HAMDEN, Conn. — Connor Jones’ two first-period goals for Quinnipiac led the Bobcats past the Acadia Axemen, 5-2, on Sunday afternoon in exhibition action.
This marks the only exhibition match of the season for the Bobcats before their season opener next weekend at Ohio State.
“We got some good game experience for our freshmen,” said QU coach Rand Pecknold. “That’s why we like to play these games early in order to give those guys a little bit of a taste. We will certainly see a different atmosphere this Friday at Ohio State.”
For this Acadia team, playing some of these college teams can amount to a lot of lessons early in their season.
“When you see a team get down early, you don’t want to see your guys quit and I don’t think our guys quit,” said Acadia coach Darren Burns. “Our compete level was good and we thought our guys played hard and physical.”
Quinnipiac took the lead 5:07 into the first period on a goal from Jeremy Langlois, who took a feed from Ben Arnt on right side and was able to wrist it past Acadia goalie Peter DiSalvo. Langlois led the Bobcats last season with 18 goals.
QU upped their lead just 13 seconds later on the first of two from the Jones brothers. Kellen Jones started the play as he broke through into the Acadia zone and sent a pass to twin brother Connor, who made a move to the net and deked to his left. DiSalvo was forced to move left, but Connor then calmly went right and tapped just inside the right post for the 2-0 lead.
“Kellen did a great job making passes to me,” said Connor. “I was able to be in the right place at the right time and he made a nice pass and I was able to send it backhand.”
After a Langlois interference penalty. it looked like the Axemen could be poised to cut the Bobcats’ lead in half. Instead, it was QU extending their lead on a Connor Jones shorthanded beauty. Kellen Jones broke in on the right wing, but lost control of the puck when he got knocked down making a move to the net. Jones was able to push the puck just enough to reach Connor, who had moved in on DiSalvo’s right. Connor took the puck moved left again and moved back to his right to tap a backhander past DiSalvo for the 3-0 lead.
Senior Jake Whiting replaced Dan Clarke for the final minutes of the opening frame and recorded a pair saves. Whiting’s first two years with the team, he acted as the Bobcats’ manager. Last season, he became the fourth-string goaltender. This year he is the third goaltender.
“He is a great kid and last year we were able to bump him up to fourth string and he got to dress for a game,” said Pecknold. “Tonight, we wanted to make sure to get him in there no matter what the situation was. He did great and made a couple of saves, which the boys were fired up for.”
Quinnipiac started the second period on the power play after Acadia’s Michael Ward was called for a boarding call with nine seconds left in the first frame.
On the continued power play, Quinnipiac went up 4-0, this time on a hard wrist shot from Zach Davies.
The Bobcats took a 5-0 lead on a five-minute major penalty to Paul Kurceba when Kevin Bui wristed home a shot just inside the right circle.
The Axemen were able to get on the scoreboard with 2:43 remaining in the second period with a power-play goal of their own. Following a pair of penalties to the Bobcats, the Axemen found themselves on a 5-on-3 power play. Andrew Clark took a feed from Spencer Jezegou and was able to rip his wrister glove side past Clarke to cut the lead to 5-1.
Acadia would add one more just 1:48 into the third period, but couldn’t amount enough of a comeback.
This marks a tough road trip for the Axemen after a 7-0 loss to Rensselaer last night, but Burns is still happy to have the tough competition.
“Our penalty kill was better tonight, but the goals we gave up weren’t because our guys weren’t competing hard,” said Burns.
Clarke made 18 saves for QU, while DiSalvo finished with 22 for Acadia.