HAMDEN, CT — The Quinnipiac Bobcats (1-0) took a hard-fought 3-0 decision over the Bentley Falcons (0-2) in a Tuesday night matchup at the TD Banknorth Sports Center.
It was the 400th career program victory for Quinnipiac. The Bobcats’ first varsity win took place February 2, 1975, against Central Connecticut, 7-5.
Fresh off their third consecutive 20-win season, the Bobcats started off where they ended last season.
Play was even between the two squads throughout the first period.
“I thought [Bentley] won the first period and we were luck to get out of there zero-zero,” said Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold.
The Bobcats struck first with Bryan Leitch’s first goal of the season. Ben Nelson left a drop pass in the slot for Leitch, who went through the five-hole of the Falcons’ Joe Calvi.
“We started out slow, but then got it going in the second,” said Leitch. “Bentley was all over us early.”
On the assist, Nelson recorded his 100th point at a Bobcat. He is the 25th player to reach that milestone in Quinnipiac hockey history.
“Its cool [recording his 100th point]. I didn’t really know until Scott [assistant coach Scott Robson] told me,” said Nelson.
The Bobcats then came roaring out of the gates with two goals in the first four minutes into the third. At 2:05, Dan Travis gave Quinnipiac a two-goal lead when he banged home the rebound of Brandon Wong’s shot. Andrew Meyer also recorded an assist.
Quinnipiac extended the lead to three when Leitch scored his second of the night on a slapshot from the top of the left circle. Nelson skated in the zone and passed back to Leitch for the one-timer at 4:10.
Peter Vetri, a transfer from Massachusetts-Lowell, made 21 saves for the shutout, while his counterpart Calvi made 26.
“He was excellent,” said Pecknold. “Any time you have a shutout of 20-plus shots it’s great.”
The Bobcats travel to Colorado Springs, Colo., for two games with Air Force this weekend.
“We definitely gritted it out and some kids jumped up and took care of what we needed to do to win the hockey game,” said Pecknold.