NORTHFORD, Conn. — Home, sweet home.
Jamie Holden stopped 36 shots and a four-game losing streak for Quinnipiac with a 4-1 win over Holy Cross. The Bobcats were unbeaten in their last 12 games at the Northford Ice Pavilion, and first place Holy Cross became the latest victim of Bobcat country.
The Crusaders got on the board first at the 12:53 mark with a power-play goal by James Sixsmith. The puck was loose in the Quinnipiac crease with numerous players pursuing the puck, but Quinnipiac goalie Jamie Holden couldn’t tie up the puck and the Crusaders took advantage. James Sixsmith found the puck on the right hand side of the crease and lifted it past Jamie Holden to give the Crusaders the 1-0 lead.
Quinnipiac, who had 12 shots in the first period, had some good opportunities, including a power play, but failed to tie the game in the first.
“Quesada played great in the first, we probably should have had a couple goals, but the guys didn’t get frustrated they just kept coming and coming and coming” said Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold.
In the second period, the Bobcats perseverance paid off. The Bobcats struck back 9:10 into the second period on the power play . Craig Falite skated in along the left-wing wall and fed John Kelly who quickly tucked the puck in on the short side underneath the pad of Tony Quesada to tie the game at 1-1.
Quinnipiac claimed the 2-1 lead just less than two minutes later at the 11:30 mark. A tremendous display of passing on a three-on-one as Mark Hallam dished the puck over the blue line to Ryan Morton who skated in on Quesada. All of a sudden Morton pulled up, and left a drop pass back to a streaking Joe Dumais who buried the puck up to the top shelf to give the Bobcats a 2-1 lead.
Quinnipiac was attempting to stay unbeaten at home in 13 games dating back to last season, and win number 13 wasn’t unlucky. It was exactly the opposite. The Crusaders had a power-play goal taken away just a few minutes after Dumais gave Quinnipiac the lead. The play occurred with Holy Cross pressuring on the power play. Quinnipiac goalie Jamie Holden knocked the net of the moorings. As a result he was called for a delay-of-game penalty just before Tim Coskren scored into the dislodged net. The goal was taken off the board, and the Bobcats killed a two-man advantage for 58 seconds and the rest of the delay of game penalty to keep the 2-1 lead heading into the third period.
Holy Cross was 1-for-9 with the man-advantage on the night.
Holy Cross head coach Paul Pearl, who was displeased with the call when it was made, was asked after the game if that was the turning point.
“No, I don’t think so,” he said. “I think there was still a lot of time left in the hockey game.”
In the third period, the Bobcats padded their lead at the 6:49 mark when Ryan Morton scored his sixth goal of the season and it was one of the easiest. Chris White started the play out of the right-wing corner feeding it back to the point to defenseman Bill Cass who wristed a shot through the legs of Quesada. The puck trickled through Quesada’s legs and settled right on the doorstep for Ryan Morton to knock the puck in the net and give the Bobcats a 3-1 advantage.
“I’m happy for Ryan; he has been struggling a little bit to get some points this year. He has been getting chances, and then tonight they finally started going in for him or for ever he passed it to,” said Pecknold.
With 7:04 left in the game Ryan Morton would factor in on the fourth and final Quinnipiac goal. He took a shot from the slot on Quesada that bounced out to Chris White on the right side of the crease who knocked in the rebound lifting the Bobcats to a 4-1 win.
“I was just happy with tonight, that not only did we get a win but we competed very hard especially in the second and the third against a very good hockey team,” said Pecknold.
Quinnipiac will travel to West Point, N.Y. on Friday for a match up against the Army at 7:00pm. Holy Cross will return to action in two weeks on the road against Bentley at 7:00pm.