HAMDEN, Conn. — The Crusaders’ Greg Kealey took a shot with two seconds left in regulation that snuck through Justin Eddy’s pads as Quinnipiac and Holy Cross skated to a 3-3 tie.
Quinnipiac opened the scoring at the 13:37 mark of the first period when Aaron Ludwig scored on the power play. The play developed from the left wing corner when the puck came back to Quinnipiac defenseman Reid Cashman at the blue line. Cashman shot the puck on goal and the rebound came loose for Ludwig in the slot. He lifted the puck over the outstretched glove of Holy Cross goalie Ben Conway to give the Bobcats a 1-0 lead.
The second period was full of chances for the Bobcats, who outshot Holy Cross 10-8 including four power-play opportunities, but the Bobcats could not convert. Quinnipiac was playing with a depleted roster after last night’s game versus Bentley when three Quinnipiac players received disqualifications. The Bobcats also had injuries through out this game, which at one point led to minimal bodies on the bench.
“At the end of one of the periods, I was down to like seven forwards — it was unbelievable, I was almost ready to call timeout just to so we could find out who we had,” said Pecknold.
Holy Cross tied the game 46 seconds into the third period on a shot from the point. The puck was cleared out to the blue line, as Holy Cross defenseman Jon Landry kept the puck in and fired a shot on goal that made it through the traffic in front and into the back of the net, past Quinnipiac goalie Justin Eddy to tie the game 1-1.
The Bobcats got the lead back over two minutes later at the 2:55 mark when Aaron Ludwig scored his second goal of the night and his third in two nights. Ludwig crossed the Holy Cross blue line on a 2 on 1 with forward Chris White on his right. Ludwig elected to hold on to the puck and he quickly wristed a shot inside the far post to pull ahead of the Crusaders 2-1.
“He played great, Ludwig is starting to play with a little jam and he is fired up and he competed both night and this is one of the better games he has played in a while,” said Pecknold
Quinnipiac added to their lead on the power play at the 11:17 mark of the third period. Quinnipiac’s Mark Hallam won the draw in the left hand face of circle back to defenseman Dan Rossi who ripped a shot inside the far post and past Conway to give the Bobcats a 3-1 advantage.
The Crusaders began to mount a come back 4:17 left in the game on a power play goal by Greg Kealey. The penalty to Quinnipiac was called on Matt Craig for holding the stick back at the Crusaders blue line. Craig went to the box and the Crusaders went to work. The Crusaders cycled the puck back to the blue line for J.R Walker who teed up a shot that was deflected into the net by Greg Kealey in front of the crease to bring the Crusaders within one at 3-2.
Kealey and the Crusaders struck again with just three seconds left in the game. Holy Cross kept pressuring the Bobcats in the closing minute, and eventually Kealey desperately shot the puck toward the net from out of the near side corner, behind the goal line. His shot deflected off the inner left pad of Justin Eddy and directly into the back of the net to tie the game at 3-3.
“Well it was a bad break for us, the kid [Kealey] was behind the goal line it may only happen once in a blue moon. Justin wasn’t on his post, and that happens. It was just a bad break and I feel bad for Justin because he played a phenomenal game,”
Kealey also had a phenomenal game scoring two goals for the Crusaders.
“We hung in there pretty good. We got some chances at the end and we kept saying on the bench, we have to defend and we thought we might be able to get a couple chances. I thought both teams did and we were fortunate that one went in,” said Holy Cross head coach Paul Pearl.
The two teams fought through overtime still tied at three. Holy Cross had a chance when a penalty was called against Quinnipiac’s John Kelly who was playing defense in replace for numerous defenseman out of the Bobcat line up. Kelly was called for tripping just 48 seconds into the extra session. Holy Cross-failed to score with the man advantage.
“John Kelly did a great job of filling in and playing defense for a whole game and I thought Billy Cass probably had the best game of the year for us. He was gritty and he competed. We have kids doing well 15 out of 16 shifts and it’s that 16th shift that is killing us,” said Pecknold.
Quinnipiac had a chance to win the game with 11 seconds left with a face off in the Holy Cross end. Pecknold called time out to create a play and rest his team.
“We did everything we were supposed to do, we won the face off back, but Reid didn’t get the puck to the net, it got blocked. Rossi was supposed to release off the wall and get back in case the shot got blocked, he didn’t do that and that why it was a 3 on 1.
After the time out Quinnipiac failed to win the draw and the Crusaders got a great chance on a 3 on 1. Justin Eddy made his 33rd save on Andrew McKay as he crashed into the net with two seconds left, to preserve the 3-3 tie.
“We did everything we were supposed to do, we won the face off back, but Reid didn’t get the puck to the net, it got blocked. Rossi was supposed to release off the wall and get back in case the shot got blocked, he didn’t do that and that why it was a 3 on 1,” said Pecknold.
Ben Conway made 23 saves in the game for the Crusaders, now with a record of 19-7-4 overall and 17-2-3 in Atlantic Hockey.
“I thought Ben played well, I think he would like to have that third one back it got through him but he made some really nice saves and I though he did a good job in there,” said Pearl.
With the tie, Quinnipiac’s record stands at 13-13-6 overall, 10-6-6 in Atlantic Hockey. The Bobcats will travel on Tuesday to take on Sacred Heart.