A strong third period helps Quinnipiac outlast St. Lawrence

Jordan Wolff, Staff Writer

Riding off the heels of arguably the toughest loss of the season on Friday, Feb. 14, could the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team (18-10-2 overall, 11-5-2 ECAC Hockey) bounce back against the St. Lawrence Saints on Saturday? Yes.

The Bobcats defeated the Saints (3-23-4 overall, 1-16-1 ECAC Hockey) 6-1, but the score isn’t indicative of how this game went. After the game, Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold credits the fact that his team’s power play became a factor.

“I thought St. Lawrence was really good tonight,” Pecknold said. “We were fortunate that our power play was really good.”

Connor Lawless
Junior forward Odeen Tufto prepares to shoot the puck.

The first period started off with little action as both teams felt each other out. Late in the period, the Bobcats were on their second penalty kill, and the Saints took advantage.

St. Lawrence junior forward Keenan Suthers controlled a shot from the point and jammed the puck past Petruzzelli to give the Saints an early edge. The period finished with four penalties and the Bobcats outshooting the Saints 14-9, but the penalties became a big part of the game in the later stages.

The Bobcats came into the second period unable to find openings past Saints senior goaltender Daniel Mannella. A key moment came late in the period when Quinnipiac sophomore defenseman Marcus Chorney took a two-minute hooking minor for the game’s 11th total penalty.

Hobey Baker nominee and junior forward Odeen Tufto earned a breakaway opportunity on the penalty kill and was tripped from behind by a Saints defenseman. Tufto was able to control the puck with one hand on the stick and lift it over Manella to tie the game.

Tufto put many in disbelief, including himself, about how that puck went across the line.

“I didn’t want to get frustrated, I had a couple chances earlier in the period including a couple partial breakaways,” Tufto said. “Just tried to stick with it, honestly I don’t know how it went down. I tried to get as much as I can on it, and fortunately it went in and sparked the bench.”

The second period ended with 13 combined penalties, and the Bobcats outshooting the Saints 14-4. The third period is when everything intensified, and the physicality became a bit more uncontrollable.

The Bobcats earned themselves their fifth power-play opportunity of the game, as Saints freshman forward Ashton Fry received the game’s 14th penalty with a two-minute boarding minor. They hadn’t converted their previous four chances, until senior forward and captain Nick Jermain lifted a wrist shot while falling on the ground to give the Bobcats the lead.

After that moment, the floodgates opened. The Bobcats found themselves on the power play six more times in the third period. Quinnipiac sophomore defenseman Peter DiLiberatore rifled a shot from the point to make it 3-1.

Quinnipiac senior forward Alex Whelan got himself involved by scoring consecutive power-play goals to make it a 5-1 lead. Whelan is now tied for the team lead in goals and is satisfied with how he capitalized on Saturday.

“It’s really rewarding,” Whelan said. “Yesterday, there were a few chances where I wasn’t screening the goalie and the goalie’s eyes. Coach talked to me about it and today, I worked more on getting in front of the goalie, and it worked out a couple times.”

Quinnipiac put the icing on the cake when sophomore forward Gus van Nes wrapped the puck around Mannella to give his team a 6-1 lead. The Bobcats scored four power-play goals in the third period and finished the game 4-for-9 on power-play chances.

The Saints had six penalties in the third period and finished the game with 13 total. Although the Bobcats had eight, Pecknold was pleased his team was able to keep its composure.

“Things escalated a bit there, and they got frustrated,” Pecknold said. “Brett Brakke is a really good coach. It’s his first year, and he’ll get that program going.”

Quinnipiac will next take the ice on Friday, Feb. 21, as it’ll travel to Troy, New York to take on RPI (13-15-2 overall, 9-8-1 ECAC Hockey) at 7 p.m.