HAMDEN, CT — Brandon Wong’s game winning goal at the 2:18 mark of overtime helped propel the No. 9 Quinnipiac University Bobcats to a 5-4 win over the No. 10 UMass Minutemen Saturday afternoon in non-conference action. Wong also scored the game-tying goal to help give the Bobcats the win in the first ever meeting between the two schools.
“Certainly we’re excited with the overtime win,” said Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold. “We’re always excited to play a Hockey East school. A lot of hype with two top ten teams playing and it lived up to it.”
The game-winner came with Zach Hansen setting up the play. Hansen fed a pass down low to Mike Atkinson, who took the shot on net. UMass’ Paul Dainton made the save, but Wong was standing in front and chipped the puck over his pads for the game-winning tally.
“It was an entertaining game,” said UMass coach Don ‘Toot’ Cahoon. “Quinnipiac is a very good team. We lost in the first period. It’s a good team we lost to. You can’t play forty minutes and pull away from teams.”
Quinnipiac (12-1-0) tied the game at four with Wong’s power-play goal. With 2:28 remaining in the third, Justin Braun went to the penalty box for interference. On the ensuing power play, the Bobcats pulled Clarke in favor of the extra attacker and it paid off. Wong deflected home a shot by Zach Hansen from the point with 1:10 remaining in regulation.
“All I know is we got it set-up and worked it around the perimeter,” said Wong. “Hansen and I connected on a slap pass for the goal.
The Bobcats jumped out to a three-goal lead in the first period with three different goal scorers. Eric Lampe came into the zone and ripped a shot from the right circle of Minutemen goaltender Dan Meyers. Meyers got a glove on the puck, but it popped into the air and he was unable to hang onto the puck. Jean-Marc Beaudoin crashed the net and found the loose puck to bang it home for the early 1-0 lead.
With five minutes remaining in the first, Mike Atkinson extended the lead to two goals when he deflected home a Brett Dickinson shot from the point. Spencer Heichman wrapped the puck around the zone, where Dickinson corralled it at the blue line. He fired a shot on net that Atkinson deflected through the pads of Meyers.
Scott Zurevinski added a third goal late in the period when he banged home an open net goal. Lampe came in on a two-on-one with Dickinson. Lampe held the puck and shot it off the blocker of Meyers, but the puck bounced out to the slot and Zurevinski put it home with 2:49 remaining in the period.
To start the second period, Cahoon decided to replace Meyers in net with Dainton. UMass (9-3-0) responded with four straight goals after the change.
“We wanted to change it up, so it was basically to get their attention,” said Cahoon.
Casey Wellman notched a tally for the Minutemen with 1:15 remaining in the second, when he put home the third of three straight shots on Dan Clarke from just outside the crease.
UMass scored two goals in a span of eleven seconds midway through the third. Will Ortiz cut the deficit to one goal when he beat Clarke through the five-hole. T.J. Syner sent a pass from behind the goal line into the slot for Ortiz, who banged home the one-timer goal at 8:47.
Eleven seconds later Wellman tallied his second of the contest. UMass won the faceoff after the goal and James Marcou controlled the puck. He fed Wellman, who ripped a shot as he crossed the blue line, past the blocker side of Clarke to tie the contest.
With 6:46 remaining in regulation, Michael Lecomte gave the Minutemen their first lead of the game when he banked the puck off the crossbar and in. The goal went to review and stood, as the puck crossed the line.
“We had a couple of lapses in the third,” said Pecknold. “We found a way to battle back. It was an entertaining game for the audience and we were fortunate to get the win.”
Clarke made 28 saves in the victory, while Meyers made 12 and Dainton made 28 in the overtime loss. It was the second overtime victory for the Bobcats this season, as they defeated Bentley 3-2 in overtime on Oct. 17. This was Quinnipiac’s eighth consecutive win, matching the Bobcats longest winning streak in their Division I history, accomplished during the 2005-06 and 1998-99 seasons.
Quinnipiac travels down Interstate 91 Friday to New Haven, Conn. to take on rival Yale Bulldogs, while UMass takes on Boston College.