HAMDEN, Conn. — Quinnipiac, led by four power-play goals and a hat trick from Ben Nelson, dominated Mercyhurst, 7-2, in front of 1,057 at the Northford Ice Pavilion on Saturday night, extending its winning streak to six games.
The Bobcats (12-10-3, 9-4-2 AHA) came from behind Friday night, but held on from start to finish on Saturday to take the win.
The beginning of the first period was slow, with both teams playing not to create turnovers. But the floodgates soon opened for the Bobcats.
Quinnipiac got on the board first at the 14:07 mark, on a Chris White rebound goal. The Bobcats scored a second goal two minutes later on the power play on Matt Craig’s team-leading 11th goal of the year.
Quinnipiac was slowly taking the game over from the Lakers (8-14-4, 7-6-3 AHA). The Bobcats scored their third goal of the night with 36 seconds remaining in the first period, as Nelson got his sixth in four games. Craig was behind the net and saw Matt Sorteberg at the top of the right circle. The initial shot by Sorteberg was stopped by Andy Franck, but Nelson was in front of the net to poke it through the pads.
“We’re struggling with a little confidence right now,” said Gotkin. “I don’t know what kind of toll 12 one-goal losses does to our team.”
To end the period, Quinnipiac took an interference penalty by Joe Dumais, putting the Lakers on the power play to start the second.
Fifty-three seconds after the first penalty, the Bobcats took a second penalty to put Mercyhurst on a 5-on-3. But the Bobcats continued the momentum they had from the first period into the two penalty kills, controlling the pace and killing both power plays.
With just over 13 minutes remaining the Bobcats registered their fourth goal of the night and second by White. After giving up the fourth goal, though, Mercyhurst awakened. The Lakers turned on the pressure switch and created scoring opportunity after another. Unfortunately for the Lakers, they were unable to capitalize on any chances. The closest the Lakers got to scoring was when Holden was out of the crease and a Quinnipiac player cam from nowhere to block a shot from going into the net.
Quinnipiac was able to regain the offensive reigns, when Nelson scored his second goal of the night. On a puck chipped into the offensive zone, Nelson picked it up, faked a pass, then netted the puck past Franck to take the lead 5-0 heading into the third.
Heading into the third the Lakers knew they needed an energy booster and they got it at 2:13 on an Erik Johnson. Jon Asselstine sent the puck to the red line where Kyle Gourgon proceeded to chip on to Johnson for a 1 on 1, with the puck rolling on its side. Johnson swung at the puck, as if he were swinging a golf club and poked it through Jamie Holden’s right pad.
Quinnipiac answered right back with its sixth goal of the night on an Aaron Ludwig marker.
After the goal, Mercyhurst called a timeout to regroup the troops to salvage what was left.
After the ensuing faceoff the Lakers scored a shorthanded tally by Scott Reynolds. Dave Borrelli, won the faceoff back to Scott Champagne who sent it in, picked up by Reynolds to make it 6-2.
Quinnipiac still wasn’t done as Ben Nelson scored his third goal of the game, on the power play to extend the lead to five goals.
“My linemates are awesome,” said Nelson. “They help to create scoring opportunities and we capitalize on them.”
The Bobcats took a big four points on the weekend sweep to move them into third in the Atlantic Hockey standings.
Over their six-game winning streak, the Bobcats have scored 28 goals.
“It ended up being a very tough weekend and now we have to regroup for Army next weekend,” said Gotkin.
The Bobcats return to action next Friday and host American International, while Mercyhurst hosts Army for two games.