By Jamie Palatini
For the third straight game, the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team needed overtime to settle the game. For the third straight game, they lost.
Jared Ross’s goal 1:06 into overtime gave the St. Lawrence Saints a 4-3 win over the Bobcats at the TD Banknorth Sports Center in Hamden. With the win, St. Lawrence improves to 15-11-3, and 7-7-3 in ECAC Hockey. The loss drops Quinnipiac to 14-13-2, and 7-8-2 in ECAC Hockey. The victory catapults the Saints ahead of the Bobcats into fifth place in the very tight ECAC; fourth through 10th places are only separated by four points.
“There’s not much to say,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “It’s frustrating. We’re struggling to keep pucks out of our net right now.”
Last weekend, the Bobcats lost on the road to Cornell 2-1, and then to Colgate 3-2 the following night. Both games went to overtime, and in both cases the Bobcats were shorthanded in overtime when the game-winning goal was scored. Tonight they netted three goals, equaling their total from their previous three games. Pecknold’s concerns aren’t focused on getting the puck in the net.
“I’m just looking for a goalie to win a game for me,” Pecknold said. “I don’t know who my starter is, but we are 12th in the league amongst 12 starters, and it’s killing us. I’m just waiting for one of them to step up and show me they want the job, and I’ll play them every game.”
St. Lawrence jumped on the board just 53 seconds into the game. A wraparound attempt from senior forward Brock McBride hopped on top of Quinnipiac goalie Bud Fisher’s glove and trickled behind him to spot the Saints an early lead.
The Bobcats responded at the 8:42 mark. After senior forward Bryan Leitch narrowly missed the right corner of the net with a wrist shot, he collected his own rebound in the right corner of the St. Lawrence zone. Leitch found linemate David Marshall all alone in front, who lifted the puck over St. Lawrence goalie Alex Petizian for his 16th goal of the season to tie the game at one.
Marshall’s goal marked a major milestone in Quinnipiac Division I history. Marshall now has 67 career goals, which ties him with Chris Cerrella for the all-time Division I record at Quinnipiac.
With 4:30 remaining in the first, the Bobcats took the lead. Chris Myers’ shot from the right faceoff circle flew past Petizian to put Quinnipiac out in front by a score of 2-1.
As they did in the first period, the Saints applied pressure early in the second. Kevin DeVergilio’s initial shot down low was stopped by Fisher, but the senior forward collected his own rebound and put it past the outstretched left leg of Fisher to tie the game at two. St. Lawrence outshot the Bobcats 14-3 in the second period, and kept most of the action in the Bobcats’ zone.
“The second period we just got dominated,” Pecknold said. “There were just so many little things that we did poorly…not getting the puck deep, simple stuff that we didn’t do.”
The score remained that way until a Jared Keller penalty gave the Bobcats a power play opportunity midway through the third. Zach Hansen’s slap shot from the blue line found its way through traffic, deflecting off of a couple Saints’ defenders to give the Bobcats a 3-2 lead.
St. Lawrence struck back less than a minute later. After Fisher made a save on a shot from the left faceoff circle, both teams battled for the loose puck in front of the goal for nearly five seconds, before Alex Curran found the puck and put it past Fisher to quickly tie the game at three.
In the overtime, Ross sent the fans home hanging their heads. Ross stopped a clearing attempt against the boards by the blue line and sent a wrist shot on net that somehow found its way past Fisher to give the Saints the win.
“There was stuff going on in front,” Fisher said. “It got tipped. It was going high, and got tipped down and went five-hole…we’re just not getting the breaks right now.”
Quinnipiac played tonight’s game without two of its prime offensive threats in Brandon Wong and Eric Lampe. Both will miss tomorrow night’s game against Clarkson, and Wong is likely out until at least the ECAC playoffs.
“I hate to make excuses, but we’re just not deep enough to offset two kids (Wong and Lampe) of that caliber,” Pecknold said. “We’re a different team. Even with Mike Glaicar out, and that’s hurting us. Those are three kids that should be playing right now, and we’re just not deep enough to offset that.”
Leitch assisted on all three goals for the Bobcats, bringing his Division I leading total to 38 on the season. But he and Marshall were also on the ice for three of St. Lawrence’s four goals, a fact that didn’t escape Pecknold.
“A lot of our better players were our worst players tonight, and it’s hard to win games when you play like that,” Pecknold said.
Quinnipiac will look to snap its four game losing streak tomorrow night when they host Clarkson at the TD Banknorth Sports Center. Alex Birsh and Andrew Gau will have the call on the WQAQ Sports Stream. The broadcast is scheduled to begin at 6:50 p.m.
Click here to view the box score from this game.