Bobcats continue to struggle, edge American Intl. 3-2

Bobcats continue to struggle, edge American Intl. 3-2
By Jamie Palatini
October 31, 2007

HAMDEN — For a team picked to finish second in the ECAC this year, Quinnipiac certainly didn’t play like it Tuesday night.

A game which many thought would be a blowout turned into a nail-biter as the Bobcats edged out American International College 3-2.

Last year Quinnipiac trounced AIC 8-1, and with 15 of 16 returning forwards from last year, this looked like another game where Quinnipiac would score at will. But the Bobcats struggled from the start, managing only six shots in the first period of what was a very sloppy game. Coach Rand Pecknold seemed frustrated by his team’s sub-par performance Tuesday night.

“I think we’re struggling in some areas…in terms of 5 on 5 hockey, we’re just not doing the little things well. We’re really struggling in the neutral zone defensively,” Pecknold said. “We have a lot of guys, especially our forwards, that aren’t committing to play defense.”

The Bobcats scored only one even strength goal in the game. David Marshall and Ben Nelson scored the other two goals on the power play, one of few bright spots for Pecknold’s club. Quinnipiac had been 1-18 on the power play in their first three games this year.

Quinnipiac needed a confidence booster heading into ECAC play after two bad losses at Air Force, but Pecknold said that it just isn’t there right now.

“I think from a confidence perspective, it’s pretty poor. We don’t seem to have that confidence that we had last year. I think we all understand that we’re not playing well,” Pecknold said.

Meanwhile, Pecknold was impressed with AIC’s play.

“American International played really well. I was impressed with their goaltender, and they looked very good,” Pecknold said. “I think we were fortunate to get a win.”

Goaltender Peter Vetri was one of the few positives for Quinnipiac. Vetri made 15 saves in the game, including some big saves down the stretch to preserve the win.

“I thought Peter was pretty good,” Pecknold said. “We didn’t have our best game, and he won the hockey game for us.”

Quinnipiac now faces a tough stretch of their schedule as they head into ECAC play. They travel to New York this weekend to face-off against Colgate and Cornell before coming home next weekend to play Clarkson, last year’s ECAC champs, and St. Lawrence. And if they continue to play this way, it could be another long weekend for Rand Pecknold’s club.

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