HAMDEN, CT — Two early third period goals helped the Niagara Purple Eagles salvage a 3-3 tie with the Quinnipiac University Bobcats Saturday evening in the second game of a two-game non-conference set.
“Our third period and the courage our guys showed against a skilled team says a lot about our team,” said Niagara coach Dave Burkholder. “We just needed to go out and win twenty [minutes].”
Niagara came out of the third with two goals just 1:50 apart into the period. The first goal came fifty seconds in on a turnover by the Quinnipiac defense. David Ross picked off the pass and ripped a quick shot on net that beat Quinnipiac’s Dan Clarke on the glove side.
One minute later, Wes Consorti tied the game when he crossed the blue line with speed on a pass from Rob Martini and ripped a shot over the glove side and off the crossbar for the goal.
“You have a 3-1 lead and dominating the game and the second goal, the turnover was atrocious,” said Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold. “The third goal should never go in either. It’s the nature of the beast. We’re not getting any breaks.”
The Bobcats carried momentum from the previous night’s game, when they scored with three seconds remaining and scored the first goal of the night. Brandon Wong opened up the scoring with a power-play goal just 3:43 into the opening stanza. Scott Zurevinski dumped the puck into the corner and Jean-Marc Beaudoin picked it up behind the goal line. Wong stood in front of the crease waiting for the one-timer pass that he banged home through the pads of Niagara’s Chris Noonan.
The Purple Eagles (7-13-3) evened up the score with their own power-play goal by Tyler Gotto. Ryan Olidis sent a pass to the point that Gotto corralled on his stick. He held the puck for a moment and fired it through traffic on the far side that clanked off the bar and in at the 7:00 mark of the second.
Quinnipiac (13-10-2) retook the lead on Beaudoin’s goal. Jeremy Langlois took a shot from the right circle that ricocheted into the air. Beaudoin batted the puck out of the air and it bounced on the goal line and rolled into the net at 15:50.
Wong registered his second power-play goal of the evening with 1:05 left in the second period. Loren Barron sent a pass across the blue line to Zach Hansen, where he dumped the puck into the corner. Zurevinski collected the puck and gave it to Wong. Wong took the puck and shot it from behind the goal line and bounced it off the left pad of Noonan and into the goal.
Quinnipiac is 12-2-1 in games when they score first. They are also 40-0-4 since their last loss when leading after two periods and are 9-0-1 this season.
Clarke made 30 saves in the tie, while Noonan stopped 55 shots.
“We battled all night and played great,” said Pecknold. “We had 60 shots on a great team and their goalie played well.”
The Bobcats put 108 shots on net this weekend against Niagara goaltenders and only mustered five goals. Quinnipiac returns to the ice next weekend when they travel to Dartmouth, while Niagara travels to Alabama-Huntsville.