Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Quinnipiac opens second half with shutout of UConn

Quinnipiac at UConn (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)
The Quinnipiac Bobcats opened the second half of the season with a 3-0 win on Tuesday night against the University of Connecticut in a non conference match-up at the XL Center in Hartford. It was the first win for Quinnipiac since a 6-2 win on the road against Princeton on November 28, 2017. After closing out the first half of the season with back to back losses against Maine to finish at 6-10-2, Quinnipiac showed a renewed effort as they look to turn their season around with the calendar turning to 2018.

Quinnipiac got strong goal-tending in net from sophomore Andrew Shortridge who recorded his 4th shutout of the season."Starting out with a big win like that with a good battle at the start, it was huge boost for our confidence, said Shortridge after his 21 save performance. We can really use that as a momentum builder". 

The Bobcats got on the board just over six minutes into the opening frame when Alex Whelan cleaned up a rebound in front of UConn goaltender Adam Huska off a Kevin Duane shot from the half wall. It was the 7th goal of the season for Whelan putting him one goal behind team leader Tanner MacMaster who has 8.
Brogran Rafferty, center (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)
The teams went scoreless in the middle frame but Shortridge came up big with some saves late in the second period to preserve the lead. "The boys were great in front me tonight. The defenseman were great at retrieving pucks in front of me along with pushing a lot of the play to the outside. We had a lot of one and done opportunities which helped to control rebounds and the forwards blocked shots", said Shortridge.

Quinnipiac scored on another rebound six and half minutes into the third period when Bo Pieper found the puck come to his stick in the high slot and buried a one timer past Huska for the goal. The Bobcats sealed the win in the final minute on an empty net goal by Kevin McKernan. Quinnipiac out shot UConn 27-21 for the game and blocked 17 UConn shots. Quinnipiac showed some strong grit and hustle tonight and capitalized on rebound chances and had a solid fore-check.

"It was a good win but we didn't play our best game, said Rand Pecknold. We we were rusty in the first period. We battled and Shortridge was our best player tonight". Quinnipiac improves to 7-10-2 on the season and now will head to Colgate and Cornell this week as they head back into ECAC play. "We still have to clean some things up and get ready for our next game but I am happy to get the win", added Pecknold.

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