HAMDEN, Conn. — Matt Froehlich’s game winning goal at the 12:12 mark of the third period provided enough for Quinnipiac to sneak past Sacred Heart 5-4 in Atlantic Hockey action at the Northford Ice Pavilion Friday.
The Pioneers opened the scoring after Quinnipiac failed on the power play just under two minutes into the game. After the penalty expired, the Pioneers transitioned up the other end of the ice and at 4:08 took the early lead.
The Bobcats were caught in a line change after the power play and Sacred Heart’s Peter Giatrelis picked up the loose puck along the near side boards in the neutral zone and raced across the blue line, beating the Bobcats defense to the puck. Giatrelis skated in the zone and in front of the crease and put the puck over Justin Eddy’s left shoulder.
The Pioneers would put themselves up 2-0 on a wraparound from Peter Ferraro at 9:06. Ferraro saw space on the left side of the crease and used it to skate out in front and slide the puck under Justin Eddy and stun the Northford Ice Pavilion by taking the two-goal advantage.
The Bobcats managed to muster a goal before the end of the period when Quinnipiac forward John Kelly kept a broken play alive in the neutral zone. Kelly dove at center ice to get the puck to Froehlich. He dished the puck to Craig Falite, who came around the right hand post and wrapped the puck inside the post to cut the Bobcat deficit to one.
In the second period, the Bobcats came out with vengeance. The Bobcats started a three goal scoring spree on a goal just 1:55 into the period. Mark Hallam, Aaron Ludwig set up defenseman Joe Testa at the point who riffled a shot through the legs of Kevin LaPointe, which tied the game 2-2.
“I think we got into some special teams play in the second period and we got away from our game plan a little bit. We made some mistakes in the defensive zone, two of the goals were point shots and the wingers didn’t have their point men,” said Sacred Heart head coach Shaun Hannah.
Quinnipiac took the lead less than three minutes later at the 4:07 mark. Ryan Morton was tied up in front by the Pioneer defense, but not long enough. Quinnipiac forward Matt Craig dished the puck to Morton from the corner and Morton got his stick down just in time to deflect the puck past LaPointe and put the Bobcats up 3-2.
The Bobcats continued the scoring barrage with their fourth unanswered goal at 6:43 on the power play. Matt Craig and Matt Froehlich came through the neutral zone on a two on one. Craig started the give and go to Froehlich on the left-hand side and Froehlich executed the give and go perfectly by passing the puck back to Craig in front who quickly put the puck past LaPointe giving the Bobcats a 4-2 lead heading into the third period.
“I thought Sacred Heart was going to roll over a bit when it was 4-2 but they came back and scored two pretty gritty goals and it was a good topsy turvy college hockey game,” said Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold.
In the third period the Pioneers struck back and cut the Bobcat lead to one, when Rocco Molinaro scored Sacred Heart’s third goal of the night just 2:16 into the third period. The play developed from the left-hand corner as Barclay Folk skated behind the net. He attracted the attention of both Quinnipiac defenseman as Molinaro came down the center of the slot and was wide open as he shot the puck just over Eddy’s outstretched pad along the near side post to bring the Pioneer back within one.
Sacred Heart would fight all the way back to tie the game at 10:23 of the third when Marc-Andre Fournier picked up a pass from Bernie Chmiel in the neutral zone on the far side of the ice and beat Quinnipiac defenseman Troy Maleyko. Fournier was able to use his speed to cut in one on one against Eddy. Fournier reached back a wristed the puck just over Justin Eddy’s glove to tie the game 4-4.
The Bobcats bounced back after the two Sacred Heart goals to tally the game winner with 7:48 left in regulation. Matt Craig was stick handling behind the Pioneer net and then attempted to jam the puck inside the near side post. LaPointe came over to cut off the puck, but the rebound came loose to Matt Froehlich, who pounced on rebound and lifted the puck past the outstretched arm of LaPointe, who was out of position because of the pile of players in front of the net.
Sacred Heart had an opportunity with less than three minutes in the game on the power play but failed to convert. Sacred Heart was unable to capitalize on all eight of their man advantages on the night. With 25 seconds left the Pioneers pulled LaPointe, but still were unable to score. LaPointe turned away 29 saves for the Pioneers while Quinnipiac’s Justin Eddy made 29 saves and the win.
“It is always nice to win at home and its defiantly nice to win at home over Sacred Heart they played well the certainly played well enough to win, but my big line came through there with the fifth goal, which was nice,” said Pecknold.
Quinnipiac has dominated the Pioneers since the two teams have played at the Division I level. Quinnipiac leads the series 14-1-3 mark against Sacred Heart since 1998.
Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart will match up again tomorrow night at 7:00pm at the Northford Ice Pavilion.