Talk about a comeback.
Quinnipiac had only allowed three goals in a game three times this season entering Saturday’s matchup against Princeton. But the Tiger shocked the Bobcats at TD Bank Sports Center, scoring three times over the final 10:38, including twice in a 1:04 span, to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 win.
The loss snapped the Bobcats’ nation-best 13-game unbeaten streak. Quinnipiac had several defensive lapses that finally caught up to them, including a brutal Matthew Peca turnover that Andrew Ammon jumped on for the game-winning goal. Still, give credit to the Tigers, who jumped off the bench as the final horn sounded.
“To get four goals on a team that’s that defensive, it’s huge,” Princeton head coach Bob Prier said. “Pretty proud of the guys for the way that they battled, just the plays they made under duress, maybe that’s what we needed, to be down by a couple and just realize, ‘Hey, we’re just going to have some fun, make some plays and see what happens.’”
Freshman Colton Phinney made 32 saves for his first career win, including several big ones in a scoreless first period, as well as denying Peca on a shorthanded breakaway later in the game.
“He was composed and he outplayed their goalie [Michael Garteig], and that was something we needed,” Prier said.
Even after the loss, Quinnipiac still has the No.1 scoring defense in the country, although head coach Rand Pecknold wasn’t pleased with the way they played Saturday.
“They’re systematic and they’re so safe with the puck,” Prier said of the Bobcats. “They rarely turn it over; it’s always up the boards. Their puck support is incredible; you can tell the chemistry they have.”
There’s potential good news on the horizon for Princeton, as forwards Andrew Calof,Tyler Maugeri and Ben Foster could return from injuries in the next couple weeks, although Prier said nothing was set in stone.
Connecticut streaks snapped
Just as Princeton finished its improbable comeback Saturday to end Quinnipiac’s 13-game unbeaten streak, Cornell held on to beat Yale 2-1, snapping the Bulldogs’ seven-game unbeaten streak. That streak was the third best in the country, trailing only the Bobcats and Ferris State. Still, Yale appears to be in good shape heading into the holiday break. The Bulldogs hosts Merrimack this Saturday, then close out the pre-Christmas schedule with struggling Harvard and Dartmouth next weekend.
Freshmen Patrick Spano and Alex Lyon have split time in net, and each newcomer has been solid so far. The Bulldogs look to have a solid group of forwards as well, despite the mysterious departure of senior Clinton Bourbonais last week. Senior Jesse Root and freshman Mike Doherty, and junior Carson Cooper each have eight points in nine games, while Anthony Day has average a point-per-game in his seven contests, although the junior didn’t play this weekend.
Cornell picking up steam
The Big Red’s win over Yale Saturday was their third win in a row, moving them to 6-3-1. More importantly, Cornell got back top center Cole Bardreau, who had been out with an injury since the Big Red’s season-opening sweep at Nebraska-Omaha. The sophomore had three points in a 5-1 win over Brown Friday, and now has six points in four games this season.
Cornell had a power-play goal in each game this weekend, and the Big Red are first in the nation with a 30.61 percentage on the man advantage. Cornell hosts Niagara in a non-conference game Tuesday before facing Boston University Saturday at Madison Square Garden.