Sunday, December 4, 2016

Quinnipiac falls 5-2 to Union despite 54 shots on goal

The No. 5/7 Quinnipiac Bobcats put up 54 shots on Union, yet still came away empty handed without two ECAC points in a 5-2 loss on Saturday night at High Point Solutions Arena. It was a frustrating night who struggled to find the back of the net as they out shot their opponent for the fifth straight game. During that span of five games, the Bobcats are only 2-2-1 despite massive shot differentials in four of those five contests.

Alex Sakellaropoulous (photo by Peter K. Barber/Daily Gazette)
The Bobcats in the last four games have 183 shots on goal yet only seven goals to show for that shot total. The lack of a high end finisher is likely to hurt this team this season. In the past the team has had the likes of Sam Anas, Travis St. Denis, Matthew Peca, Connor and Kellen and Brandon Wong to as guys that could put the puck in the net when the team really needed a goal.

The Dutchmen came into the game 9-3-2 but had yet to beat anyone of consequence outside of an opening win on the road at Michigan. They turned some heads last night in the ECAC with their win over the Bobcats where they now are a serious challenge to Quinnipiac, Saint Lawrence, Harvard and Clarkson as a team that can definitely win this conference.

Quinnipiac got on the board first on the power play when Kevin Duane redirected a Connor Clifton shot past Union goaltender Alex Sakellaropoulos at the 16:44 of the period. Derek Smith also got an assist on the goal. The Bobcats out shot Union 19 to 4 in that opening period.

Union tied the score 4:25 into the second period on a power play goal by Nick DeSimone on assists from Ryan Walker and Ryan Scarfo. A little under eight minutes later Union found the back of the net yet again on the power play when Jeff Taylor made it 2-1 on his goal from Spencer Foo and Mike Vecchione. Almost five minutes later it was Nick DeSimone again with the goal from Spencer Foo and Matt Krug to give the Dutchmen a 3-1 lead heading into the third period. Union scored three goals on that period on five shots while the Bobcats had another 14 shots on goal that period.

Mike Vecchione (photo by Peter K. Barber/Daily Gazette)
Union once again got on the scoreboard at the 6:15 mark of the third period with a Cole Maier goal from Ryan Walker. Rand Pecknold pulled Chris Truehl (8 saves) in favor of Andrew Shortridge after the fourth goal from Union. Quinnipiac got on the board once more when freshman Karlis Cukste's one timer off a pass from Andrew Taverner found the back of the net. Alex Whelan also got an assist on Cukste's goal. Union captain Mike Vecchione sealed the win with an empty net goal. Alex Sakellaropoulos finished the night with 52 saves and was clearly the star on the ice for the Dutchmen.

This is Quinnipiac's first home ECAC loss since December of 2014 when they lost to Harvard. You have to give Union a lot of credit for finishing the limited opportunities they had and for Sakellaropoulos coming up big for the Dutchmen all night. With the loss the Bobcats fall back into a second place tie with Union only one point behind Saint Lawrence for the ECAC lead. The loss also dropped Quinnipiac from 9th to 15th in the pairwise rankings.

Jonathan Singer is a 2004 Quinnipiac alum. You can follow him on Twitter @jonathan_singer.

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