By Jamie Palatini
(HAMDEN, Conn.) – Bryan Leitch and Jean-Marc Beaudoin combined for five goals, and Mike Atkinson added an empty-netter as the Bobcats came from behind to defeat the University of Prince Edward Island 6-3 on Thursday night.
This was an exhibition game with the general feeling that Quinnipiac would dominate UPEI, but the Tigers erased that notion early on in the first period. Quinnipiac was on the power play with the puck in the UPEI zone when Bobcats captain Dan Henningson made a bad pass up by the blue line. Vince Scott intercepted the pass, came in on a breakaway and put his backhand shot over Nick Pisellini’s left shoulder to give UPEI a 1-0 lead.
The Bobcats evened the score at one with five minutes to go in the first. Henningson found Leitch by the right faceoff circle, and put a wrist shot past UPEI goalie Wayne Savage to tie the game. UPEI responded just twenty seconds later though when Justin Donati found the rebound from his own shot. Pisellini was out of position after making the save, and Donati scored easily to make it 2-1 UPEI.
Donati scored his second goal with his team down a man. Just under seven minutes into the second period, Donati received a pass from Graham McNabb as he was streaking towards the net. He came into the slot, then made a deke to fool Pisellini and scored to increase the lead to 3-1.
But that’s when the Bobcats began their comeback via the power play. Beaudoin cut into the lead when his one-timer off of a pass from Brandon Wong found the net to make the score 3-2 with 2:49 remaining in the second period. Just two minutes into the third, it was deja vu all over again for the Bobcats. Beaudoin tied the game with another one-timer from a feed from Wong on the power play, and things were even at 3-3.
Leitch put Quinnipiac in front for good with just over four minutes remaining. With the Bobcats on a 5-on-3 power play, Wong found Leitch to the left of the goaltender. Leitch’s wrist shot from the sharp angle found the far corner of the net, and Quinnipiac had the 4-3 lead. Just 58 seconds later, Leitch scored again on the power play from nearly the same spot for the hat trick.
Things took an ugly turn after the fifth Bobcat goal. UPEI’s Bret Nasby came after David Marshall, who had already slammed into Savage when he came out of his net to play the puck earlier in the third period. As their fight ended, UPEI’s Cameron Connor went after Marshall, and things heated up once again. Nasby, Marshall, and Connor all received game misconducts. Less than one minute later, another fight broke out, and UPEI’s Greg O’Brien and Zach McCullough were given game misconducts along with Quinnipiac’s Eric Lampe. Atkinson’s empty netter with 14 seconds to go sealed the deal, and Quinnipiac came away with a 6-3 victory.
Lost between the Bobcats’ four third period goals and the multitude of penalties was a strong effort in net by Quinnipiac’s Nick Pisellini. The Itasca, Ill. native gave up two goals in the first period, but settled down nicely and made many of his 26 saves down the stretch to preserve the win for the Bobcats.
Quinnipiac opens up their regular season next weekend in Omaha, Neb. where they will face Union College in the first round of the Mutual of Omaha Stampede Tournament.