Quinnipiac won its first conference game in over a month in dramatic fashion Saturday night as Yuri Bouharevich scored with 2.4 seconds left on the clock to give the Bobcats a 3-2 win over Rensselaer.
Bouharevich breathed a sign of relief after the game.
“That was long overdue to say the least,” Bouharevich said with a big smile. “I knew there was little time left and (Ben) Arnt made a nice chip. He stretched the D, which gave me a wide-open shot. I knew there wasn’t much time left so I just teed it up and went top shelf.”
Zach Tolkinen tipped the puck in the neutral zone to Arnt with less than ten seconds left in regulation. Arnt gained the line where he drew a pair of RPI defenders to the point. Bouharevich skated in on the left wing by himself. Arnt tipped the pass to Bouharevich, who roofed a laser on the left side for the winning goal.
“It’s a great example of playing out every shift,” said RPI head coach Seth Appert. “We talk about it all the time, all the time … not going mentally dead during shifts for five, seven seconds. I thought that last play was an example of that. Some guys might have been anticipating the horn to blow.”
Quinnipiac took the 1-0 lead at the 13:01 marker of the first period on Matthew Peca’s fourth goal of the season. After a shot was blocked in the slot, the puck jumped to the blue line where Danny Federico ripped a shot on net. Federico’s shot bounced off the stick of Scott Zurevinski to Peca at the right circle. Peca settled the rebound and put the puck past RPI’s Scott Diebold.
RPI tied the score four minutes later on a flawless deflection shot from the point. Nick Bailen took the feed at the point from Brock Higgs. Jacob Laliberte deflected Bailen’s shot as the puck moved through the slot beating Quinnipiac goalie Eric Hartzell on his glove side.
Jeremy Langlois had a pair of chances in the final quarter of the second period to put the Bobcats ahead, but it was Diebold that kept the score even.
First, with just over five minutes to play in the second period, Langlois took control of the puck at center ice. He gained the line on the left wing and made a pair of drag and jump moves to move around two RPI defenders. Langlois’s wrister couldn’t find its way under Diebold’s left arm as the Engineers’ goaltender covered the puck.
With 1:30 left in the period, a shot deflected behind the RPI net and into the slot. Diebold moved to his right to play the puck, but had to jump back in his crease as Langlois streaked into the open slot. Langlois tried to lift the puck, but Diebold lifted his glove to make the stop.
Diebold stopped 35 shots in all on the night and was one of the main reasons the game was so close.
“Diebold was outstanding for us,” said Appert. “I thought the goaltenders on both end were great. But at the end of the day we made too many puck mistakes.”
RPI took the 2-1 lead 4:06 into the third period on a rebound goal from Zach Schroeder. Higgs brought the puck into the offensive end on the left wing. The play looked to be over when Tolkinen laid out to stop Briggs’ shot. The puck came free on Hartzell’s left where Mark McGowan tried a backhander that was stopped by Hartzell. The rebound came loose in the slot where Schroeder calmly put it into the open net.
Quinnipiac struck back about two minutes later to tie the score on a Zurevinski deflection. Langlois started the play when Diebold denied him on a fast break opportunity. The puck trickled to Diebold’s left where he tried to cover the puck with the rest of his defense. The puck came free where Zach Davies fed Tolkinen at the blue line. Zurevinski tipped his drive through Diebold’s five hole.
“It was a funny game,” said Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold. “I guess the thing we did best was falling down 2-1 at home and battling back to tie it on a nice goal. I thought we really battled hard on that play.”