HAMILTON, N.Y. — This game lived up to the hype, as the top two ECAC teams battled at Starr Rink Friday night. In the end, it was the power play that made the difference for the Quinnipiac University Bobcats in a 5-3 victory over the Colgate University Raiders.
Both teams came out fast, trading opportunity for opportunity, looking to gain an early edge.
The ice began to tilt in Quinnipiac’s favor when Colgate’s David McIntyre was called for slashing in the offensive zone. On the ensuing faceoff, Zach Davies passed across to defensive partner Zach Hansen. Hansen wound up as if he were to shoot, then connected a pass to teammate Brandon Wong, who was at the top of the crease ready to slide it past a diving Charles Long. The power-play goal gave Quinnipiac a 1-0 lead 8:30 into the contest and just twelve seconds into the McIntyre penalty.
The second period brought an even quicker pace to the game and plenty of hitting. Both teams came out ferocious, highlighted by a monster hit at center ice by Colgate’s Matt Firman.
“We tried to jumpstart our game,” commented Colgate coach Don Vaughan. “We wanted to play smart and physical.”
Quinnipiac was not rattled.
“This was not a typical Quinnipiac-Colgate game,” said Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold. “It was definitely more physical than usual, but we proved we can play that way.”
Colgate’s Brian Day found an answering goal early in the second when he picked up the puck in the corner and wrapped around the net, squeezing the puck between the post and the right pad of Quinnipiac netminder Eric Hartzell at 3:40.
After that goal, Colgate continued to pressure in the Quinnipiac zone. Quinnipiac got a favorable bounce, however, when goalie Eric Hartzell stopped a pass going across the middle and immediately sent it out of the zone to Jean-Marc Beaudoin, who was waiting for it in the neutral zone. He broke to the Colgate net and was able to beat Long, putting his team up 2-1 at 7:20.
Just 1:46 later, Quinnipiac added to their lead on a goal by Jeremy Langlois. Mike Glaicar passed the puck to Wong, who then took a shot from the top of the faceoff circle. Long made the initial save, but the rebound popped out, and after a scramble in front, Langlois was able to put it in the net and Quinnipiac was up 3-1.
Then Colgate got into more penalty trouble, with Mike Leidl and David McIntyre taking penalties forty seconds apart. With only seven seconds left on the latter of the two penalties, Langlois tapped home his second goal of the night. Greg Holt cut across the middle and fired a shot through a screen. Long stopped the puck but could not hold on to the rebound as Quinnipiac went up 4-1.
The Raiders never say die, however, and they came out with fire in the third period.
“We played with our backs to the wall; I just wish we played with that energy and emotion when it was 0-0,” said Vaughan.
The Raiders got back into the game with a power-play goal by Day, his second of the contest, at 5:53 of the third period. Wade Poplawski and Jeremy Price went D-to-D and Day beautifully tipped Price’s shot, cutting the Quinnipiac lead to 4-2.
Just 2:40 later, Colgate’s Austin Smith scored a similar looking goal as McIntyre dropped the puck to defenseman Kevin McNamara. McNamara shot the puck on net and Smith tipped it in front, making it 4-3 with still plenty of time left in the game.
Hartzell came up big however, ruining any chance of a Colgate comeback, stopping twelve of the fourteen shots he faced in the third and twenty-seven of thirty overall.
With 2:16 left on the clock, Colgate was called for too many men on the ice, and once again the deadly power-play capitalized as Yuri Bouharevich beat Long on a wraparound with only fifty-four seconds left in the game.
“Give them [Colgate] a lot of credit,” said Pecknold of the comeback effort. “We are happy to get two points at Colgate. Its a huge road win.”
Quinnipiac (9-1-0, 5-0-0) takes their momentum and perfect ECAC record into Ithaca, where they will play against Cornell Saturday night at Lynah Rink.
Colgate (5-3-4, 3-1-1) will be at home again, trying to get back on track as they host Princeton Saturday night at Starr Rink in Hamilton.