Saturday, December 10, 2016

Quinnipiac falls to Princeton 5-3 in home and home series opener

No. 7/8 Quinnipiac lost consecutive ECAC games for the first time since February of 2014 as they fell 5-3 on Friday night to Princeton at Hobey Baker Rink. The Bobcats battled back from three separate one goal deficits but could not rally for a fourth time. Once again the Bobcats out shot their opponent and came away without the victory. Its the third game in the last four that has happened for Quinnipiac who fall to 10-6-2 (6-3-1 ECAC). The Bobcats surprise lack of effort allowed Princeton to win for the fourth time in five games and move to 4-7-1 (2-6-1 ECAC). The loss also was damaging for Quinnipiac in the pairwise rankings as they fell to 17th.

Landon Smith (photo by Kim Klement/USA Today)
Princeton opened the scoring 5:03 into the first period on a Ryan Kuffner goal off a rebound. The Bobcats evened the score a little more than three minutes later when Kevin Duane scored on the power with assists from Kevin McKernan and Landon Smith. Quinnipiac out shot Princeton 13-10 in the opening frame. 

The Tigers retook the lead a little more than five minutes into the second period on a power play goal from Jackson Cressey. Almost four minutes later Landon Smith scored on a two on one chance from a Kevin McKernan pass to even the score at two apiece. Late in the second, the Tigers took the lead again on a goal from Alex Riche. Quinnipiac out shot the Tigers in the period 8-7. 

Kevin McKernan (photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Exactly two minutes into the third period Thomas Aldworth scored his first goal in almost two months when his shot deflected in off a Princeton defender. Kārlis Čukste and Tommy Schutt assisted on Aldworth's goal. Princeton would take the lead in the later stages of the game when Matt Nelson scored an unassisted goal at the 15:55 mark of third. Quinnipiac got a late power play opportunity and pulled the goaltender for a six on four chance but could not cash in. The Tigers Eric Robinson added an empty net goal to seal the win for Princeton. The Bobcats out shot the Tigers 15-12 in the third period and 36-29 for the game. 

It was Princeton's first win against Quinnipiac since November 23, 2013 when they won 4-3 in Hamden. The Tigers played with more effort tonight than Quinnipiac and earned the win. The Princeton defense blocked 19 shots compared to only 9 for Quinnipiac. Senior goaltender Colton Phinney was strong for the Tigers with 33 saves on the night. Chris Truel had 24 saves in the loss and now has back to back games where he has given up four goals in a game. With the quick turnaround for Saturday's game in the afternoon its very possible Rand Pecknold turns to Andrew Shortridge to see if the Bobcats can get a better performance in goal than they got the past two games as they can ill afford to be swept this season by Princeton.

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

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