HAMDEN, Conn. — “Bounces ” and “inches” are words commonly used in college hockey.
The Quinnipiac Bobcats found out those words can mean the difference between two points on Friday night, in a 5-4 loss to the Dartmouth Big Green, at the TD Banknorth Sports Center.
“It’s part of hockey, sometimes they go in and sometimes they don’t,” said Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold.
The Bobcats hit numerous posts, missed open nets and Dartmouth’s Mike Devine made key saves though out the game.
There was controversy to end the game, as both teams were playing four on four, and Quinnipiac with a pulled goaltender. Dartmouth (12-9-3, 8-6-3 ECACHL) from their own zone was shooting at the empty net, but it crossed the goal line to the right of the goal with four seconds remaining. The referee did not call an icing on the dump in, as the clock continued to run.
Quinnipiac did not get another chance to try to tie the score in the conference game.
The Big Green came back to score the game winner, on Nick Johnson’s power play goal with just under 10 minutes remaining. Fisher came out of the net to play the puck, when the puck took an awkward bounce off of his stick. Connor Shields picked up the bouncing puck and fed Johnson for the goal. Fisher was looking over his other shoulder expecting the puck to come from the other side.
“Give Dartmouth a lot of credit,” said Pecknold. “They were very good offensively.”
Dartmouth got two goals in a span of 45 seconds early in the first period, to put the Big Green up in the contest. On the first goal, Tanner Glass sent a pass through the neutral zone to David Jones. Jones received the pass, skated into the zone and ripped a shot that beat Bud Fisher on the high side.
Johnson would get the second goal when he went five hole on Fisher. Johnson would win the face off to Mike Hartwick. He sent it over to Glass and then back to Johnson. Fisher got a piece of the puck, but it trickled into the back of the net for a two goal lead at 4:12.
The Bobcats would cut the deficit in half, on Ben Nelson’s power play goal. Reid Cashman sat at the blue line waiting for the offense to set up. Nelson was moving towards the net as Cashman fed the puck and put home the one timer tip in.
“On the five-on-three, I gained the blue line and Nelson did a good job getting to the net,” said Cashman.
Four minutes after the goal, the Bobcats’ Jamie Bates was called for a five minute hitting from behind call, and a game misconduct, as the Bobcats would play the rest of the game with one less forward.
“It was a huge call in the game,” said Pecknold.
It would not stop the Bobcats as they would score their 13th shorthanded goal of the year, this one scored by Mike Atkinson. Michael Bordieri would chase in a dumped in puck behind the net, feed the slot and Atkinson would beat Devine through the five-hole.
“He [Bates] is one of our top three of four players,” said Pecknold. “We handled it well though from an offensive standpoint.”
Heading into the second period, it was anyone’s game and in a span of 32 second, three more goals would be scored.
Quinnipiac would take their first lead of the game on Jean-Marc Beaudoin’s power play goal. Cashman, from the point, fed Chris Myers to the left of Devine, who was just outside the crease. Myers with his head up fed Beaudoin on the other side of the net for the goal at 8:54 of the second.
On the ensuing face-off from center, J.T. Wyman would tie the score when he would back hand the puck through the five hole of Fisher. 20 seconds later Glass would add a tally of his own.
“A big part of stopping Dartmouth, is to stop their transition game,” said Pecknold.
Quinnipiac would tie the score at four on a David Marshall tally. Cashman fed Marshall on the backdoor for the power play goal at 8:22. It was Cashman’s 113th career assist, tying him for the all-time assist’s record at Quinnipiac University with Brian Herbert.
“It’s something I take a lot of pride in,” said Cashman. “It’s a humbling honor.”
Devine would make 29 saves in the winning effort, while Fisher would make 21 in the loss.
Quinnipiac will return to action on Tuesday when they host AIC.