HAMDEN, Conn. — After jumping out to a three-goal lead midway through the second period, Quinnipiac survived a Bentley comeback to win the nonconference matchup 4-3 on Tuesday night.
The Falcons (1-4-0, 0-1-0 Atlantic Hockey) scored a goal late in the second period and midway through the third to cut the lead to one, but could not complete the comeback to break even.
“Obviously, you’re proud of your guys not to give up and come back and play that hard in the third,” Bentley coach Ryan Soderquist said. “The disappointing part is to watch how you played in the third and only imagine if you played that way for 60 minutes it would have been a different ballgame.”
Much of the game was controlled by Quinnipiac (4-1-0) as the Bobcats outshot Bentley 50-13, but couldn’t quite distance themselves late in the game.
“We’re happy we got our win, it was a very interesting and unique game,” said Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold. “We dominated the majority of the game, shots were clearly lopsided and it’s a 4-3 hockey game. It’s one of those things that happens once in a while.”
Jordan Samuels-Thomas got the scoring started just 1:34 into the game when he slipped the puck between the blocker and the torso of Bentley goaltender Branden Komm to make it 1-0 Quinnipiac.
Sam Anas then doubled the Bobcats’ lead to 2-0 when he scored his first of two goals on the game on a rebound just outside the crease off of a Matthew Peca shot from inside the right faceoff circle.
Bentley was able to bounce back, getting a goal 13:10 into the first period when an Alex Grieve wrister tipped off the glove of Quinnipiac netminder Michael Garteig and trickled into the net to make it 2-1.
“It was extremely important at that time period,” Soderquist said. “I was hoping right when we got that lucky bounce [that] we were going to build from there, but right after we scored, a minute later, we were back to no energy.”
Penalties became the story of the game in the second period, which led to two Quinnipiac goals that eventually put the game out of reach.
Bentley recorded nine penalties, while Quinnipiac had just three penalties during the game.
“They’re a very skilled team, specifically on the power play, and to come out there and have that many penalties against, you’re not going to have a chance,” Soderquist said.
Anas scored the first power-play goal of the game 4:46 into the second period on a five-on-three situation after tripping penalties from Matt Maher and Jared Rickord. Anas’ shot came from between the bottom of the faceoff circle and the end line and the only chance to score was to roof the shot.
“That five-on-three goal was pretty legit,” said Pecknold. “He turned his body and looks at the net and there’s the goalie, who had dropped early for some reason. That’s a really high-end play at this level or the NHL level.”
Six minutes later, Zach Tolkinen gave Quinnipiac its largest lead of the game when he wristed a shot from the right point for the second Bobcat power-play goal of the game to give them a 4-1 lead.
“Right now, we’ve got two really good [power-play] units and that’s nice to have,” Pecknold said. “When one unit’s out of sync, like I thought the Peca unit was a little bit out of sync tonight. Jordan’s unit was absolutely dominant. They were outstanding and had a lot of great chances.”
The Bobcats could not hold the three-goal lead for long, as the Falcons cut the lead in half 16:26 into the second period when Justin Breton deflected a Charlie Donners from the point to cut it to 4-2.
In the third period, Bentley dominated much of the play and scored its lone power-play goal in the game. Brett Switzer one-timed a pass through the slot from Steve Weinstein to bring Bentley within a goal, but that’s as close as the Falcons could get.
“For whatever reason, we didn’t show up tonight,” Soderquist said. “We played about 11 minutes of hockey in the third period and looked pretty good there. Unfortunately, the game is 60 minutes and not 11.”
Garteig finished with just 10 saves on 13 shots in the win for Quinnipiac, while Komm finished with 46 saves for Bentley.