For Quinnipiac, the celebration of its seniors started before the puck dropped...
Quinnipiac defeats Merrimack 6-1 with two-goal Van Brabant performance
The Merrimack Warriors struck first in the first period, when Mike Collins scored on a rebound and caught Michael Garteig out of position, and the Warriors took an early 1-0 lead.
“I wasn’t happy with the way we played [in the first period] … I benched a couple of guys in the second [period], which is something I don’t usually do,” Bobcats head coach Rand Pecknold said.
After a shaky first period, the Bobcats came out in the second period looking like a new team. One minute in, Jordan Samuels-Thomas wristed a shot through the five-hole of Rasmus Tirronen to tie the game, marking his 11th goal of the season and 97th career point.
Fifty-five seconds later, Bryce Van Brabant scored on a one-timer feed from Matthew Peca to put the Bobcats ahead 2-1.
Kellen Jones stole the puck from a Merrimack defender and put it around Tirronen to bring the Bobcats ahead 3-1 another 59 seconds later. Tirronen was taken out of the game and replaced by backup goaltender Sam Marotta after giving up three goals in less than four minutes — but that would not stop Connor Jones from matching his brother’s goal. About two minutes later, he came down in a one-on-one battle and shot a fast and hard wrist shot, beating Marotta to put the Bobcats up 4-1.
In the third period, Van Brabant added his second goal of the game on the power play, tipping a shot from Travis St. Denis at 6:33.
“I play pretty simple and go to the net … I try to use my size to my advantage,” Van Brabant said.
Brayden Sherbinin added his fourth goal of the season at 17:45 and the Bobcats held on to the 6-1 lead for the remainder of the game.
Dan Federico assisted on two of the Bobcat goals. The Bobcats killed off all three penalties they were assessed, increasing their nation leading percentage to 91.4 percent.
“It’s always nice to have personal success but I’m just happy with everyone today … to get the win is nice,” Van Brabant said.
The Bobcats are now 18-3-5 after the win and are 6-0-1 in non-conference home games. The Warriors’ loss puts them at 5-11-3.
The Bobcats travel to North Andover for the second game of the home and home series against the Warriors on Saturday. It will be the final non-conference game of the season for both teams. Puck drop is slated for 7 p.m.
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Former teammates behind opposing benches at the Frozen Four