied the Bobcats with the insurance goal they needed just 46 seconds into the final frame. Jean-Marc Beaudoin took the puck behind the net and left it for Wong, who wrapped around the right side of Blasé and tried to stuff the puck past his left pad. Blasé made the initial save, but Wong was put the rebound past the Yale goaltender for a 3-1 lead.

“Wong took over with that goal. I thought Brandon was one of the better players on the ice,” Pecknold said. “He was dominant at times and he was great on the penalty kill.”

Leitch beat Blasé from a bad angle just two minutes later to extend the Bobcat lead to 4-1. The shot was the last for Blasé, as he was pulled for backup Alec Richards.

David Marshall tallied the Bobcats’ final goal with just over 13 minutes remaining off a tip from an Andy Meyer point shot.

The Bobcats were able to keep momentum going Sunday afternoon as they upended the Brown Bears 3-0.

Mike Atkinson, Dan Travis and Brandong Wong tallied goals for the Bobcats and Bud Fisher made 25 saves to earn his third shutout of the season and ninth of his career.

The Bobcats sit tied for second with Princeton in the ECAC with 22 points and trail first place Clarkson by just two. They will travel to Dartmouth and Harvard this weekend.