WORCESTER, Mass. — In a game where neither Holy Cross (4-9-4) nor Quinnipiac (12-3-1) could muster 10 shots in a period, the Crusaders and Bobcats skated to a 1-1 tie at the Hart Center Thursday night. The game was the only Division I game on the docket for the evening, as teams prepare for finals and the winter break that roughly marks the halfway point of the season.
The No. 7 Bobcats came into Worcester scuffling a bit, with losses to Yale and Brown last weekend. However, they were the ones who lit the lamp in the first period. After the Crusaders turned the puck over in the neutral zone, senior Greg Holt walked in all alone and beat Holy Cross goalie Thomas Tysowsky. It turned out to be the lone goal of the period, as the teams combined for just 10 shots through the first 20 minutes.
“That’s a really talented team,” said Holy Cross coach Paul Pearl of Quinnipiac. “We did a good job all night of limiting their opportunities, but you cannot turn the puck over in the neutral zone, because they will make you pay.”
Holy Cross found itself playing from behind once again, after trailing in both games against RIT over the weekend. It’s a spot they do not wish to be in, but they have had success in coming back against quality opponents recently. Tonight was no different.
After just two shots in the first period, the Crusaders began the second much the same way, with limited opportunities on the net of Quinnipiac netminder Dan Clarke. It was a newcomer to the lineup for the Crusaders that gave them the spark they needed.
Junior Jamie Jelinek had seen just two games of action this season coming into the game, but has made the most of his opportunities. Against Sacred Heart, he scored to help the Crusaders to a 4-2 victory.
Tonight, his perseverance paid off once again. With his first two initial shots blocked down just inside the Bobcats’ blue line, Jelinek hung with the play. He collected the stray puck off the deflection and slid it over to a wide open Everett Sheen, who wristed one past Clarke to tie the game. Sheen now leads Holy Cross with eight goals on the campaign.
“Our goal in the second period was to just keep throwing pucks on the net,” Jelinek explained. “So when the opportunity came my way, I was fortunate to get the bounce onto my stick. When I saw Everett all alone in the slot, I got the puck over to him and he’s such a great goal scorer that he’ll score more often than not in that situation.”
“I thought we played well through two periods,” said Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold. “We held them offensively and created a few opportunities, but just couldn’t connect on that last pass to give ourselves a bigger lead. It’s a tough little stretch for us right now and I just think we need to get our confidence back. Confidence isn’t something you can turn on and off quickly.”
With just five penalties, four against the Crusaders, called on the evening, neither side could develop much on the special teams to gain that extra momentum. The third period turned into a goaltenders’ duel between Tysowsky and Clarke, as they both kept their respective teams in the game and tied.
In overtime, the Crusaders were the ones who controlled much of the play, collecting the only three shots of the extra session. Clarke who was there to bail his team out on each occasion, as the teams played to the 1-1 tie.
“Tom (Tysowsky) played excellent for us once again,” said Pearl. “Now we get the break here before the holiday tournaments and it’s a time to rest up and get back at it. We’ve done pretty well coming out of the break the past couple of seasons, so hopefully that trend continues.”
Quinnipiac will complete the first half of their season with a matinee home game against AIC on Saturday. Holy Cross concluded its 2009 season and will return to the ice in 2010 when they take on Mass.-Lowell on January 2 in the Ledyard National Bank Classic in Hanover, New Hampshire.