Bobcats net opening night win
by Dave Turner
October 17, 2007
HAMDEN — Fire up the lights, drop the puck, it’s hockey season again at Quinnipiac.
In a game that figured to be a dominating win for the Bobcats, a resilient Bentley club stuck around in a game that ended 3-0 in favor of Quinnipiac.
With the game still scoreless late in the second period, Ben Nelson fed Bryan Leitch to notch the first goal of the year.
With the score still just 1-0 in the third period, Dan Travis fired a shot into the back of the net early in the period, and Bryan Leitch followed shortly after with his second goal of the game.
With Bentley playing well against the Quinnipiac transition game, the Bobcats struggled early on.
“We were fortunate in that first period, Peter Vetri made a couple of huge saves,” Bobcats coach Rand Pecknold said. Pecknold felt that the team came out flat in the first period.
In place of Bud Fisher, Vetri made his first start for Quinnipiac since coming over as a transfer from Umass-Lowell. Fisher was a workhorse for the Bobcats last season, and the idea of using Vetri made sense to Coach Pecknold.
“Last year we almost had to play Fisher too much and he got burnt out a little bit in late January so we are trying to avoid that this year,” Pecknold said.
The idea is to keep Fisher fresh as the team gets late into the season to avoid the strain that last season put on the junior goaltender.
With the assist on Leitch’s goal in the second period, Ben Nelson notched his 100th career point. Nelson is now the 25th player in Quinnipiac history to record at least 100 points in a career. “Its cool, I didn’t even really know,” Nelson said. “I couldn’t have done it without the team.”
This weekend, QU will travel to Colorado to take on Air Force in a 2 game series. Air Force is coming off of last year’s near upset of Minnesota in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The long trip out west is a minor concern for Pecknold.
“The travel hurts you a little bit, flying takes a lot out of you,” Pecknold said. Pecknold said the Bobcats will have to play better if they hope to leave with at least one victory. “They [Air Force] are a very competitive hockey team, their energy level at home is phenomenal,” Pecknold said.
For the Bobcats, tonight was the debut of 6 new freshmen. “I thought they were solid, I thought that they were a little bit nervous, I think they’ll get better as the year goes on, we really like our freshman class,” Pecknold said. “I thought that [Isak] Tranvik was the best of the freshmen tonight from a competitive standpoint, he battled all night and did a lot of little things well.”
The win was the 400th in program history, with their 300th win coming only 5 years ago, largely because of the success that the team has had in the last decade, winning 20 games in 8 of the last 9 seasons.
“We’re a good team, and we’ll keep getting better,” Nelson said. “400 wins is really a team effort.”
With win number 400 out of the way, only time will tell how much closer they will get to 500 wins before the end of the 2007-08 campaign.