HAMDEN, Conn. — Three Quinnipiac players scored their first collegiate goals, and Dan Clarke made 17 saves as the Bobcats extended their winning streak to five games with a 6-1 victory over Bentley on Tuesday.
“We’re on a roll right now,” Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said. “It was a great 60 minutes. We were focused in the first, had a great second period, and it got a little sloppy in the second with all the penalties, but I thought we stayed focused, played hard and played our game.”
The teams combined for 95 penalty minutes, 50 of them after a third-period altercation.
Bryce Van Brabant, Matthew Peca and Zach Tolkinen scored their first collegiate goals for the Bobcats (5-1).
Despite giving up six goals, Branden Komm made 45 saves for Bentley, which fell to 0-4 and is still trying to find its game.
“If you take a sample of tonight’s game I think we have to do everything under the game of hockey better,” Falcons coach Ryan Soderquist said.
Van Brabant got the Bobcats off to a 1-0 lead six minutes into the contest. Spencer Heichman started the play when he began the cycle with Yuri Bouharevich. Bouharevich centered the puck from behind the net in front for Van Brabant, who took the pass and stuffed it by Komm’s pads.
Bentley struck back six minutes later to tie the score when a streaking Brett Gensler found space on the left wing. Alex Grieve fed Gensler on the far side of the neutral zone and as Gensler gained the left circle he sent a wrist shot on goal. The puck made its way under the right arm of Clarke and trickled over the goal line.
Quinnipiac regained the lead with 2:13 left in the first period on a power-play goal from Peca. After the in-zone face off, the Bobcats never allowed the Falcons to clear the puck. The extended cycle was capped on a hard angled one-timer from Peca. A give and go between Peca at the right circle and Zach Davies at the point allowed Peca to rip a shot over the left shoulder of Komm for the 2-1 lead.
“I had a good chance on the power play,” Peca said. “When I got the puck I had a lot of time so I just tried to pick my spot.”
Just 36 seconds into the middle period the Bobcats made it 3-1 on a setup between the Jones brothers. Connor gained the line and fed Kellen on the right wing. Kellen held the puck and drifted toward the goal. He then rang the puck off the left post and into the back of the net.
With five minutes gone in period Bentley had its chance to cut into Quinnipiac’s lead following a giveaway by Clarke. The goaltender tried to clear the puck out of the zone along the far boards, but instead put the puck onto the tape of Gensler. When Gensler saw that Clarke was out of the net he rushed a shot from the far half boards that went just wide of the net.
Komm kept the score 3-1 on what probably was the best save of his young season. Kellen Jones sent a pass from the left of Komm through the slot to a waiting Goodman on the opposite side. Komm dived across the crease and stuck out his glove to make the save on Goodman’s one-time shot attempt.
With 10 minutes left in the second, Quinnipiac made it 4-1 on another power-play goal, this one by Tolkinen. After a number of missed opportunities in front of the net, Scott Zurevinski was able to get the puck to the point. Tolkinen ripped the puck off the cross bar and in.
Physical play throughout the second period boiled over in the final seconds when Bentley’s Mike Switzer leveled Van Brabant in open ice. The officials deemed that the hit was too high and gave Switzer a five-minute major penalty and a game misconduct.
Three minutes into the third period Quinnipiac made it 5-1 on a stellar move from Jeremy Langlois. Tolkinen fed Langlois through the neutral zone, where he had one man to beat. He moved around the defender and broke free on the right side of the slot. Langlois went top shelf past the glove attempt by Komm.
The rough play came to a boil in the third period following a number of open-ice hits from the Bobcats. After the whistle was blown, Bobcats defenseman Mike Dalhuisen took a hit from Bentley’s Trent Bonnett. Dalhuisen then took a number of swings at Bonnett in front of the Bentley bench. The rest of the players on the ice joined the altercation and, after all was said and done, the officials doled out 50 minutes worth of misconducts and penalties.
“It’s important in situations like that to come together as a team,” Zurevinski said. “You pick each other back up and you watch out for each other.”
Cory Hibbeler added one more for Quinnipiac in the third period.