Hard Work leads Bobcats to Game 1 win over Union
by Seth Rothman
March 2, 2007
HAMDEN — Hard work is the staple of every good team once the playoffs begin. It is at that point that the team that works the hardest wins the games.
On Friday night, the Quinnipiac Bobcats Men’s Ice Hockey team worked very hard in a 3-1 victory over Union College in the 1st game of their best-of-three ECACHL first round series at the TD Banknorth Center.
The staple of a good hockey team, one that works hard at least, lies in one stat and one undefinable action. The stat is blocked shots, the undefinable is battling down low.
“I thought we struggled a little bit in the first period, from a defensive standpoint. We generated some offense, but I thought we were a little sloppy defensively,” Bobcats head coach Rand Pecknold said. “Bud Fisher was very good for us in the first period, he made some big saves. I thought we played a much better game in the second and third; cleaned it up a little defensively.”
The Bobcats blocked 21 Dutchmen shots, and converted a battle behind the net into their second goal of the game at the TD Banknorth Sports Center.
The second Bobcats goal was borne from the hard work of David Marshall. After having a shot blocked, he followed the puck into the near-side corner, battled with a Union defender for it, got the puck, and fired a pass to freshman forward Eric Lampe to give the Bobcats a 2-0 lead with 16.6 seconds left in the second period.
“It was a hard working goal. Marshall was doing all the work in the corner, he got it out to me and I put it into the net,” Lampe said.
But the blocked shots the Bobcats had defined tonight’s game. Union was credited with 26 shots on Bobcats goalie Bud Fisher. 21 other shots, however, were blocked by the team’s defense.
“That’s a big number. We pride ourselves on being a good shot-blocking team,” Pecknold said. “It’s something we talk alot about in practice. That’s a pretty good number right there.”
“Our PK guys especially, they’re just warriors, sophomore forward Bryan Leitch said. “Mike Atkinson, Wonger [Brandon Wong], Lamps over here, they love it. Mark Nelson, they all just get in front of shots. They know it hurts, but those guys are warriors.”
It’s that kind of unselfish play that kept the Bobcats ahead tonight, even when Union pressed the action. However, with under three minutes left in the contest, the shot-blocking parade almost became disasterous when star forward Ben Nelson blocked a shot off the inside of his foot. He limped around the ice, but stayed on the ice for the rest of the shift, and would finish the game. Pecknold said he expects Nelson to suit up tomorrow night.
So now, the Bobcats have a chance to wrap up their first round series on Saturday for the second consecutive year. Last year, the Bobcats were on the road against RPI. This year, Quinnipiac is home against the Engineers travel partner, Union. It’s not something Pecknold is even thinking about, and he hopes his team’s preperation for the contest will be the same, regardless of the state of the series.
“We’re going to try to [not have a different mindset]. I guess we’ll have to wait and see how the game is tomorrow. I told the guys after the game, we’re not going to celebrate until we win the series. One game doesn’t mean anything, you gotta win two. That’s what we’re focused on right now.”