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Bobcats sweep first ECAC weekend of season
By Angelique Fiske, QBSN Publishing Editor
The Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team followed up its first ECAC victory of the year against Colgate Friday night with a 4-1 win over No. 4/4 Cornell. With this weekend’s sweep, Quinnipiac moves to 5-3-1 and 2-0 in the ECAC, while Cornell drops to 3-2-1, 1-1-1 in the ECAC.
Kellen Jones (Montrose, British Columbia), Ben Arnt (Oakdale, Minn.), Jeremy Langlois (Tempe, Ariz.), and Cory Hibbeler (St. Charles, Mo.) all contributed to the second Bobcat victory on the weekend.
Going in to the weekend, Cornell held an undefeated season record, and Quinnipiac had let every power play opportunity pass by scoreless. By the end of the day Friday, neither would be true, and Saturday only added to both new streaks.
“It was a matter of time before we started to score some goals,” head coach Rand Pecknold said.
Eight minutes into the second period, Jones sent a shot from inside the left faceoff circle to the far post and behind Cornell goaltender Andy Iles. Fellow junior Zach Tolkinen (Lino Lakes, Minn.) assisted Jones’s first goal of the season.
Arnt also put away his first goal of the year later in the second. He hit the puck from the right faceoff circle and under Iles’s left arm. Mike Dalhuisen (Nymegen, Holland) and Jordan Samuels-Thomas (Windsor, Conn.) earned the assists.
Langlois took the scoring from the middle stanza and into the last with a breakaway goal of his own. With two defenders trailing him on either side, Langlois took a Clay Harvey (Gull Lake, Saskatchewan) pass in direct opposition of Iles, but Langlois managed to hit the back of the net.
Cornell was quick to return the favor. Senior Greg Miller put the Big Red on the board for the first time, with the assist from John Esposito. Esposito’s initial shot hit off Miller’s skate and past Hartzell. After a review of the goal, it stood, bringing the score to 3-1 at the time.
The Big Red goal did not stop the Bobcats from tacking on another, this time off the stick of Hibbeler. Hibbeler took a pass from freshman Alex Barron (Glendora, Calif.) from between the faceoff circles and launched it to the far post.
While the offense dominated the later periods, the first period was shaky, according to Pecknold.
The first period saw no score, but Cornell made its presence known. Senior goalkeeper Eric Hartzell (White Bear Lake, Minn.) denied shot after shot in the latter half of the first frame. The Big Red got the puck in close range, where it stayed rebound after rebound. Unable to gain unfaltering possession, Hartzell deflected each shot, and it was eventually cleared by the Quinnipiac defense.
Hartzell saw a total of 10 shots against Colgate, making eight saves. In the first period alone against Cornell, he stopped all nine shots he faced. Hartzell ended the night with 34 saves.
“Cornell could have won 3-0 after the first period,” Pecknold said. ”He was fantastic.”
With the help of Hartzell in the back and the strong offensive force, the Bobcats were able to take an early advantage in conference play, one that will prove crucial later in the season.
“You definitely want to put points on the board in November. They mean just as much as points in February,” Pecknold said.
With a stretch of six games on the road, rounding out the month of November away from Hamden, the team takes this win as a morale boost.
“It’s good momentum for our team and confidence-wise,” Jones said.
The first stop for the Bobcats is Clarkson on Nov. 16, followed by St. Lawrence on Nov. 17.