HAMDEN, Conn. — If Quinnipiac’s season follows the trend of their first two games, the team will be in very good shape, literally and figuratively. Friday night, the Bobcats needed overtime to knock off AIC, and Saturday John Kelly was the hero for the Bobcats with a goal 2:36 into overtime to win the team’s sixth Q-Cup and fourth in a row.
The first period was full of hits and scoring chances, but no goals. Jamie Holden got the start for Quinnipiac in the finals, and he was solid in the first period with nine saves. His counterpart Mike Polidor was strong as well, as he made 11 saves in the scoreless first period.
The Bobcats opened the scoring on a terrific play by Tim Morrison in the neutral zone to keep the Bobcats’ breakout alive. Morrison pushed through the Air Force defense and back behind the net. Morrison dished the puck off on the far side corner to Ryan Morton, who orchestrated a give and go back to Morrison.
He fed it back in front for Morton, but a streaking Ty Deinema picked up the pass instead and had his shot saved by Polidor. However, Morton was waiting on the doorstep for the rebound and he made Polidor pay for the loose puck. He put it in the net, and the Bobcats up 1-0.
At the 13:17 mark the Bobcats added to their lead when freshman Reid Cashman picked up his first goal of his Quinnipiac career on a shot from the point. Cashman wristed a shot that found its way through traffic, off an Air Force defenseman and just inside the far post to give the Bobcats a 2-0 advantage.
Just 26 seconds later the Bobcats padded their lead, on a similar shot from the point from Tim Morrison. Morrison took a slapshot from the right point that snuck through traffic, and bounced off the pads of Polidor, which enabled the opportunistic Ryan Morton to put home the rebound and give the Bobcats a 3-0 lead, Morton’s second goal of the night.
In the third period, the Falcons came out with a much more offensive mindset, outshooting Quinnipiac 15-2 in the frame — a statistic bolstered by a five-minute major and game misconduct assessed to Quinnipiac’s Dan Rossi at 8:40 of the third period.
“We didn’t need any offense, we had a three-goal lead. Then, all of a sudden we take the five-minute major, which kills you, because you don’t get the guy back, and it doesn’t end. You can score 19 power-play goals if you want, and that just killed us,” said Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold.
The first Air Force goal came on the power play at 11:20 on a bounce off the boards behind the Quinnipiac net. Holden had no chance to turn around before Andrew Ramsey picked up the puck and put it in the back of the net.
As the power play continued, the Falcons kept pestering Holden with scoring chances, beating him just 15 seconds later as Billy Devoney passed the puck to Ryan Wiggins, who cut the Falcons’ deficit to one.
A penalty to Joe Testa at 17:50 for interference led to another Air Force power play. It only took a minute for the Falcons’ Shane Saum to pick up a weak clearing attempt along the sideboards and wrist a shot above Holden’s right shoulder to tie the game at 3-3 with 1:04 left in regulation.
The game stayed tied the rest of the period, as teams went back to their respective locker rooms to gear up for another overtime.
The Quinnipiac players used some extra motivation during the intermission heading into overtime for their second game in a row.
And much like the night before, Quinnipiac didn’t waste any time in the extra session. It took just 2:34 for Kelly and the Bobcats to capitalize on a poor break by Air Force in its own end.
“The guys rallied a little bit, they cranked the music, they put their fire up song on, which they never do ever between periods, ever. They got it going and they came out with some energy and we got a good break, obviously it was a bit of a lucky play and Kelly buried it,” said Pecknold.
“We had a bad exchange between two defensemen, and Turnquist panicked a little bit with the puck and tried to go d-to-d behind the net, and it hit the net and went right out in front to the Quinnipiac player,” said Air Force head coach Frank Serratore.
The All-Tournament Team consisted of Guillame Caron of AIC, Ryan Lessnau of Bentley, Saum, Cashman and Deinema. The Most Valuable Player was Kelly.
Quinnipiac will travel to Ann Arbor on Friday and Saturday to take on Michigan, while Air Force goes to Anchorage, Alaska, for the Nye Frontier Classic.