Men’s hockey finishing fast and furious

Brian Gravel

The Quinnipiac Men’s Hockey team picked up a pair of important wins this past week to improve their record to 6-1-1 over their last 8 games.
The Braves defeated conference rivals American International College (AIC) 3-1, and UCONN, 4-2. Quinnipiac faced off against AIC in Springfield, MA last Wednesday.
Just 3:07 into the first period, Chad Poliquin netted the first goal and gave the Braves a lead they would never relinquish. AIC did bounce back just four minutes later to tie the score, 1-1, but that was all they would get.
After a scoreless second period, Brian Herbert scored his 11th goal of the season on the power play with just under four minutes to go in the game. Shawn Mansoff added his 18th goal of the year on an empty net goal to make the final score 3-1. Freshman goalie, Justin Eddy, only allowed one goal on 21 shots for the Braves who recorded their 17th win of the season. AIC fell to 10-17-1 (10-12-1 in the MAAC) with the loss.
On Saturday, Quinnipiac traveled to Storrs, Connecticut and defeated UCONN. With the 4-2 victory, the Braves clinched home ice for the MAAC quarterfinals. Ryan Olson and Jed Holtzman each scored first period power-play goals for Quinnipiac. Those goals would be good enough for a 2-1 lead heading into the final period of play. The third period went back and forth before the Braves finally put the game in the bag.
Chris Cerrella added a third power play goal, the eventual game winner, to put them in the lead, 3-1. However, UCONN’s Anders Johnson answered back just 12 seconds later to cut the deficit in half at 3-2. Matt Erhart’s goal with four minutes remaining gave the Braves a two goal lead and all but ensured them of a victory. Holtzman and Cerrella assisted on Erhart’s goal. Eddy made 23 saves for QU while Jason Carey made 23 saves for UCONN.
With his goal against AIC and two assists against UCONN, Poliquin reached a career milestone by becoming just the 16th player to have over 100 career points in Quinnipiac Men’s Hockey history.
Cerrella also picked up four points, giving him 199 in his career. A big contribution to the win was the Braves’ penalty kill unit who shut the opposition down on their six attempts making it the 10th time that they have done this season.
QU forward Kevin Murray said, ” The special teams units (power play and penalty kill) looked great again this weekend. We have a lot of confidence in them and it will definitely help us in the playoffs.” Murray added, “The UCONN win was a huge victory for the team. It helped us not only clinch a home ice advantage for the playoffs, but it helped us draw a better seed as well.” Quinnipiac is now18-10-4 overall and 15-7-2 in the MAAC conference. Next week the Braves’ have their last two games: away at Bentley on Friday and home on Saturday at Northford Ice Pavilion versus Holy Cross. The Holy Cross game will be the Braves’ last game before the MAAC playoffs.