Sunday, October 22, 2017

Alex Whelan game winner secures weekend sweep over Northeastern

Quinnipiac at Northeastern (Copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)
Just three weeks into the season, Quinnipiac is seeing an improved Alex Whelan even from the end a season ago as someone the Bobcats can rely on when they need a big goal. The sophomore forward netted the game winning goal for the Bobcats in a 3-2 game on Saturday night at Matthews Arena giving #18 Quinnipiac a sweep of the weekend series against #16 Northeastern. "I thought it was a great effort tonight said Quinnipaic head coach Rand Pecknold. I was really happy. Our guys battled and stayed within our structure and made plays, played with confidence and executed".

Whelan scooped up his own rebound and put it past Ruck capping it with a big celebration. "I think someone turned it over in front said Alex Whelan It was a great play by them and it just kind of popped out to me, so with a minute left I was thinking just shoot because good things usually happen when you put pucks on the net". 

A night after playing sloppy for two periods but coming away with a wild 6-4 victory, Quinnipiac was strong throughout this game as they cleaned up the defense with improved gap control, back checking along with overall better puck possession to control the pace of the game. Quinnipiac came out flying to start the game with a lot of energy putting several quality chances on Northeastern goaltender Ryan Ruck (43 saves on the night). The Huskies were better in the second half of the first period especially once they got on the special teams with a 5 on 3 power play which they capitalized on with Dylan Sikura's 6th goal of the season.
Quinnipiac at Northeastern (copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)
Quinnipiac continued its strong play in the second period and was finally rewarded for their effort when Chase Priskie ripped a shot from the low circle past Ruck who wasn't in position to make the save. Two minutes later Dylan Sikura found Grant Jozefek to regain the lead for the Huskies which they would hold as the teams entered the final period. Just over a minute and half into the third period the captain once again tied the game when Tanner MacMaster fed Priskie who went high past Ruck for the equalizer. Senior Landon Smith picked up his 100th career point with the assist on the goal to become the 39th player in Quinnipiac to reach 100 points and the 25th at the Division 1 level.

In overtime with the clock winding down under a minute the Bobcats were rewarded for their effort when Whelan finished the sweep in dramatic fashion in overtime. "I thought Whelan was great tonight said Pecknold. He is a warrior who competes, battles and hunts the puck so well. He has really developed into a player for us in a short time and was rewarded tonight for his hard work."

Quinnipiac, a team more accustomed to out-shooting their opponents, flipped the script on the shot chart from a night ago when they were out-shot 41-15 pounded 46 shots on goal to the Huskies 26. Andrew Shortridge made 24 saves for his second victory of the season and freshman Odeen Tufto picked up a point in his 5th straight game.  Quinnipiac off next weekend before returning to action in two weeks when they welcome Cornell and Colgate to Hamden on November 3rd and 4th to kick off the ECAC schedule. 

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

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