ROCHESTER, N.Y. — In its first game as a Division I school, RIT met Quinnipiac on October 14th in the opening round of the Q-Cup tournament. The home-standing Bobcats easily handled the upstart Tigers 6-2, out shooting RIT by a wide 34-13 margin.
Entering tonight’s rematch, RIT head coach Wayne Wilson was interested in gauging how his transitioning team has improved. While both the difference in shots on goal (32-24) and on the scoreboard were closer, the result was the same. Quinnipiac won the game 4-1, earning its fifth road win of the season and first victory in New York State this season.
“I think we have made ground since that early game,” said Wilson. “Our power play isn’t any better but the other things are progressing.”
“I thought we were resilient in finding a way to win the hockey game,” said Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold. “RIT competed and worked hard, but we had some guys make some big time plays to score some goals.”
Quinnipiac and RIT played a high paced period of hockey during the first stanza. RIT got the first opportunity at a power play just eighteen seconds into the contest but managed to only muster a single shot on goal during the advantage.
The two teams played evenly through the first half of the period until Quinnipiac started its first power play. The Bobcats officially threw two shots on goal during the advantage but mustered a significant amount of pressure.
That power play allowed the Bobcats to get their legs underneath them and dominated territorially for the remainder of the period. Prior to the Quinnipiac advantage, RIT held a narrow 4-3 shot on goal advantage. But during the second half of the period, the Bobcats out shot RIT 7-2 and chipped in two goals to take the lead.
“I didn’t think our fist period was too bad, but they capitalized on a couple of chances” said Wilson. “I thought we played pretty well, but the one-on-one battles are something that we need to get better at.”
The first goal came at 16:48 as three Bobcats streaked into the RIT zone. David Marshall carried the puck down the left side and slid across the top of the crease. At the far side, Mark Agnew dove at the puck and just tipped it in prior to sliding into the back of the net himself. The referee signaled goal, and Quinnipiac took a 1-0 lead.
The Bobcats second goal came less than three minutes later as they outworked RIT in front of the Tigers net. Ben Nelson finished off the play off a scramble, flipping the puck over RIT goaltender Jocelyn Guimond’s shoulder and into the top left corner of the net.
During the first intermission, RIT made an adjustment finding that long passes up the boards allowed its speed to work. The strategy paid dividends early in the period to narrow the Tiger’s deficit on the scoreboard.
Darren Olson launched the puck from RIT’s left faceoff circle up the boards and hit Ricky Walton just before he crossed the Bobcats blueline. Walton carried the puck into the zone unmarked and across the low slot before flipping it over Quinnipiac netminder Bud Fisher’s shoulder to score at 4:41.
RIT’s momentum lasted until mid period, when a penalty handed the advantage back to the Bobcats. Quinnipiac capitalized on the opportunity when David Marshall ripped a wrist shot from the left faceoff circle that handcuffed Guimond. This power-play goal at 12:32 re-established the Bobcats two-goal lead at 3-1.
RIT got two power plays of its own late in the period but were unable to solve Fisher again, and like in the first ended the period down by two goals.
Quinnipiac came out with a huge jump in the third period and completely dominated the Tigers for the first five minutes. Despite the pressure, RIT held firm and prevented the Bobcats from extending their lead.
“That segment was how we are supposed to play, particularly in a road game,” said Pecknold. “We had some special goals tonight that really were nice.”
A short power play at the five minute mark allowed RIT to steady the ship a little and even out the tilt that had been on the ice in Quinnipiac’s favor up to this point.
Play proceeded evenly through the middle of the period, with each team failing to score on a handful of good scoring opportunities. Quinnipiac finally took advantage of a weird bounce off the back glass at 13:25 to extend its lead to 4-1. The puck landed in the RIT slot, where Marshall collected the puck and again found Agnew at the far post who one-timed the puck home for the Bobcat goal.
The last six minutes of the game devolved into a chip-fest, resulting in a steady stream of players from both teams parading towards the penalty box. Neither team gained enough of an advantage to net a goal, and the game ended with Quinnipiac winning 4-1.