HAMDEN, Conn. — Quinnipiac held a 3-0 lead entering the third period Sunday against Princeton and had to hold off a late comeback to top the Tigers, 3-2, for its third straight win.
Princeton scored two goals in the final 4:41.
Quinnipiac’s Zach Currie led the way with two goals, while Eric Hartzell stopped 36 shots in goal.
Princeton’s Mike Condon made 35 saves in the loss.
“Again, we dug ourselves too deep of a hole early in the game,” Princeton head coach Bob Prier said.
Quinnipiac was once again without Connor Jones and Kellen Jones, who are still nursing injuries. To make matters worse for the Bobcats, they were also without their top goal-scorer, Jeremy Langlois.
Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold talked about the key to still being successful without three of the team’s top scorers.
“You go into the game and Connor is out, Kellen is out, and Langer is out, but we told the guys before the game that we can’t feel sorry for ourselves,” said Pecknold. “We wanted to really focus on coming out hard in the first period, and I thought we did that.”
The Bobcats found the back of the net first, 10:17 into the opening period. Yuri Bouharevich started the play when he fed Currie at the right point. Currie rifled a slap shot that tipped off a Princeton stick near the right circle. The shot deflected past Condon’s pads and into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead.
Princeton’s best try of the period came with just over two minutes left in the frame after Quinnipiac’s Zach Tolkinen went to the box for tripping. On the advantage, Hartzell made the initial stop on a blast from the left point off the stick of Michael Sdao. The rebound came loose in the slot where Jack Berger ripped a shot on net. Hartzell, already in the butterfly, poked out his left leg pad to make the save before his defense cleared the puck away.
The Bobcats extended their lead to 2-0 4:45 into the second period on junior forward Kevin Bui’s first career goal. A turnover in the neutral zone set up a two-on-one with Reese Rolheiser and Bui, who gained the line on the right wing and centered the puck for Rolheiser. His shot bounced off Condon’s pads and into the slot. Chaos ensued as Condon tried to cover the puck on the left side as a Princeton defender fell in front of the net. The puck found its way to Bui where he wristed it from just inside the right circle into the open net.
“It was at the end of a long shift and I was going to go for a change, actually,” Bui said. “We caught them on a two-on-one and I was just trying to get it to the net, but the puck was bouncing around. I turned around and [the puck] was just sitting there and I just tried to fire it on net.”
Quinnipiac would make it 3-0 just 74 seconds later on another Currie blast from the blue line. Russell Goodman cycled the puck behind the Princeton net and emerged on the right side. Instead of looking for a shot, he found Currie at the right point. Currie ripped a shot that beat Condon just inside the right post.
“Truthfully, the d-men are just trying to get more shots on net and that’s been one of our keys,” Currie said. “I just got a couple through and got lucky, I guess.”
With less than 30 seconds to go in the period, Hartzell made one his best stops on the afternoon.
Princeton’s Andrew Ammon entered the offensive zone on the left wing. He cut to the net and moved the puck from his backhand to his forehand and tried to beat Hartzell on the far post. Hartzell moved left to right and stuck out his left pad again and denied Ammon on the doorstep.
Princeton finally got on the board with 4:41 left in regulation on a seeing-eye shot from the left point. Kevin Ross connected with Aaron Kesselman who found Sdao at the left point. Sdao’s screened laser beat Hartzell just inside the right post.
With three minutes remaining in regulation, Prier opted to pull Condon for the extra attacker.
Two minutes later, the Tigers would inch even closer with the help of an extra attacker. Marc Hagel’s shot from the left circle never made it through the traffic, but the puck deflected off a body and to the right circle. Andrew Calof picked up the loose puck and wristed it past the sprawling glove attempt from Hartzell.
While the goals did come too little, too late, Prier was pleased to see how they were scored.
“I thought the couple of goals we did score were pretty hard-working goals and poised goals,” said Prier.
Princeton and Quinnipiac are both now idle until December 30-31.