By David F. Pendrys [Official Box Score from QU Athletics]
HAMDEN, CT – Quinnipiac Men’s Hockey opened their season with the daunting task of taking on both Boston College and Boston University. Their game at BC ended in a tie, and at home versus BU the Bobcats found themselves tied with the Terriers at the end of regulation. But ultimately BU’s Shane Bowers would push the puck into the net during a chaotic scrum in overtime to take the hard earned win.
“Certainly we’re disappointed to lose in overtime like that, but I thought our guys competed hard and battled,” Quinnipiac Head Coach Rand Pecknold said. “It’s early in the season, we’ve got some things we need to clean up, but there’s a lot of positives.” After noting the team is only a few practices into the season and playing two games against what he expects to be top ten teams he went on to say. “We were certainly in both games, and if for a bounce her or a bounce there, or a little better attention to details, we’d come out with a better result.” On a followup question Pecknold elaborated further. “We just didn’t play offense enough. We didn’t have the puck enough. We gotta possess it, and win races, and make some plays down low.”
“It’s a great win for us. I’m really proud of our team,” BU Coach David Quinn said. “This is a team that certainly tests your physicality and your toughness. I was curious to see how we were going to react coming to a hostile environment against a bring strong mature team that I know has a lot of talent and is well coach. I’m really proud of how we responded. I thought we were physical, I thought we played at a good pace, obviously we have things we gotta clean up and get better, but right now this early in the season, every coach is trying to figure out what type of team they have from a competitive standpoints, a physical standpoint, and from a mental standpoint, and so far we’ve passed the test in all those areas.”
The match up put two NHL draft picks opposite each other in net as Sophomore Jake Oettinger (Dallas) started his second season for BU between the pipes. His counterpart was Keith Petruzzelli (Detroit) starting his first collegiate game. Both netminders played very well as Petruzzelli made 31 saves, and Oettinger made 22.
“You see why he’s a high NHL draft pick and you saw some things…what he needs to work on,” Pecknold said.
“You’re talking about two great goalies. Two guys with a great future ahead of them,” Quinn said.
Quinnipiac got their goals from Alex Whelan and Bo Pieper. Whelan, who had had to leave the game briefly after an apparent injury returned soon after and swept down the ice evading the defenders and smacking the puck to the high corner of the net to put QU in the lead at 13:49 in the first. Craig Martin picked up the assist.
“[Whelan’s] what we’re all about. We just gotta get a few more guys in that same range with how hard he hunts the puck.,” Pecknold said.
With the game tied at 1. Pieper received a puck in excellent position centered and rocketed it past Oettinger at 13:38 in the second. He was assisted by Landon Smith and Odeen Tufto.
BU’s Patrick Harper, a Connecticut native and Nashville draft pick, accounted for two BU goals and helped set up the critical overtime tally. In the second period during a power play, a previous BU effort had created a mess in front of the net. Harper scooped it up away from a diving Petruzzelli and carefully controlled the puck behind the net. A QU defender had ended up behind Petruzzelli in the net and the goaltender couldn’t rise. Harper continued to be patient and skated back in and lofted it over the netminder and in before QU’s defense could recover at 3:39. Chad Krys snagged the assist on this effort.
His second was equally skilled as he outmaneuvered a Bobcats defender and skated in to take on Petruzzelli successfully to tie the game up at 00:53 in the third.
It was also his skating around the QU zone that eventually got the puck in on net in OT, which touched off the chaotic fight for the puck in front.
“[Harper’s] worked so hard away from the rink. He’s a little bit bigger and thicker. I think he’s playing at a better pace. We’ve talked an awful lot with him about pace without the puck. He’s really good with it and he plays quick with it. But when the other team gets it, as most players do when they get to college, there’s a little bit of a lull when they tend to not play fast and I think he’s elevated the pace of his play without the puck.”
The game was a rough one with many scuffles breaking out, but this proved to be to QU’s disadvantage. QU took two penalties in the first and three in the second that created BU power plays. Obviously Harper took advantage of one of those opportunities. BU was called for one in the first, and two in the second. The teams also had two moments of simultaneous penalties.
“They’re a physical team anyway, but it certainly seemed a few of their players were extra charged up playing BU…I love the fact that we stood toe to toe, that was a physical hockey game,” Quinn said. Later he added, “the two games we’ve played. There’s a lot of physicality. The whistles blow, and other team’s are all ticked off at us because we’re at the net. You’re going to get rewarded for that.”
“We took some bad penalties tonight. Really selfish penalties so we need to clean that area up,” Pecknold said plenty.
Though Quinn noted power play struggles (though Harper did score on the PP) as having an effect on the team. “Psychologically when your power plays don’t do well, it can take a little bit of life out of your team, and I thought that’s what happened in the second period.” He went on to add about even strength action in the third. “w..we really played well. We had puck possession time, chances. We just weren’t able to capitalize on it.”
The game was a back and forth affair. Neither team dominated as BU launched more shots, but both sides were generating speed and chances. Each side blocked 20 shots on the day as the defenses were generally solid, though most of the goals were scored due to defensive breakdowns. QU was also without the injured Chase Priskie, a critical part of the defense.
“There’s no way we’re going to replace Chase. He’s one of our top three or four players,” Pecknold admitted.
