One Shining Moment
by Seth Rothman
March 3, 2007
HAMDEN — No matter the game, overtime is the most thrilling moment in sports.
Hockey’s overtime, however, is completely different. Sudden death overtime is special. It is where heroes are created, and goats are decided. Tonight at the TD Banknorth Sports Center, Quinnipiac crowned its newest hero.
One minute and twenty seconds into the overtime session, Jamie Bates converted on the power play to give the Bobcats a 5-4 win, and a two-game series sweep of the Union College Dutchmen.
“I think it was Reid [Cashman] who one-timed the puck from the point; it just missed the net. Bryan [Leitch] was waiting behind the net, threw it out quick, and I put it home,” said an elated Jamie Bates after the contest.
It was a game that saw the Dutchmen take an early lead, only for Quinnipiac to take the lead in the second period when Cashman and Matt Sorteberg each scored goals on slap-shots from the blue line.
“It’s always nice when you can have your defensemen chip in; obviously Cashman gets more assists. Sorteberg, he’s scored goals throughout his career. His numbers are down a little bit this year, but he’s always scored for us; he’s got a great shot,” Bobcats coach Rand Pecknold said. “We felt they were going to give us point shots, and we needed to take advantage of that with traffic.”
However, Union had its back to the wall, and wasn’t going to go down without a fight on this night. Chris Potts tied the game at two goals apiece 65 seconds into the third frame. But Quinnipiac would fight back. 1:38 after Potts’ goal, Cashman took another shot from the blue line. This one went off the stick of sophomore forward Chris Myers and into the back of the net, giving Quinnipiac the 3-2 lead with 17:17 still to play.
“I think if you look at the goals we scored tonight, it was just ‘get the puck to the net’ and kind of a scramble,” Quinnipiac captain Reid Cashman said. “I think we just had to let the puck do the work and get it to the net. We had to get a couple bodies in front, get a few screens.”
After a Brandon Wong insurance goal at the 7:26 mark, grieving Josh Coyle took over the last ten minutes of the third period. Coyle’s grandfather died earlier this week, and the star junior from Brooklyn, Ohio was forced to miss last night’s game. Tonight, however, Coyle was a man on a mission. The top line winger scored 2 goals within a 6:07 span to tie the game at 4.
“That’s just out of my control. There’s nothing I can do about it. I just have to mentally battle through it,” Coyle said. “I’m sorry I missed the game yesterday. I don’t really have any words to describe my emotions right now.”
“I thought [Coyle] was a little up and down, Union coach Nate Leaman said. “He was a little over-emotional with the three penalties, but he also scored two big goals for us. I thought we missed him last night.”
However, after a questionable high sticking call against Union’s Brendan Milnamow 60 seconds into the extra session, Quinnipiac’s Jamie Bates sent the student section into popcorn-throwing delirium.
There were 46 minutes of penalties called in the game, 24 of them against Union. One of the most penalized team in the ECACHL let their over-zealousness catch up to them once again this evening.
“It’s frustrating. It was easy to pinpoint our weaknesses this year,” Leaman said. “They were pretty evident from about five games in, and it was frustrating for us that we spent alot of time on those weaknesses, and we probably didn’t come along like we should. It’s a learning process at this level. ”
“We, as a team, just have to learn to be disciplined. Not just about penalties, but turnovers and every part of the game. We can’t blame our season on the penalties,” Coyle said. “Don’t get me wrong, it was bad that we had so many penalties, but there’s alot we can improve on. At least we know what our problems are so we can get better over the summer.”
For Quinnipiac, captain Reid Cashman had a career day, tying a career record by scoring four points on the day.
“He’s a big time player. He’s an All American, and I think he showed it tonight with a four point game,” Pecknold said. “With everything on the line, he just finds a way to make things happen.”
“My game today was just some really simple plays. I thought we were going to be successful if we were able to get some bodies out in front, and get in those scraps,” Cashman said. “I was fortunate that my name was on the point sheet, but I don’t think I did anything different than any other night. That was a pretty good team win tonight.”
For Brandon Wong, today was a day he was finally able to contribute. Union did a fantastic job keeping the potent goal scorer off the scoresheet on Friday, but despite their best efforts, could not keep Wong from netting his 25th goal of the season on this night.
“Brandon was fighting it a little bit this weekend. He’s got alot of weight on his shoulders. The first game last night, Union came out and was hacking and whacking and hitting him every time he touched the puck,” Pecknold said. “He played a great third period. He’s a big time player. He’s still a freshman, though, and he still had a decent weekend.”
Tonight, however, belonged to Jamie Bates. Tonight was his One Shining Moment.
“You always dream to score the overtime winner in the playoffs,” Bates said. “I couldn’t believe it. You’re so tense for the whole game, you just let it all out. It was awesome. I can’t explain anything more than that, it was just awesome.”