Men’s hockey looks to snap winless streak against Maine Saturday night

Juliana Nikac and Dan Bahl

Photo: Samantha Bashaw
Photo: Samantha Bashaw

The Quinnipiac men’s hockey team (6-9-2 overall, 3-5-1 ECAC hockey) play the second game of a non-conference weekend series tonight against the Maine Black Bears (7-7-1 overall, 4-4-1 Hockey East).

The Bobcats will look to rebound after a tough performance in last night’s contest, which they dropped by a score of 7-4. Quinnipiac jumped out to a 3-0 lead behind goals from Scott Davidson, Bo Pieper and Tanner McMaster. The Black Bears got a late goal to bring the deficit to 3-1, but the Bobcats went into the intermission with a two-goal lead and a 20-4 advantage in shots.

The second and third periods were a different story, however, as the Bobcats were outscored 7-1 in the final two frames. Sophomore goalie Andrew Shortridge, who has been rock solid in goal for the Bobcats all season, was pulled with just under four minutes remaining in the game after surrendering seven goals on 23 shots. Jeremy Swayman, meanwhile, impressed in his first trip to Hamden, as the Black Bears’ freshman netminder stopped 50 of 54 shots en route to his sixth win of the season.

Tonight, Quinnipiac will look to regain momentum in their final game before winter break. Considering that they don’t play again until January 2, this should be considered one of the most important games of the season for the Bobcats. They enter the game with a 1-4-1 record in their last six games, and they’ve given up at least six goals in four of those games.

The Bobcats have taken the fourth-most shots in the nation at 620 over 17 games, which averages out to over 36 shots per game. The problem hasn’t been the shots; it’s been converting on these high shot totals. The Bobcats have scored just 45 goals this season, which gives them the second-worst shooting percentage in the nation at 7.3 percent. Those numbers are bound to change, but in order to do so, some of the Bobcats main offensive weapons have to start heating up.

Maine, meanwhile, is in the bottom half of the nation in terms of shots taken, but they’ve converted at a much higher rate, shooting at 11 percent. One thing to note is that the Black Bears come into the game with the nation’s worst penalty kill at 71.2 percent. The Bobcats went 0-for-4 on the powerplay last night, putting 12 shots on goal on the man advantage but failing to capitalize. Offensively, the Black Bears’ offense is relatively spread out, with five players in double digits for points, and 12 players checking in with at least six points on the season.

Tune in as the Bobcats play their final game before the winter break against the Maine Black Bears at the Frank Perrotti, Jr. Arena in Hamden, Connecticut. Mike Dalton and Dan Bahl will have the call for @QBSN tonight at 7 p.m.