HAMDEN, Conn. — Quinnipiac extended its unbeaten streak to nine games, defeating Princeton, 3-1, on Friday night. Once again, the defense led the way for the Bobcats after giving up just 11 shots. Russell Goodman proved to be the hero with his fourth game-winning goal of the season. The soft-spoken forward already has two more goals this season than he did all last year.
“We are just working a lot harder and a lot smarter,” Goodman said. “We are not digging ourselves any holes by taking stupid penalties. We are just playing simple.”
Goodman sparked the unbeaten streak after scoring in overtime against Colgate on Nov. 9. The win came just days after losing to American International at home.
“I don’t think that was our wake-up call,” Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said, referencing the AIC loss. “I think what was more important was that we dominate Colgate and outshot them 37-10 and we went to overtime. We had to win that hockey game. We deserved to win it. We deserved to win it and [Russell] Goodman scored in overtime.”
Tonight, the Bobcats got on the board just 5:34 into the first period on a Princeton turnover in its own end. Rob Kleebaum coughed up the puck in the near corner to Jeremy Langlois, who skated untouched to the front of the net and beat Princeton’s Mike Condon for the 1-0 lead.
“They kind of just gave it to me and it hopped on my stick,” Langlois said. “I had a mini-breakaway, so I just slipped it far side.”
Goodman added the game-winner late in the opening frame. Langlois took the initial shot from the right circle, which was blocked away. Harvey picked up the rebound and took a shot that deflected back to Goodman at the top of the slot, and he calmly wristed the puck through traffic and past Condon for the 2-0 lead.
“We just had some costly turnovers,” Princeton coach Bob Prier said. “We brought it to our backhand all night, and they certainly out played us.”
The Tigers added a goal in the second period on a seeing-eye shot from the right point. With 4:31 left in the second, Tom Kroshus fed Eric Carlson at the right point. Carlson quickly wristed the puck on net and slipped it past Hartzell, who barely reacted.
The momentum continued for Princeton in the third after the Tigers killed off a five-minute penalty to James Kerr. Just after killing the extended penalty, Quinnipiac’s Jordan Samuels-Thomas went to the box for interference.
“I think it was a huge momentum boost for us,” Prier said. “We got a power play shortly after and it could have been a big momentum swing in the game. We just didn’t capitalize on it, and they got the momentum back after killing off our power play.”
Condon kept the game close in the final minutes of the third with a pair of stellar saves to keep Princeton within one. Mike Dalhuisen faked a shot from the point and slipped a pass to Matthew Peca at the goal line. Peca fed Kellen Jones on the far side, where Jones one-timed a shot on net. Condon moved swiftly from right to left to stone Jones on the doorstep and keep the game at 2-1.
Langlois eventually added an empty-netter with 39 seconds left in regulation to seal the win.
“We are doing the little things,” Langlois said. “We have four lines that can roll the whole way with a solid defense core. Hartzell is playing really well, and I’d say he is the number one reason we are doing so well.”
Quinnipiac captain Zack Currie echoed Langlois’ defensive praise.
“We’re not blowing teams out, but we are comfortable with the close games this year. We’d obviously like to score when we get the chance, but every bit of success starts with our defense.”
The teams will finish the weekend home-and-home at Princeton tomorrow at 4 p.m.