HAMDEN, Conn. — On Saturday night, the Brown Bears and the Quinnipiac Bobcats skated to a wild 2-2 tie. Brown’s Mike Clemente made 39 saves in the effort, while QU’s Eric Hartzell saved 29, including a penalty shot in overtime. Brown still remains three points back of the final home playoff spot behind both Clarkson and Quinnipiac.
“The tie keeps us in striking distance with three more games left; we could end up here in just another week,” said Brown coach Brendan Whittet.
Quinnipiac jumped on the board 4:22 into the first on Scott Zurevinski’s 12th of the season. After QU’s John Dunbar was tackled on a breakaway by Brown’s Michael Wolff, the Bobcats went on the advantage. Just 26 seconds into the power play, a shot from the right point was knocked down to Clemente’s left. Zurevinski, on the doorstep, took the puck and squeezed it through Clemente’s pads.
Quinnipiac bolstered its lead yet again on a power play at 14:19 of the first. Following a bench minor for too many men, Brown was short-handed again. QU’s Kellen Jones broke through on right wing and threw the puck at the net. The soft wrister found Russell Goodman’s stick, and he tipped it past Clemente.
QU would have gone up 3-0 if it wasn’t for the save of the night from Clemente. With the Bobcats on the power play again, Goodman looked to pick up his second of the night when he tipped a one-time pass low on the left side. Clemente moved from post to post to make a diving split-save with his right leg pad.
“I thought Clemente was excellent tonight; we weren’t able to capitalize on our chances, but a big part of that was his play,” said QU coach Rand Pecknold.
“They had us on our heels and credit to them, but give our guys credit for their perseverance through to the third period,” said Whittet.
Brown answered back with just 2:51 left in the second period on a power-play goal of its own. Just 25 seconds in, Dennis Robertson took the feed from Harry Zolnierczyk at the right point. Robertson fired the slap shot through traffic and past Hartzell for his sixth goal of the season.
Brown tied the score 3:57 into the third period thanks to Mark Hourihan’s second goal of the season. After shots from Matt Wahl and Mike Juola were stopped by Hartzell, Hourihan grabbed the rebound and sent his wrister between the leg pads of Hartzell to even the score at 2-2.
With just over four minutes remaining in regulation, QU’s Jeremy Langlois had a chance to put the Bobcats up. Following a two-on-one short-handed chance for Brown, Langlois picked up the rebound and rushed back up ice. Langlois, in two-on-two with Yuri Bouharevich, elected to take the puck in himself and rang one off the crossbar.
For any neutral fans attending the game, it was lucky Langlois didn’t score that goal, as it allowed for one of the wildest overtimes of the season.
Just 28 seconds into overtime, Robertson had a chance to end it from the right point. Instead it was Hartzell who displayed the leather, robbing the game-winner.
Then it was Clemente’s turn to show off his talents with just over three minutes left in overtime. As Dunbar had a chance to win it, Clemente flashed the leg pads again to deny the game-winner.
It was only after a hooking call to Brown’s Smith that things got crazy. After a QU shot was denied by Clemente, Zolnierczyk grabbed the puck and headed up ice. Zolnierczyk was in alone, forcing Hansen to trip him. The crowd jumped to its feet after an emphatic arm motion signaled a penalty shot. Zolnierczyk rushed in straight through the slot, but was denied by Hartzell when he tried to go five-hole.
“I wanted to shoot five-hole there. I just didn’t make a good shot. It kind of just flopped on me,” said Zolnierczyk.
“For me it was a little nerve racking, but I guess the long story short is that he just shot it into my chest,” said Hartzell.