By David F. Pendrys
HAMDEN, CT- The Quinnipiac Bobcats men’s hockey team opened their season hosting the Northeastern Huskies Friday night up on the hill. QU struck in the first frame thanks to Andrew Taverner. The Northeastern keeper was drawn out of the net to deal with an earlier shot, and the puck moved to Taverner who sent it into a wide open net for a 1-0 lead.
It took until the second period for the visitors to respond as Lincoln Griffin put it in the net with 3
seconds left on a power play. He was assisted by Grant Jozefek and Dylan Sikura.
With overtime looming later in the third QU’s Bo Pieper delivered a highlight reel goal to take the lead at 13:37. He got in front of the goal and used a slick move to beat the goaltender assisted by Tommy Schutt and Derek Smith.
Northeastern emptied their net with 1:10 left and second later used the advantage of the extra attacker to tie it up. The puck had skidded towards the blue line but Dylan Sikura kept it in and teed up a shot from the point which Nolan Stevens deflected through the screen.
The two teams would play through overtime but not change the result of the 2-2 tie.
“It was an unusual game,” Quinnipiac Coach Rand Pecknold said. “There was some real good things for us to take out of it. Obviously some disappointing things to not hold the lead there at the end, but it’s the first game of the year. We’re playing Northeastern who is probably in the end will be a top ten team. I think we gotta look more at the good. We had some guys in some new roles. Some really stepped up. Chris Truehl was really good. I thought our freshman D played well so there are some good positives. [Thomas] Aldworth was good. [Tommy Schutt] was really good up front. On the flip side we just gotta clean some areas up. We panicked a little bit with the puck. Some of our better players panicked a little bit. We’ll clean it up. We’ll be better in the morning.”
QU goaltender, a junior transfer from Air Force, Chris Truehl, made 28 saves on Northeastern’s 30 shots and gave up no even strength goals. These included saves on at least three major Huskies breakaways. Northeastern’s Ryan Ruck made 20 saves on Quinnipiac’s 22 shots.
When asked about the choice to go to Truehl as a starter Pecknold explained that “I thought where Chris, kinda separated a little bit, in practice he’s been the best on the penalty kill, just kind of reading plays, and he also has I think 51 starts at Air Force. He’s played college hockey before.”
Truehl post game indicated he was pleased to have started his first game for QU and said post game he didn’t mind having to face 17 shots in the second period as opposed to four in the first seemingly preferring the action to keep him focused.
Quinnipiac went a noticeable 0-5 on the power play leading Pecknold to observe that he“thought it was sluggish. Our guys panicked. Our first unit panicked a little bit, and we lost balance.”
On the defensive side, Quinnipiac blocked 20 shots. Northeastern blocked 18.
The two teams do it all again on Saturday.
Noticed Plays (This is not an exhaustive list. These are plays that are noticed but might not make the score sheet during chaotic game action. Players can have far more results than is noticed. There were far more blocks in the game than were noticed. View these as a player having “at least” what is observed.)
Even Strength Defense
Steals & Interceptions: Tommy Schutt, Karlis Cukste, Kevin McKernan, Landon Smith snatched it at mid ice and brought it into the NU zone. Thomas Aldworth retrieved the puck at mid ice and skated in on a break.
Disruptions: K.J. Tiefenwerth flummoxed a Northeastern setup though did not recover the puck itself. Bo Pieper disrupted an opponent’s shot attempt. Kevin McKernan knocked away a Huskies shot setup.
Tim Clifton, Tanner MacMaster, Kevin Duane all whapped the puck out of their goal mouth at least once.
Defensive Zone Exits: Chase Priskie, Bo Pieper had at least 2, Andrew Taverner, Scott Davidson , Tanner MacMaster brought it out and sent it to Taverner for a solid shot. Tim Clifton pushed the Huskies back beyond the blue line. Craig Martin pushed Northeastern out at the blue line as well.
Clears: Tanner MacMaster, Chase Priskie had one and later another when he intercepted a Northeastern puck sent into the zone, Karlis Cukste.
Blocks: Derek Smith, Tim Clifton Block
Offensive Zone Steals & Efforts
Tanner MacMaster, Thomas Aldworth and Brogan Rafferty all kept the puck in the zone to preserve the QU offensive effort at various times. Rafferty was heavy on the forecheck. Kevin McKernan had a steal in the offensive zone to generate another opportunity.
Tim Clifton and K.J. Tiefenwerth kept the puck within the NU end during a power play. Derek Smith did similar on a different power play.
Clears on the Penalty Kill: Tanner MacMaster, Brogan Rafferty, Chase Priskie (2), Connor Clifton, Tommy Schutt. Schutt also took it into the Northeastern end during a PK, and Clifton skated it out at another instance rather than just a clear.
Blocks on the Penalty Kill: Tim Clifton, Chase Priskie
Even Strength Defense
Steals & Interceptions:
Jeremy Davies had at least 2 steals. Eric Williams and Zach Aston-Reese had at least one, Adam Gaudette steal on Q entry. Ryan Shea intercepted at least 2 passes including one he fed up for a shot. Nolan Stevens intercepted a QU centering pass to prevent a good chance.
Disruptions: Jeremy Davies stopped a QU breakaway, Adam Gaudette disrupted Quinnipiac from trying to set up in front, Lincoln Griffin messed with a centering pass, and at one point Trevor Owens sent the puck out his goal mouth.
Defensive Zone Exits: Nolan Stevens, Adam Gaudette, Brendan Collier all brought it out. Nolan Stevens and Zach Aston-Reese brought it out together in one sequence.
Clears: John Stevens had at least 2 including one from the goal mouth. Jeremy Davies and Ryan Shea also had at least 2. Garret Cockerill, Grant Jozefek, Lincoln Griffin and Tanner Pond had at least one.
John Stevens clear from goal mouth.
Blocks: Nolan Stevens had at least 2. Biagio Lerario and Ryan Shea had at least one.
Offensive Zone & Efforts
Trevor Owens, Dylan Sikura, Zach Aston-Reese all had steals in the QU end to lead to possibilities.
Clears on the Penalty Kill: Jeremy Davies had at least 2 and Adam Gaudette had one after intercepting a centering pass. Zach Aston-Reese cleared it and then followed it into the QU zone for a bit. Garret Cockerill and Trevor Owens combined to clear it.
Blocks on the Penalty Kill: John Stevens