Captains lead Bobcats to conference win
by Seth Rothman
January 6, 2008
When the spotlights went on, the lights blackened out, and the Bobcats took the ice on Sunday afternoon at the TD Banknorth Sports Center, Rand Pecknold’s club was led out by an unfamiliar face.
Freshman Pat McGann led the team, wearing their gold jerseys, onto the ice. The starting goaltender is always the first person on the ice, and on Sunday, McGann got his first collegiate start.
The reason for McGann’s start, according to sources, stemmed from a minor groin injury suffered by junior goaltender Bud Fisher during Friday’s contest against Harvard. Fisher is expected back in the crease for next weekend’s action against Brown and Yale.
Once on the ice, Quinnipiac (11-5-3, 4-3-3 ECAC) skated to a 5-3 victory over Dartmouth College (5-7-1, 2-6-1 ECAC) in a game televised by NESN in front of 2,563 at the TD Banknorth Sports Center.
It was a game that, for the first thirteen minutes, got off to a slow start. But then, Dartmouth struck quickly. The Big Green scored two goals within 52 seconds on tallies by Connor Shields and Rob Pritchard.
But this was a game Quinnipiac needed. After tying Harvard on Friday, coach Rand Pecknold knew he couldn’t let his team go down without a fight.
“Usually I have a lot to say, but today I just thought our energy wasn’t good, so I just wanted to calm them down,” Pecknold told WQUN’s John Chagaris. “I give a lot of credit to our captains, they did a good job getting our guys back into the game.”
Whatever the captains said — it didn’t even come close to what they did on the ice.
One minute fifty-two seconds after Dartmouth’s second tally, assistant captain Dan Henningson took a blast from just above the right faceoff circle. His shot was deflected by Ben Nelson past Dartmouth goaltender Matt Devine for the Bobcats first goal of the game.
The leadership wasn’t done.
Two minutes and twelve seconds into the second period, Henningson fed captain Jamie Bates behind the net. He found sophomore Eric Lampe streaking towards the net, fed the Madison, Wisconsin native the puck, and Lampe deftly tied the game.
But the leadership still wasn’t done.
After Dartmouth took a 3-2 lead early in the third period, Henningson did it again.
He fed sophomore Jean-Marc Beaudoin, who blasted one towards the net on the power play. His shot was deflected aside by Devine, but the rebound was corraled by Brandon Wong. He found twine for his 4th goal of the season, and the Bobcats had tied the game.
Three minutes thirty-three seconds later, the Bobcats took the lead for good. Brandon Wong skated through center, and somehow found Dan Travis while being hassled. Travis knocked the pass out of mid-air and found Beaudoin in front for the goal that proved to be the game winner.
After being forced to kill two penalties off in the final 7 minutes, Beaudoin struck again with an empty net goal with 31 seconds left, and Quinnipiac had a hard earned 5-3 victory.
After the game, however, Pecknold had high praise for his goaltender McGann.
“I thought he was good,” Pecknold said. “He was a little nervous in the beginning, but he played well enough to win, and that’s what you want to do.”
“I was a little nervous at the start, but I settled in pretty nice and the guys played unbelievable in front of me,” McGann told Chagaris. “I couldn’t ask for a better game from them.”
It was a hard working game that saw the Bobcats out-shoot Dartmouth 34-23. McGann knows he has to get better if he wants to crack the starting line-up when Fisher comes back, presumably next weekend.
“I let in at least one soft goal which I wasn’t happy about, but the guys came back and scored two for me and then the empty netter. It’s a great feeling right now,” McGann said. “It wasn’t a great start for me, but I knew as long as I gave us a chance to win, the guys would come through for me, and they did.”
Quinnipiac is back in action on Friday when they travel to Brown. Saturday, the Bobcats come back to town, but travel just down the road to New Haven for their first game of the season against Yale. Both games are 7pm starts.
NOTES: In addition to the goal, Wong finished with 2 assists… Henningson’s three assist game is the first by a Bobcat since February 17 when Wong did it… Quinnipiac outshot Dartmouth 16-7 in the third… McGann played all 60 minutes in Quinnipiac’s exhibition win over Ryerson, but that was not an official game, and stats didn’t count in the official ledger. He also got some time in Quinnipiac’s early season loss to Cornell… The Bobcats are now tied for 4th in ECAC Hockey with 11 points. Clarkson, Harvard, and Princeton are in a 3-way-tie for first place with 12 points… Quinnipiac doesn’t play another home game until January 25 when they start a two game series against Niagara in Hamden.