HAMDEN, Conn. — Acadia’s Michael Ward scored two goals as the Axemen shut out Quinnipiac 2-0 on Sunday.
Both teams entered the afternoon’s exhibition with heavy legs from long road trips. Acadia’s road trip started last Wednesday, while the Bobcats traveled seven hours overnight from Orono, Maine.
Quinnipiac did not arrive back on campus until 5 a.m. Sunday, but despite the long bus ride, senior captain Zach Currie refused to use it as an excuse.
“It was absolutely unacceptable,” Currie said. “As far as this morning goes, most of the guys were tight, but we’re not 40 years old. We should be able to deal with that. It’s one bus trip and we should have been able to come back from whatever we were feeling this morning.”
Acadia was in a more jovial mood in its locker room.
“That’s the most complete game we have played all season,” Acadia coach Darren Burns said. “I thought we played desperate and our guys were out there paying the price, which is just so key.”
Evan Mosher finished with 21 saves on the afternoon to get the win in goal.
“When you come down to play these American teams, your goalie has to be your best player,” Burns said. “I’m always impressed by the American college teams [because] they are so hungry in front of the net.”
Quinnipiac started freshman Michael Garteig in net, but elected to switch goaltenders midway through the game to give fellow freshman Jacob Meyers some ice time.
Just 25 seconds after Meyers entered the game, Acadia took the 1-0 lead on a strange goal from Ward.
A scrum behind the net caused the cage to lift on its pegs. The net almost fell over Meyers until he lifted his glove to put it back. Brett Thompson took the puck from behind the net and fed Ward just to the left of the net. As Meyers looked up to fix the net, Ward wristed the shot in the vacant left side of the net.
“It was a funny goal and I thought it was going to get cancelled because the net tipped forward,” Ward said, smiling. “But it was a good battle in the corner and Thompson dished in front of the net and I was there wide open.”
With 33.2 seconds left in the second period, QU’s Mike Dalhuisen received a five-minute major penalty for boarding.
The penalty spilled over to the second period, giving Acadia 4:27 of power-play time to start the period and with 2:44 left on the penalty, Acadia added to its lead. Jonathan Laberge sent a backhand pass from the near corner into the slot. Ward streaked in from the point and tipped the puck five hole for the two-goal lead.
Acadia killed off all seven Quinnipiac power plays, including five over the final two periods.
Quinnipiac sat a few key players after the Saturday night Maine win including, sophomore Matthew Peca, who was a key player on the power play last season.
“Unfortunately today, we came off the big win at Maine and our guys took the game lightly,” said Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold. “I give Acadia a lot of credit. They came in here and wanted to win a hockey game. We just put our skates on and went out there and we struggled for 60 minutes.”
Quinnipiac will get back to the regular season next weekend when it hosts Robert Morris for two games.