Henningson leads the way, Bobcats snap four-game skid

By Jamie Palatini

With 6:28 remaining in the third period of Saturday night’s game between Quinnipiac and Clarkson, the Bobcats were clinging to 4-3 lead. Quinnipiac had just seen its three-goal lead slashed to one in a span of 12 seconds. Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold called a timeout, and gathered his team around the bench to talk things over.

“I know what I was going to tell them,” Pecknold said. “But Dan Henningson took over the timeout.”

The Bobcats’ captain led his team vocally on the bench, and led by example on the ice with a goal and an assist as Quinnipiac (15-13-2, 8-8-2 ECAC Hockey) defeated Clarkson (8-16-6, 6-9-3 ECAC Hockey) by a score of 5-3 at the TD Banknorth Center on Saturday night. Following three consecutive overtime defeats, the man wearing the “C” for the Bobcats knew how important it was to come away with a win.

“I think they’re all must wins now,” Henningson said. “We have to take it one game at a time, and every game is huge.”

During that timeout in the third period, Henningson reminded his teammates of what happened in the 2006-2007 ECAC Hockey Championship game against the same Clarkson team. In that game, the Bobcats held a 2-0 lead heading into the third period, but ended up squandering the lead and eventually lost 4-2. Since then, Quinnipiac is 32-0-3 in games they’ve lead after two periods. The Captain couldn’t help but be a little nervous with shades of ’07 in his mind.

“Well, maybe we were a little panicked after the last few games,” Henningson said. “But we kept our cool.”

Senior forward David Marshall has played with Henningson for four years at Quinnipiac, and knows what he brings to the team on and off the ice.

“Henny is definitely a quiet leader, he’s not a vocal guy,” Marshall said. “To hear him speak up perks everyone’s ears up. But when he’s talking, he definitely has something to say.”

Marshall scored his team-leading 17th goal of the season on a 5-on-3 power play to give Quinnipiac a 4-1 lead in the third period, and broke a school record in the process. It was the 68th goal of his career, which eclipsed Chris Cerrella’s career mark of 67, and made Marshall the Quinnipiac Division I record holder in goals scored.

For the second night in a row, the Bobcats fell behind early in the first period. A bad turnover in the Clarkson zone by Bryan Leitch led to a two-on-one for the Golden Knights. Sophomore defenseman Bryan Rufenach’s one-timer off a feed from Scott Freeman was slowed by Quinnipiac goalie Dan Clarke, but trickled through his legs to stake Clarkson an early 1-0 lead.

5:34 into the second period, Henningson stepped up when the Bobcats needed him to. Both teams were skating 4-on-4 until a Shea Guthrie penalty gave Quinnipiac a 4-on-3 advantage. Zach Hansen won the ensuing faceoff in the Clarkson zone back to Henningson, who skated into the slot and took a slap shot that beat Clarkson goalie Paul Karpowich for his fifth goal of the season to tie the game at one.

The Bobcats then tacked on two quick goals just a few minutes later. Chris Myers and Spencer Heichman scored just 48 seconds apart to give Quinnipiac a 3-1 lead which lasted until Marshall’s goal midway through the third made it 4-1. It looked like smooth sailing until Shea Guthrie and Lauri Tuohimaa scored quickly to make things interesting.

Things got even tighter for the Bobcats as the final seconds ticked away. At 4-3 with just under a minute remaining, Clarkson rang a shot off the crossbar that deflected just wide. Eric Lampe made his return to the Bobcats’ lineup on Saturday after missing three games following a concussion, and finished off the scoring with an empty net goal.

“He adds so much depth to our lineup,” Marshall said. “Eric brings intensity and so many little things. He’s one of our best penalty killers too, and it’s definitely great to have him back.”

And if there were ever a game to right the ship, now is the time. Quinnipiac’s next game is against their cross-town rival and ECAC leading Yale on Friday, Feb. 20 in the annual battle for the Heroes’ Hat. Alex Birsh and I will provide the call on the WQAQ Sports stream, and the broadcast is scheduled to get underway at 6:50 p.m.

Click here to view the box score from this game.

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