For the fifth straight game, the Quinnipiac Bobcats men's ice hockey team got off to an early lead. Junior forward Andrew Taverner scored his team leading 3rd goal of the season (tied with Tim Clifton for goals) 7:54 into the 1st period on assists by Brogan Rafferty and Connor Clifton. Less than 30 seconds later, the Bobcats Chase Priskie was boarded head first by the Huskies Maxim Letunov. Priskie would not return to the game as he left bleeding. It's likely he had to receive stitches and was evaluated for a possible concussion. Letunov was given a 5 minute major for boarding and was tossed from the game. The Bobcats could not capitalize on the major penalty. Craig Martin capped the scoring in the 1st with 25 seconds left giving the Bobcats a 2-0 lead heading into intermission.
The Huskies cut the lead to just a goal just 1:44 into the 2nd period on a power play goal from Spencer Naas. This is the fifth straight game that the Bobcats have allowed a power play. Quinnipiac's penalty kill has not been a strength so far in the young season as they are middle of the pack in the country at 82.4% unlike when they finished 3rd in the country a year ago at 89.1%. Two minutes after the Haas goal, the Bobcats answered when Thomas Aldworth scored on a wrap around goal beating the Huskies freshman goaltender Adam Huska.
Connecticut once again cut the lead to just a goal as Karl El-Mir scored at 9:17 into the 2nd period. Less than 2 minutes later Quinnipiac extended its lead again when freshman defenseman Brogan Rafferty dazzled a five-hole goal through Huska. A little more than a minute later, Connor Clifton capped the scoring as he roofed a shot past Huska.
The Bobcats clamped down on defense in the 3rd period and goaltender Chris Truehl made 13 saves in the period. Stars of this game include Rafferty (1 goal, 1 assist), Andrew Taverner (1 goal 1 assist), Connor Clifton (1 goal, 1 assist) and Chris Truehl whose play should not be over looked. He made some dazzling saves to keep the Bobcats lead in tact. Truehl finished the night with 29 saves.
Rand Pecknold was forced to adjust early in this game with Priskie not returning. Current forward and former defenseman, Luke Shiplo moved back to his natural position and played a solid game on the blue line. Freshman Alex Whelan saw his first game action of the season and had to be used on multiple lines with Shiplo moving back to defense. Whelan impressed with his ability to create scoring opportunities as he finished with 3 shots on the night. He is someone who deserves some more ice time with his play last night. Twelve different Bobcat players scored a point last night and that is the type of way they will need to win games when they gave contributions from many players. Quinnipiac played with a very aggressive fore check and that is always a huge key when the Bobcats are winning.
Quinnipiac returns to action on Saturday night when they travel to Boston, MA to face off against 8th ranked Boston University at Agganis Arena. Game time is 7:00 pm.
Jonathan Singer is a 2004 Quinnipiac alum. You can follow him on Twitter @jonathan_singer.
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