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Bobcats back in first with win over Dutchmen
The No. 7 Quinnipiac Bobcats remain undefeated against ranked opponents this year with a 2-1 win over the No. 4 Union Dutchmen. The Bobcats improve to 16-3-5 (7-2-3 ECAC) and leapfrog for first in the conference ahead of the Dutchmen, who fell to 12-4-3 (8-2-0 ECAC).
Union’s first road loss of the season snaps its 10-game unbeaten streak, as well as breaks its streak of 13 straight games with three goals or more.
“Any time you can beat a No. 4 team in the country, it’s a huge win for your program,” head coach Rand Pecknold said. “From an ECAC perspective, it’s two huge points. We’re trying to catch Union, so it’s really a four-point game.”
The Bobcats dominated the Dutchmen in the faceoff circle, winning 48 out of 68 draws, and scored both goals as a results of faceoff wins.
Jordan Samuels-Thomas broke the scoreless tie in the second period on a one timer after Tim Clifton won the faceoff back to him. The Bobcats’ senior winger beat Dutchmen goalie Colin Stevens on the glove side for his 10th goal of the year.
“Faceoffs are huge for us,” Samuels-Thomas said. “When you win faceoffs you have the jump; you have possession. Possession leads to shots, shots lead to goals. It’s not every game you’re going to score off the faceoff. We happened to get two this game, so it’s important.”
Union tied the game in the third period on Mike Bennett’s second goal of the season. Bennett redirected a shot from Jeff Taylor, which found its way past Michael Garteig.
The Bobcats answered back less than a minute later with a deflection of their own. Bryce Van Brabant tipped Alex Barron’s wrist shot from the point past Stevens for the deciding goal.
Garteig made 27 saves en route to his NCAA-leading 16th win of the season. The sophomore goalie made several big saves down the stretch, especially during the last two minutes with an extra attacker on for Union.
“I think we’re realizing, as a young group, that we don’t have many games left during the year,” Garteig said. “It goes by so fast. There are only a couple more months left before playoffs. Tonight, that was huge for us to get that two points and carry our momentum on against another good team tomorrow.”
The Bobcats return to action Saturday when they host the Rensselaer Engineers. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m.