Quinnipiac rebounds, Saints sweep, Yale and Union reeling

Two games don’t make a season, but this past weekend certainly helped get Quinnipiac put an early season slump behind them.

The Bobcats (5-2-1) beat Colgate and Cornell, extending their winning streak to four games.

More importantly, Quinnipiac’s defense and goalie Michael Garteig didn’t allow a single goal  either night after giving up at least three goals in all but one its games entering the weekend.

“That’s the best team defense we’ve played in the two years I’ve played,” Garteig said following Saturday’s win. “Guys were doing the right things, the little things to bail me out if I was to let up a rebound. That’s not just our defense, but it was our forwards too.”

With players like Matthew Peca, Sam Anas, and talented freshman Landon Smith, the Bobcats should not only score, but possess the puck for much of the game, which has been their trademark the last several seasons. If the defense can build off this weekend, Quinnipiac should continue to put their sluggish start behind them.

Tim Clifton scored with less than two minutes left to give the Bobcats a 1-0 win Saturday in a game that was marred by Peca getting a five-minute major and game misconduct for hitting the Big Red’s Cole Bardreau from behind. Those emotions spilled over into the post-game handshake, where Cornell’s Joel Lowry and QU’s Dan Federico each got a ten-minute misconduct, and into the post-game press conference, where Big Red head coach Mike Schafer ripped Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold.  Check out the audio here. 

Schafer seemed to be upset that Pecknold was calling for embellishment after Bardreau took the hit. Bardreau suffered a serious season-ending injury after getting hit from behind in 2013.  His post-game interview includes some pointed comments towards Pecknold and some profanity that should likely earn a fine from the league.

Hayton making an impact  

It’s barely a month into the season, but here’s some perspective. St. Lawrence freshman Kyle Hayton posted his third shutout of the season in a 4-0 win at Yale Saturday.

Last year’s starter, Matt Weninger, never had more than two shutouts in any of his four seasons. In fact, the Saints haven’t had three shutouts as a team since the 2005-06 season. The three shutouts are a team rookie record and are the most by any Saints goalie since current pro Mike McKenna had three in 2004-05.

Saints coach Greg Carvel called Saturday’s shutout a team effort, but that doesn’t detract from the job Hayton has done through the first ten games. He has a 1.97 goals-against-average and a .943 save percentage, and Carvel raved about his makeup earlier in the season.

 Bulldogs, Dutchmen scuffling

Yale and Union have won the last two national championships. But neither team has gotten off to a particularly strong start in conference play, going a combined 0-4-2 thus far.

The Bulldogs tied Clarkson Friday and then were blanked 4-0 by St. Lawrence, a game where goalie Alex  Lyon was pulled after one period. Union saw a 3-0 lead turn into a 4-3 overtime loss to Dartmouth Friday and then rallied to tie Harvard 2-2.

Union’s four straight losses prior to Saturday’s tie were the most in a row for the Dutchmen since the 2006-07 season. Their current five-game winless streak comes on the heels of a 22-game unbeaten streak and 15-game home winning streak, both which dated to last year.

But it’s still early. Like the rest of the Ivy teams, Yale has the disadvantage of a late start, while Union has overcome stretches of rough play before. Don’t count either one out  just yet.