LOWELL, Mass. — In front of 4,676 at the Tsongas Center, Quinnipiac upended Massachusetts-Lowell by a 3-1 tally and with the victory, the Bobcats improve to an overall record of 2-1-0.
The defeat lands the River Hawks at a 1-2-0 record in the early campaign.
Neither club has participated in any conference action so far.
“I thought it was a great road win,” said Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold. “But there’s still a plethora of things we need to correct.”
Both teams skated through a scoreless first period that saw most of the action taking place in the form of scrappy scrums in the neutral zone and little real pressure in either of the defensive zones. While it was a generally even stanza, Quinnipiac held the firm 11-4 lead in shots on goal.
However, it was not until the second frame when the Bobcats were able to break the stalemate on a power-play goal from Jordan Samuels-Thomas.
After some good movement on the man-advantage, Dan Federico sent the puck down to Peter Quenneville in the right circle. Quenneville then sent a perfect pass across the ice Samuels-Thomas, who fired a hard one-timer that beat Lowell goaltender Connor Hellebuyck glove side.
“We had a lot of quick puck movement,” said Samuels-Thomas. “The d-man moved it down to Peter Quenneville and he slid across the box. I had to one-time it. It was a perfect pass.”
The goal was Samuels-Thomas’ first of the season.
Midway through the stanza, the Bobcats doubled their lead on a deflection tally by Connor Jones.
After some sustained pressure in the Mass.-Lowell end, Connor Clifton corralled the puck at the point and wristed a shot toward the net. The shot was tipped in the slot by Jones past Hellebuyck for the senior’s second goal of the year.
Quinnipiac began to put the game out of reach when a hard slap shot from Derek Smith from the high slot beat Hellebuyck for the 3-0 lead.
The River Hawks were able to slice into the deficit early in the third period when a deflection from Adam Chapie trickled past Quinnipiac goaltender Michael Garteig and into the net.
Working the puck around in the Bobcat zone, Joe Gambardella sent the puck to Jake Suter at the point. Suter then rifled a slap shot that was tipped by Chapie, hit Garteig and rolled into the cage.
“We seemed to come alive in the last period with a lot more jam and a lot more spunk,” said UML coach Norm Bazin. “We’ll have to play that way for three periods if we expect an opportunity to win.”
The lone third-period tally was as close as Mass.-Lowell would come as the 3-1 final held up when the final horn sounded.
Both goaltenders were solid in net for their respective teams.
Garteig stopped all but one of the 22 shots sent his way, while Hellebuyck made 22 saves on 25 Bobcat attempts.
Both clubs will head down to Connecticut tomorrow night for a rematch at Quinnipiac’s home opener.
“The details are what we have to concentrate on,” said Bazin. “You’ve heard this two weeks in a row now, but thank God there’s a game tomorrow.”