Saturday, March 3, 2018

Secondary scoring propels Quinnipiac to 5-1 Game 1 win over Yale

Quinnipiac at Yale, ECAC First Round Game 1 (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)

The Quinnipiac Bobcats gave up a first period goal but took control in a dominant third period en route to a 5-1 in Game 1 of the ECAC first round playoff series between the Whitney Avenue rivals on Friday night at Ingalls Rink in New Haven, CT. This was only the third playoff meeting between the rivals in the ECAC tournament with Quinnipiac winning the 2013 ECAC consolation game and following that up with a sweep of the Bulldogs in the 2014 ECAC quarterfinals. Quinnipiac also was playing a road opening round playing series for the first time in 12 years since the 2005-2006 season.

It was the Quinnipiac secondary scoring that came through tonight for the Bobcats as Joe O'Connor, Kevin McKernan and Scott Davidson all scored goals tonight in the victory. One of the big keys coming into this series was finding other players outside of Odeen Tufto and Tanner MacMaster score goals and through one game that looks to be the case. Quinnipiac was sluggish a bit in the first period with Yale having some sustained pressure and finding breaking through when Tyler Welsh split the defense and found Ryan Hitchcock who put it past freshman goaltender Keith Petruzzelli (21 saves) making his first career postseason start.

Quinnipiac evened the score just 2:09 into the second period when Tanner MacMaster stole a pass just as it was heading out of the offensive and drove to the net before feeding to a charging Joe O'Connor who slid one past Sam Tucker as he was going to the ice. Just as they scored early in the second period, Quinnipiac took the lead early in the third when Scott Davidson fed Chase Priskie skating untouched through zone and sent a wrist shot five hole that trickled past Tucker which turned out to be the eventual game winning goal. "It left a sour taste in our mouth the last time we played here, said Priskie. We wanted to come back and get some redemption and we are glad we came out with the W."

Quinnipiac at Yale, ECAC First Round Game 1 (Photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)

The lead was extended again when Matt Forchuk's tremendous vision found Kevin McKernan on the back door for a goal. McKernan returned to the lineup for the first time since the 3-2 loss to Yale on February 9th and he did so by playing a wing position instead of defense. "The first period was pretty tough playing forward, said McKernan. The legs felt a little heavy but once you I got into it, it wasn't bad. I don't mind it running around the ice a little bit with Davo [Davidson] and Chucker [Forchuk] as it made it easy."

Alex Whelan iced the game with his team leading 15th goal of the season by way of the empty and Scott Davidson added another one in the final minute five hole past Tucker. "I thought it was good win tonight, said Rand Pecknold. It was a good battle. We struggled a bit in the first and Yale was good. The message after the first was we need to play better and I thought we did that. we really battled. We played a good honest game tonight with good habits and kept it simple. The passion and care was there and if we are going to do that and play to our identity, we are going to win a lot of games."

Quinnipiac will go for the sweep tomorrow night at Ingalls Rink in New Haven as they look to close out the series and advance to the ECAC Quarterfinals.

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