Key play: Boston College frustration penalty leads to Quinnipiac winning goal

Quinnipiac’s Travis St. Denis and Landon Smith celebrate Smith’s power-play goal against Boston College (photo: Melissa Wade).

TAMPA, Fla. — It was just a shove, a little push, a play born of frustration.

To the left of the Boston College net and away from the play, Quinnipiac junior forward Tommy Schutt shoved BC junior defenseman Ian McCoshen and McCoshen shoved back.

The retaliation resulted in a cross-checking penalty that led to Quinnipiac’s game-winning goal.

“That goal was huge,” said Bobcats coach Rand Pecknold.

Trailing 2-0 at the start of the second, Boston College drew to within one goal when Alex Tuch scored 23 seconds into the period. Exactly four minutes later, however, McCoshen was called for cross-checking, and nine seconds after that, Quinnipiac sophomore forward Landon Smith scored his seventh power-play goal of the season to give the Bobcats a 3-1 lead. The goal held up to be the winner in the 3-2 game, and it came from BC’s first penalty of the game.

“We had a nice faceoff and the puck went down to Tim Clifton,” said Smith, “and he made a nice play to the net. The puck kind of went over [BC goalie Thatcher] Demko, and I was behind him and I took a couple of swipes at it and it went in.”

Quinnipiac’s power play is the fourth-best in the nation, owing in large part to players like Smith, whose efforts aren’t always fully reflected on the stats sheet, according to Pecknold.

“Landon’s had a great year,” said Pecknold. “Landon’s points are probably lower than what he does for us. He scores a lot of goals for us where he’s the net-front screen and doesn’t get the goal but gets the assist, but in my mind he’s the guy who scored the goals. He does a lot for us.”

And the kind of goal that Smith scored was exactly what the Bobcats thought they’d need to beat Boston College.

“Our power play will definitely be cute at times and make some ugly little plays and at other times, we’re just like, let’s just get it to the net,” said Pecknold.

“That’s something I thought we had to do with Demko tonight. He’s such an elite goaltender, one of the best in the country. We just had to keep putting pucks on net and find ways to score rebound goals, and that was an ugly, greasy goal at the net front, and that’s how you win hockey games.”