HAMDEN, Conn. — Matthew Peca’s shorthanded goal early in the third period proved to be the game-winner as Quinnipiac defeated Ohio State 3-1.
Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold was all smiles post-game.
“I thought our team played great tonight,” Pecknold said. “I thought it was just an excellent effort tonight. They were very coachable and they did the little things – we got pucks in, we got pucks out, we worked our forecheck.”
Eric Hartzell stopped 21 shots in the win and so far this season, Hartzell has not given up more than two goals in any game.
For the second straight game, the Bobcats were without Connor Jones and for the second straight game, Peca stepped up in his place.
With 1:49 remaining in the middle frame Quinnipiac’s Zach Tolkinen was called for a five-minute major for elbowing and a game misconduct.
“With the major, not only do you have the five-minute penalty, but you lose that player,” explained Pecknold. “Luckily, we dressed seven defensemen tonight and Alex Barron slipped down and we were able to have six ‘D,’ so we weren’t tired.”
Tolkinen’s penalty spilled over to the third period where the Bobcats took the 2-0 lead.
“It’s nice when a five-minute major gets split like that,” Pecknold said. “It gives the PK a nice break and we killed two minutes and then killed three minutes.”
Just 1:40 into the third, Peca raced for a loose puck in the neutral zone. Peca beat the OSU defender into the offensive zone and then moved the puck to his forehand and lifted it past Ohio State goalie Collin Olson for the shorthanded goal.
“Quinnipiac did a nice job on their kill and we asked our guys to have the mentality of a five-on-five and unfortunately, it didn’t go that way,” Buckeyes’ coach Mark Osiecki said.
Despite his elevated play, Peca still knows his team can do more.
“Obviously, we would have liked to win last night, but we’ll take it” Peca said. “We would have liked to sweep, but we played well and you have to be happy with the weekend.”
The two teams skated to a 1-1 tie Friday night.
While Peca might be hard on himself, Pecknold was quick to give the sophomore plenty of praise.
“It was a great goal and he is a special player,” Pecknold said. “I thought he was just outstanding this weekend. I thought he was the best player on the ice last night and one of the better ones tonight.”
Quinnipiac got on the board first 6:40 into the second period on Jeremy Langlois’ second goal of the season. Clay Harvey dug the puck out of the near-side corner and shuffled it to Langlois at the right circle. Langlois blasted the one-timer past Olson’s blocker for the 1-0 lead.
Ohio State cut QU’s lead 12:56 into the third period on a seeing-eye shot from Sam Jardine, whose wrist shot from the right point found Max McCormick in the slot. Hartzell jumped as the puck ricocheted off of McCormick’s stick and into the back of the net.
Quinnipiac shut down the OSU offense the rest of the way and added an empty-netter with 11.3 left in regulation. Kellen Jones’ center-ice shot went just wide of the net, but Langlois chased down the puck and eventually wristed it in the vacant net.