Balanced attack propels Quinnipiac over Harvard


Quinnipiac upped its unbeaten streak to 14 with a 6-2 win Saturday against Harvard.

Six different players scored for the Bobcats (16-3-2, 10-0-0 ECAC) while Eric Hartzell made 21 saves for his 16th win of the season.

“We are a really good hockey team,” Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said. “Maybe some people are waking up to it, but I think we’ve had a pretty good hockey team for a long time. Have we been this good? No, not at the national level.”

The Bobcats took an early 1-0 lead just 1:51 into the first period on a rocket from Bryce Van Brabant. Van Brabant stepped over the blue line on the near side and quickly blasted a shot that got stuck in the netting behind Harvard’s Raphael Girard.

Quinnipiac added to its lead six minutes later. At the end of a Harvard power play, Ben Arnt tipped the puck at his blue line. Arnt raced to the puck in the neutral zone with Travis St. Denis trailing on his right. At the bottom of the left circle, Art fed St. Denis in the slot, where he one timed the shot past Girard.

Harvard answered back with just over five minutes left in the period. Both teams battled for the puck in the far corner until Marshall Everson grabbed the puck and moved it to Luke Greiner in the left circle. Greiner picked his spot and wristed a shot over Hartzell’s right shoulder.

Just 2:15 into the second period, Petr Placek tripped up Hartzell behind the net. With the man advantage, Loren Barron wristed a shot from the left point that Girard tipped away. Matthew Peca collected the rebound from one knee and then lifted his shot just inside the cross bar.

Right after Quinnipiac’s tally, Harvard scored again on a shot from the slot, but the goal was disallowed after Alex Fallstrom was whistled for interference. What could have been a 3-2 game quickly turned into a 4-1 Quinnipiac lead just two minutes later when Peca flipped the puck to Connor Jones on the goal line. Jones wristed a pass through the crease to a wide-open Barron on the far side, who one-timed the shot from below the left circle for the three-goal lead.

“We had a similar play before that, and [assistant coach Reid Cashman] had a discussion with me and told me to get a little closer to the net,” Barron said. “Connor made a great pass backdoor, and thanks to Cashman’s advice I was able to put it in.”

The Bobcats added another with 11:17 left in the second period. Off the faceoff, Cory Hibbeler won the draw and ripped a shot from his knees past Girard. After the fifth goal, Crimson coach Ted Donato pulled Girard for Peter Traber.

Harvard added one late in the second period on a Fallstrom tip. With Mike Dalhuisen and Zach Tolkinen in the box, the Crimson pulled Traber for a three-man advantage. With just 4.1 seconds left in the second period, Danny Biega lasered a shot from the point that Fallstrom tipped past Hartzell to cut Quinnipiac’s lead to 5-2.

“We were just trying to get back into the game,” Donato said. “We put ourselves behind and we gave up a couple that we’d like to get back. We wanted to keep fighting, and we felt like we could get back with some more offensive chances.”

Mike Dalhuisen tapped in one more from the right point with six seconds left in the third period to finish off Quinnipiac’s scoring.

The Bobcats have not lost since Nov. 6, when they lost to American International, a loss that captain Zack Currie is using as an important lesson.

“We are not good enough to just show up,” Currie said. “We have to come prepared for every game and bring everything we have. We have a great hockey team with a lot of skill and a lot of heart, but if you don’t show up anyone can beat you.”