HAMDEN, Conn. — In the lone NCAA hockey matchup of the evening, Quinnipiac defeated Holy Cross 5-3 in the Bobcats’ regular season home opener Wednesday night.
QU took a 2-0 lead early in the second period only to allow Holy Cross to score three unanswered goals to take the lead. Quinnipiac would tie the score with just over a minute to play in the second and scored two more in the third for the win.
Freshman Matt Ginn made his first collegiate appearance in net for the Crusaders making 39 saves, while Dan Clarke made his first start of the season for Quinnipiac, stopping 21 shots in the win.
Quinnipiac took the 1-0 lead at the 7:35 marker of the first period on a power-power blast from Zack Currie. Jeremy Langlois fed the puck to Connor Jones, who sent it to Currie at the right point. Currie rang the puck off the top right corner of the iron and into the back of the net.
The Crusaders made it out of the first period down 1-0 thanks to some great stops from Ginn. QU’s Scott Zurevinski took the puck in the high slot and faked a shot. After the traffic cleared, he ripped a shot wide of the net. The puck bounced off the end boards and onto the stick of Matthew Peca at the near post. Peca tried to one-time it, but Ginn made an acrobatic stop when he stuck his right leg out to deny the Bobcat freshman on the doorstep.
“Matt (Ginn) is good (and) he does two things,” Holy Cross head coach Paul Pearl said. “One, he stops pucks and two, he can get out and play the puck a little bit, which helps us on our penalty kill. He’s a pretty mobile kid that moves around well.”
“We didn’t have a great first period,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “We were a little flat, but give credit to Holy Cross. They kind of jumped us a little bit before we got our legs going.”
Quinnipiac took the two-goal lead 4:33 into the middle period on Cory Hibbeler’s second career goal. The Bobcats won the faceoff and wristed a shot from the outside where Ginn made the initial stop. Hibbeler was right there to tap the rebound past Ginn.
Just 30 seconds later, Holy Cross cut the Bobcat lead in half on Matthew Davis’ first career goal. Davis took control of the puck at the right circle hash marks. The entire Quinnipiac defense dropped back in the slot and left Davis open. Davis settled the puck and went top shelf glove side on Clarke.
The Crusaders tied the score at the 10:08 marker of the second. A rebound deflected off the stick of Clarke and into the left corner where Adam Schmidt centered to the slot. His pass connected with Shayne Stockton, who one-timed the puck into the gaping net.
HC took the lead on their third goal of the period, a power-play goal from Kyle Fletcher. The Crusaders went on the advantage after Clarke was penalized for interference with 2:48 left in the period. Just 13 seconds into the power play, Fletcher took a rebound that was loose in the crease and wristed it home. Clarke thought he made the stop, but the official saw the puck loose behind him and rightfully waited to blow the whistle.
“We just kept playing,” Pearl said. “We tried to keep an even keel on the bench. It was a really big for Davis to get that goal to make it 2-1 and that stemmed any kind of negative that was coming onto the bench.”
Quinnipiac knotted the score just 89 seconds later on another blast from the point, this time from Loren Barron. Taking a feed at the right point, Barron wound up a rocket that went top shelf on the left side.
“I think last year our guys would have panicked a little more,” Pecknold said. “But we stayed calm on the bench and did a better job working to get back into the game.”
The Bobcats retook the lead 8:02 into the third period on a strange goal from Ben Arnt.
Arnt broke through on the left side and made a cut to the net. He was well defended, which forced him to take a soft backhander. The rebound popped off of Ginn’s stick and into the air. As Arnt skated passed the net, it deflected off his stick and over the shoulder of Ginn.
“It was just a lucky play,” Arnt said. “I was just trying to get a rebound and hope something good would come out of it. I was just fortunate enough for it to bounce off my stick.”
Jones padded QU’s lead with 1:03 to go after a sloppy Crusader line change. The line changed allowed Jones to break in all alone as he wristed the puck five-hole for the 5-3 advantage.