By Kevin Noonan, QBSN Staff Writer
Senior Goaltender Eric Hartzell (White Bear Lake, Minn.) returned back to his season form by only allowing one goal and saving 28 shots en route to No. 9 Quinnipiac’s 3-1 victory over No. 12/13 Nebraska-Omaha.
The victory keeps the Bobcats’ nation-leading unbeaten streak alive, moving up to 12 games in a row.
“We’re very pleased, that’s a very good hockey team … as far as preparation goes, we do the same thing every day,” Hartzell said. “We came into this weekend knowing they were a top 12 team and got the job done.”
Juniors Connor Jones (Montrose, British Columbia) and Ben Arnt (Oakdale, Minn.) each scored power-play goals in the victory while junior Kellen Jones (Montrose, British Columbia) assisted on each of them.
A game that saw 17 combined penalties between the two teams also saw the defenses clean up after the Bobcats 5-4 win the previous day. Senior Mike Dalhuisen (Nymegen, Holland) led all players in penalty minutes with 22 after being called for interference, a 10-minute misconduct and a game misconduct.
“We need to control our emotions, we can’t be getting tens and then getting thrown out of the game,” head coach Rand Pecknold said. “That hurt us a lot and took a lot to overcome that.”
Quinnipiac (14-3-2, 8-0-0 ECAC) was 2-9 on power-play opportunities while UNO (11-8-1, 7-4-1 WCHA) was only 1-6.
John Faulkner saw time in net for the Mavericks in the second game of the series after Anthony Stolarz started the first game. Faulkner finished with 34 saves on 37 shots in the losing effort.
“We played well today, we had three nice goals and played a good defensive game. It really hurt us losing Dalhuisen early in the game, and we lost Currie yesterday,” Pecknold said.
Just nine seconds after sophomore Bryce Van Brabant’s (Morinville, Alberta) slashing penalty, Nebraska-Omaha put themselves on the boar in the opening period on a power-play goal by Ryan Walters to make it 1-0. It was Walter’s 12th goal of the season for UNO. Andrej Sustr dished the puck to Walters at the point where he lit lamp, after Josh Archibald screened Hartzell.
Senior Clay Harvey (Gull Lake, Saskatewan) answered right back two and a half minutes later for the Bobcats when he roofed a shot by Faulkner. Freshman Zach Luczyk (Worcester, Mass.) centered the puck to Harvey in the slot, where he skated to the left of the goal and waited for Faulkner to dive for the puck before wristing it top shelf for his third goal of the year.
Quinnipiac took a 2-1 lead in the first period when Connor scored a power-play goal almost a minute after Brian O’Rourke’s roughing penalty. Senior Loren Barron (Glendora, Calif.) skated over the blue line and avoided a hit from a Maverick defenseman. Barron dished the puck to Connor in the faceoff circle before he lit the lamp for the fourth time this season.
The Bobcats and the Mavericks tightened up their games in the second period, cutting down on the number of penalties but Quinnipiac was able to extend its lead to 3-1.
Arnt scored his second goal in as many games, this time coming on the power play. Kellen shot the puck towards Faulkner on goal, but Sustr knocked it down. Arnt was right in front of the net to control the puck and sent it in the wide-open side of the net.
The third period was scoreless as the Bobcat defense settled in. Sophomore Matthew Peca (Petawawa, Ontario) picked up a roughing penatly, and for the next two minutes the Mavericks pulled Faulkner in order to have a 6-on-4 power play.
Nebraska-Omaha was unable to score on the two man advantage, and the score remained 3-1 until the final horn sounded.
“Right now, everyone on our team has the confidence that we are the best team in college hockey,” Hartzell said. “Whether we are or we aren’t, our confidence is there.”
Quinnipiac returns to ECAC action Friday when they host Dartmouth with puck drop scheduled for 7 p.m. at the High Point Solutions Arena.