Bobcats forced to settle for tie

Bobcats forced to settle for tie
by Seth Rothman
November 10, 2007

HAMDEN — 0.2 seconds.

That’s the amount of time that stood between the Bobcats and a four point weekend.

In a game that saw Quinnipiac (3-3-2, 1-1-2 ECAC) dominate the St. Lawrence Saints (4-5-1, 1-3-1 ECAC) for most of the 65 minutes on Saturday night at the TD Banknorth Sports Center, it was St. Lawrence that came away with a heart-stopping 2-2 tie that felt like a loss for Rand Pecknold’s club after junior defenseman Shawn Fensel wristed one past Bobcats net-minder Bud Fisher with 0.2 seconds remaining in the third period.

“We were very fortunate to get a point out of this,” an exhilarated Joe Marsh said after his Saints got their point. “Our big thing was to not go down, and just match their intensity. It was a very tough, physical game. Both teams worked extremely hard. We have no disrespect for the Bobcats, they’re the real thing, and they proved it again tonight.” 

Bobcats coach Rand Pecknold saw things differently than his counterpart from Canton, N.Y.

“I’m still pretty frustrated with our team right now. I just don’t think we compete hard for 60 minutes,” Pecknold said. “I guess I’m mostly frustrated because we have so many returning players. It’s our forwards that are just not working hard.”

“Come Monday, it’s back to work,” Bobcats junior winger David Marshall said. “You have to forget about the weekend and work on the things we did wrong. Every week is going to be a stepping stone for this team, it’s a great bunch of guys. Guys are willing to pay the price.”

It was Marshall who scored the game’s first goal, coming in on a breakaway, and roofing it past Saints goaltender Kain Tisi twenty-eight seconds into the game.

“A breakaway’s not what we’re looking for on the first shift, I can tell you that,” Marsh said. “The kid made no mistake, he just roofed that thing, it was a bullet. Probably the wrong guy to have on the breakaway.”

“Mike Atkinson made a great pass to me. I didn’t even have to slow up or anything,” Marshall said. “It was right in my wheelhouse, I got lucky, got away, and found the back of the net.”

But with under ten seconds remaining in the contest, luck ran out for the team adorned in gold jerseys.

“We got a little bit of bad luck, and that’s what happens sometimes,” Pecknold said. “The puck’s kind of bouncing around. First, we don’t get it off the wall, then the puck comes to Jean-Marc in front, he’s got a player all over him, he tries to clear it out, he whacks it, and it goes right to the St. Lawrence kid.

“They were crashing hard, they kept us trapped us in our zone. They just got a lot of pucks on net, and were able to chip one in,” Fisher said.

“We really feel like we dodged a bullet,” Marsh said. “I was proud of how the guys hung in there against a good team with a hostile crowd. All the factors that you have going against you, it’s pretty important to handle that.”

St Lawrence’s ability to come back was of little consolation to Pecknold, who continues to be frustrated with his team.

“Being up 2-0 going into the third, I thought we needed to get our energy level back, and Saint Lawrence got a lot better,” Pecknold said. “They dominated the whole period. We had 23 shots through two periods, and we put four on in the third.”

Just because they won on Friday, and played well — at times — over the weekend, does not mean this is a team out of its slump.

“I thought we played well in spurts. We played great at times, and struggled at times.  We ran out of gas [in the third], and the guys weren’t competing hard,” Pecknold recollected. “It’s frustrating, you got a 2-0 lead, you have to come out, respect your opponent, and put them away. We didn’t do that.”

It’s not all the fault of the Bobcats. St. Lawrence came out a hungrier team in the third stanza.

“They brought a lot more urgency in the third,” Fisher said. “They crashed the net a lot, got a lot of traffic. First two periods, I didn’t have any trouble seeing the puck, then in the third there were tons of guys in front.”

“If you don’t think the Saints are feeling like they’re pretty fortunate this weekend, both games, you had that element,” Marsh said.

Now that the weekend is over, the Bobcats can look back and realize they got three points against two of the teams believed to be among the best in ECAC Hockey. 

“All in all, its tough to swallow tonight, but it was a big weekend for us,” Marshall said. “We struggled last weekend when we got a point, but 3 out of 4 isn’t bad, and we’ll definitely take it early in the year.”

But until the Bobcats are next on the ice Saturday against Princeton, it’s back to the drawing board.

“They [the players] have to want to win,” Pecknold said. “They have to want to be good at what they do. I think deep down the kids want to do it, they just aren’t right now.”

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