Bobcats start second half with win

Updated with results of late game 

Bobcats start second half with win
by Seth Rothman
December 29, 2007

Coach Rand Pecknold and his club have had a long time to think about the topsy-turvy first half of the team’s 2007-2008 season.

The Bobcats last played on December 8, exactly three weeks ago. Since then, they’ve had a chance to take finals, spend a week recouperating at home, and get back to Quinnipiac’s campus to prepare for the second half.

That preperation ended this afternoon when the Bobcats (9-5-2) defeated Western Michigan (6-11-0) by a final of 2-1 in the first game of the 2007 Sheraton/TD Banknorth Catamount Cup at the Gutterson Fieldhouse in Burlington, Vermont.

It was a dominating effort that saw Quinnipiac out-shoot WMU 24-19. The Bobcats got the scoring started early thanks to Brett Dickinson’s first career goal with 4:52 left in the first period.

In the second, however, Quinnipiac out-played the Broncos, out-chancing them severly and out-shooting them 11-8.

Western Michigan goaltender Riley Gill was equal to the task, stopping every shot Quinnipiac sent his way in the second.

“Riley Gill was really good for Western,” Pecknold told WQUN’s Chris Kotsopoulos after the game. “Early in the game we could have broken it open. We were ready to play. The guys competed, and [we] battled.”

Fortunately for the Bobcats, goaltender Bud Fisher was just as good. Fisher kept the Broncos at bay all afternoon, making 18 saves, many of them with a high degree of difficulty, keeping the Broncos off the scoresheet through 59:36.

In the third period, Quinnipiac got an insurance goal 4:02 into the stanza, and it was thanks to the hard work of Brandon Wong. The sophomore from Victoria, British Columbia stole the puck and sent it to classmate Jean-Marc Beaudoin. He sent it back to Wong on the give-and-go, who one-timed it past Gill for his third tally of the season.

But late in the third period, the Broncos went on the power play with nearly 2:30 left and pulled Gill a minute later, creating a 6v4 situation. With 24 seconds left, Nathan Ansell blasted one from the point that found its way through traffic to halve the Bobcats lead at 2-1.

From there, Quinnipiac hung on thanks to more fantastic work by Fisher to advance to the championship game of the 2007 Sheraton/TD Banknorth Catamount Cup, where they will face Vermont, who defeated Holy Cross 2-1 after a shootout on Saturday night.

“I thought we played well the whole [game], until the last couple minutes,” Pecknold said. “It was a little sloppy at times, but the kids played hard.”

Of concern to Pecknold, however, was the injury bug that once again hit the Bobcats this afternoon. Late in the 1st period, freshman defenseman Jake Bauer was ridden hard into the boards, and had to be helped off the ice by athletic trainer Brian Fairbrother.

Pecknold had no information on the nature of Bauer’s injury after the game, although WQUN’s Bill Schweizer indicated Bauer was suffering from a concussion, and was on the way to the hospital.

That’s in addition to Jamie Bates, who remained out of the lineup following a concussion he suffered against Princeton in November. Bates played against RPI on December 1, but hasn’t played a game since then.

“I was really hoping this would be the weekend I would come back, but the head’s telling me I’m not ready yet,” Bates told Schweizer during the 2nd intermission. “I’m hoping [to come back] next weekend against Harvard and Dartmouth.”

In the meantime, Bates remains out for tomorrow’s game, and the availability of his injured teammate is uncertain.

What is certain is the Bobcats started the second half the way they wanted to. Now, they get a chance to finish the Catamount Cup with a win against the tournament’s host, Vermont, and get a second much needed non-conference win. The game will start at 6:30pm, and can be viewed on CN8.

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