Uninspired Bobcats fall listlessly to Harvard
by Seth Rothman
February 16, 2008
Quinnipiac played six periods of uninspired hockey within a span of 24 hours.
Those six periods led to two embarrassing, debilitating losses, including a 4-1 loss against Harvard University (11-11-3, 9-7-2 ECAC) on Saturday night in front of 2,822 at the Bright Hockey Center in Cambridge, Mass.
“We struggled tonight finishing our chances,” Bobcats coach Rand Pecknold told WQUN’s Don Boyle. “We had a lot of good offensive chances, and even out-chanced Harvard by quite a bit, but that’s part of hockey. Sometimes the puck goes in and sometimes it doesn’t.”
The game got off to an inauspicious start for Quinnipiac (17-9-4, 9-5-4 ECAC) when Dan Travis got called for hitting from behind. Instead of a two minute penalty, referee Alex Dell issued Travis a very questionable major penalty and game misconduct. After the game, Pecknold voiced his frustrations with Dell on the ice, and on the radio.
“We got a couple good breaks, and got a real unfortunate one with the five on Dan,” Pecknold said. “It probably should have been a two, but that’s the breaks. They didn’t call fives on [Harvard] later, and that’s life.”
During the ensuing power play, Harvard capitalized.
Harvard’s Paul Dufault won the faceoff back to Brian McCafferty. He sent a pass to Matt McCollem who scored his third tally of the season with 5:37 left in the 1st period.
“Even the first goal they scored, the linesman told [Quinnipiac’s Brandon Wong] to move his stick, he moves it, they drop the puck, and they score,” Pecknold said. “Sometimes you get good breaks and sometimes you don’t.”
After Travis got thrown out of the game, Quinnipiac’s defensive intensity dropped considerably as one of the most physical players on the Bobcats team was no longer a part of the action. Once the lack of intensity reared its ugly head, Quinnipiac reverted back to its ugly play of Friday night.
With 2:56 left in the opening stanza, Harvard’s Pier-Olivier Michaud struck. He scored his 1st goal of the season on the rebound of Dave Watter’s blast from the point when Ben Nelson didn’t cover Michaud out in front. For the freshman Michaud, it was his first collegiate goal.
Quinnipiac was out-shot 10-8 in the first period, and 16-14 in the second. After drastically out-shooting Harvard in the final frame, Quinnipiac ended up out-shooting the Crimson 38-33 for the game.
In the second period, Harvard added their third goal when Michaud scored his second goal of the game the same way the second goal of the game was scored. Shot from the point, little defensive pressure, goal-scorer in the slot with no blue shirt around him.
“Harvard’s a good team, you have to go them credit,” Pecknold said. “They’re a top 20 team, they haven’t proved it all year, but they’re playing well right now.”
With 12:28 remaining in the contest, Pecknold pulled Bobcats goalie Bud Fisher for an extra attacker, and Harvard’s Doug Rogers capitalized on the empty net 29 seconds later to make it 4-0.
Quinnipiac finally got on the board with 11:05 to go when senior Ben Nelson sent the puck home onthe short side. Dan Henningson and Jamie Bates assisted on Nelson’s 11th tally of the season.
So now, Quinnipiac takes the long bus ride home, tails between their legs. Next weekend the Bobcats will face a huge test when Cornell comes to the TD Banknorth Sports Center in a game that could help decide whether Quinnipiac will get a first round bye.
After smashing RPI 7-1 on Saturday, Cornell will come into the TD Banknorth Sports Center looking to move past the Bobcats into third place in the conference. Quinnipiac is only one point ahead of Cornell, and 4 points ahead of Colgate, who comes to Hamden on Sunday. The Red Raiders occupy the 8th spot in the conference.
One thing is for certain, the Bobcats will need to pick it up against the Big Red of Cornell in the second to last home game of the season.
NOTES: Quinnipiac’s season has been the tale of last season. Last year, Quinnipiac’s record through 15 games was 8-3-4. Through 18 games, it was 9-5-4. This season, the Bobcats record is exactly the same, and the way they got there is also exactly the same. Quinnipiac finished their last four games last year by going 1-3. … This is the first series sweep in ECAC Hockey endured by Quinnipiac all season, and the first since February 23 and 24, 2007, when they got blanked by SLU and Clarkson in Hamden. … It’s their first ECAC Hockey sweep on the road since January 13 and 14, 2006. … Despite the loss, Quinnipiac clinched at least a first round home playoff series, to be played March 7-9. … Friday’s game will not be televised, but Sunday’s game, Quinnipiac’s senior day, will be televised by NESN starting at 12:30pm.