Pecknold was complimentary of Brogan Rafferty, Brandon Fortunato, Luke Shiplo’s performance on defense. Praise also came for Fortunato from Quinn of his former player. “[Fortunato] really makes plays, you always when he has it, good things are going to happen.”
BU entered the game with eleven NHL draft picks including all six of their defenders. QU’s Pecknold suggested Brady Tkachuk would be a draft pick as well. Bobo Carpenter has been getting looks at development camps as well.
“They’ve got a few…plenty of first round picks to go around with those top two lines,” Pecknold said with a grin. Later he mused on BU further. “I don’t know how many draft picks they had in the stands tonight.”
Carpenter led BU with 7 shots, Tkachuk had 5, Krys, Kasper Kotkansalo, and Harper had 3. Whelan had 4 shots for QU, Kevin Duane, Pieper, and Brogan Rafferty had 3 apiece.
“I thought our battle level was really good,,” Pecknold said. “I thought we played to our identity. It wasn’t perfect. We gotta get some kids, some of these freshman more up to speed. Some of these freshmen are really good hockey players and we didn’t give them a lot of ice tonight, but they’re going to help us win games. We just need a few more weeks of practice, and a few more games.”
“I thought too often we would stop on the puck, when we get it behind, instead of getting it and moving, which allowed them to kind of outnumber us,” Quinn said. “I thought we had a lot of offensive zone time in the first period. We didn’t get a lot of out of it because we were basically playing three on five hockey.” He went on to say things improved as the game went on.
BU Coach Quinn
QU Coach Pecknold
QU’s Alex Whelan
QU’s Keith Petruzzelli
Can view larger versions at the Facebook page gallery.
(This is a not exhaustive very imperfect list of noticed plays that might not make the score sheet. It is very possible a player has far more of any sort of play than are noticed in the heat of action. It is what it is. Read these more as a player had “at least” what is noted here. Note the language is a bit stilted, I’m trying to figure out how to make the information flow better.
Karlis Cukste: Noticeable in his efforts were multiple clears on the penalty kill, including when he had to fight it out of the zone. Stole the puck in the Bobcat end many times, including threading the puck up for a scoring chance. Late in the game disrupted a BU zone entry, had a block and intercepted a pass up the ice.
Brandon Fortunato: Had a least two blocks and disrupted at least one BU zone entry.
Kevin Duane: At least one clear on the penalty kill, also disrupted a BU zone entry on the PK, also had an even strength clear.
Landon Smith: He had multiple attacks up ice, usually sending the puck ablely to Pieper for scoring efforts.
Tanner MacMaster: He had several steals in the defensive end, and also at least one in the offensive end which lead to a shot.
Craig Martin: Blocked at least two shots, one of which led to Whelan getting the puck for his goal. He also, had at least one clear on the penalty kill.
Devin Moore: Moore had at last one steal and clear in the defensive end.
Bo Pieper: In addition to his goal he had a short handed try during a penalty kill, and also stole the puck in the neutral zone blunting a BU setup.
Brogan Rafferty: Had at least steal in the D zone and exited with it, cleared it at least once on the PK, and cleared it at even strength.
John Furgele: Had at least block, and one clear on the penalty kill.
Kevin McKernan: Disrupted a BU effort, kept the puck in the BU zone during an attack, and had at least one clear on the PK.
Odeen Tufto: Had at least one even strength clear.
Ty Amonte: Had at least one interception in the neutral zone.
Cam Crotty: He had at least one steal in the defensive end and then exited the zone.
Brandon Hickey: Had multiple instances where he stole or got the puck in the defensive end. Also kept it in during a BU effort which lead to a shot. Had a least one clear on the penalty kill.
Chad Krys: Had several shots on the power play. He also had a block leading to a clear on the penalty kill, and cleared it again on a PK.
Logan Cockerill: He generated a short handed try, and had an even strength clear.
Gabriel Chabot: Retrieved the puck in the defensive end and got it out of his zone. Also had at least one block, and at least one clear on the penalty kill.
Patrick Curry: He grabbed the puck in the Terrier end and made sure it was out at least once.
Nikolas Olsson: He had a steal in the neutral zone which he fed up to a teammate for an eventual scoring chance. He also intercepted a pass in the defensive end and cleared the puck on the penalty kill at least once. Olsson was noticeable for his puck movement at multiple instances in the contest.
Bobo Carpenter: Had numerous steals in the Terrier end, including one which stopped a scoring chance. Also had at least one clear on the penalty kill.
Shane Bowers: In addition to his game winner, he kept the puck in the QU zone during another attack prolonging the offense.
Dante Fabbro: He had a least two blocks, and multiple instances where he stole or acquired the puck in the defensive end. He got the puck out of the area several times. He also kept the puck in the QU end on a power play. He also cleared the puck from the BU goal mouth preventing danger. Later in the game he disrupted a Bobcats scoring try.
Jordan Greenway: He intercepted at least one QU centering pass and also snatched the puck in the Bobcats end to generate a shot.
Hank Crone: Intercepted a pass to lead to a scoring attempt. He also stole the puck in the opposing end, and stick handled around for a threat. He cleared it from the BU zone at even strength at least once.
Kasper Kotkansalo: Disrupted a QU attempt on the PK. Also cleared it at least once while down a skater. He also disrupted an opponent’s zone entry. The defenseman also kept the puck in the QU zone during another attack.
Brady Tkachuk: He got the puck out of the goal mouth in one instance.