NORTHFORD, Conn. — In a big game between the second and third place teams in the MAAC, Quinnipiac defeated Holy Cross, 4-3 in overtime, with a goal by freshman defenseman Joe Testa.
The win for Quinnipiac couldn’t have come at a better time. The team has been on a skid lately, losing its last three games including a loss to Holy Cross earlier in the week.
“Definitely a must needed win. We’ve been struggling with losing three straight and six of our last nine,” said Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold. “This is big. We needed a win at home and we need some positive momentum to get us rolling and to prepare us for the playoff run.”
Both teams came out looking like they wanted to win but it was Quinnipiac scoring first, 11:04 into the contest on a one-timer by Matt Froehlich, as he put the puck low glove side past Holy Cross goaltender Ben Conway.
The lead didn’t last for long as the Crusaders answered back about six minutes later on a great individual effort by Tyler McGregor. McGregor deeked around a Quinnipiac defender and got goaltender Justin Eddy to go down before roofing it into the net.
Quinnipiac took the 2-1 lead 7:01 into the period on a diving goal by Joe Dumais. Not only did the puck cross the line, but Dumais did as well. He crashed into the net along with the puck but the referee concluded that he did not intentionally direct the puck into the net with any part of his body. Dumais’ goal was his first at the collegiate level.
Again, the Crusaders had an answer as Jonas Tomiuck stuffed in a rebound blocker side and the game was deadlocked at two going into the third.
Quinnipiac again took the lead early in the third period with Michael Borderi streaking in and firing one high glove side to make it 3-2.
But the Bobcats for the third time in the game lost the lead just about halfway through the third on a slap shot by Greg Kealey that deflected in.
In overtime the Bobcats put it away as John Kelly found Testa streaking in from the blue line and Testa ripped the shot past Conroy to win the game. The goal was also Testa’s first at the collegiate level.
“Joey Testa has really played well this whole second half of the year for us,” said Pecknold. “He’s kind of coming into his own and it couldn’t happen to a better player for us to score the overtime goal and the first goal of his career.”
Holy Cross has been on a hot steak of late, going undefeated in five coming into Saturday’s game.
“We’re on a pretty good run right now. We’re playing hard. We’re overall playing well just making a couple of mistakes here and there,” said coach Paul Pearl. “This shows hopefully we can play with anybody in the league and hopefully it will bear well down the stretch here.”
Holy Cross hopes to keep up the good play as they bear down with only four games left in the season.
“You hope to be playing your best hockey in February,” said Pearl.
On the other side, Quinnipiac has been playing its worst hockey in the month of February. It is only 4-6 in games since Jan. 17. Pecknold doesn’t know for sure but hopes his team’s struggles are over with for the season.
“I guess we’ll have to wait and see. We’ve been struggling and getting some bad bounces,” said Pecknold. “I think we’ll take a lot of positives out of this game. A big strength of our team when we played earlier in the year was confidence. And we lacked that in this skid so maybe this will get it back for us.”
Pecknold and Quinnipiac will see if the skid is over next Friday, February 28th as they play at Connecticut.
Holy Cross will play Friday as well as they host Mercyhurst.