Quinnipiac opens season with 5-3 win over Bentley

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Photo by: Rebecca Castagna

Photo: Rebecca Castagna

The Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team (1-0-0, 0-0 ECAC) opened their season Saturday night against Atlantic Hockey foe Bentley Falcons (0-1-1, 0-0 AH), who they held off in a 5-3 win.

Though the Bobcats now start the season with a win, head coach Rand Pecknold still thought there was a lot of work to be done.

“We need to get better. I think we were fortunate to win tonight, we certainly did some good things at good times,” Pecknold said.  “We didn’t play our game, we didn’t play our style.”

The first goal of the game belonged to freshman Bo Pieper, one of six new players who dressed for the Bobcats. His goal came off of a rebound from a shot by sophomore Tim Clifton. His hard, rising shot got past Falcon Gabe Antoni, giving him his first collegiate point.

For Pieper, being able to contribute was what mattered most.

“My shot ended up going past the goalie,” Pieper said. “I was just thankful I could help our team out as much as I could.”

Pecknold saw those contributions from the new faces on his roster.

“I thought the compete level was really good,” he said. “Certainly we’v got a lot of freshmen playing, but I thought our older guys struggled to buy in and commit to how we’re supposed to play.”

In addition to a slew of goals, the game was mired in penalties; with the Falcons having over fifteen minutes served a man down. Quinnipiac took advantage with two third period power play goals, one from senior Matthew Peca and one from sophomore Sam Anas.

Quinnipiac was also successful on the other side of the ice on the penalty kill, allowing one goal in eight chances to last year’s number two power play team in the nation.

The lone special teams goal put in by Bentley was on a five-on-three late in the third, something Pecknold believed should not have happened.

“With a two goal lead and less than four minutes to go in the game, you can’t take those penalties,” he said. “You can’t do that and win hockey games.”

What appeared to be a bright spot was the dynamic of the top line, which features senior co-captain Matthew Peca centering the 2013 Rookie of the Year Sam Anas and true freshman Tanner MacMaster.

“I played with Sam for a little bit, beginning of the year last year, and I thought we had some good chemistry. Obviously Tanner’s a great player,” Peca said. “I think we played well together today.”

Pieper believed his line, with his brother Canon at center and junior Soren Jonzzon had some of the same chemistry.

“He’s the one my brother and I feed off of,” Pieper said. “That’s been nice, especially having him, having someone we can have confidence in out there. “

The dynamics and developing chemistry will take to the road for a home-and-home series Oct. 17 and 18. They take on 17 nationally ranked UMass Lowell, who upset fourth ranked Boston College on Friday.