Men’s Ice Hockey Continues Perfect Start, Topples Harvard 5-3

Will Fowler

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Courtesy: Liz Flynn

There’s an old saying: Nobody’s perfect. It’s been used time and time again to explain why some kind of faults or blemishes occur. And don’t be mistaken – Quinnipiac has some faults and blemishes in their game – just ask their coach. But despite that, one thing is for sure: the Quinnipiac Bobcats men’s hockey team (6-0-0, 1-0-0 ECAC) has gotten off to a perfect start, as they trekked to Cambridge and toppled the Harvard Crimson (0-2-0, 0-2-0 ECAC) by a score of 5-3.

“Oh, God, I could give you a list… but we don’t have time for all that,” said Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold when discussing how his team could improve. “We did well enough to win, but it wasn’t pretty.”

Just over two minutes into the game, captain Chase Priskie drove down the ice, but he fell and slid behind the net, managing to get off a weak backhander in the general direction of Harvard goalie Cameron Gornet. Somehow, the puck found its way between Gornet’s legs and into the net, and the Bobcats jumped to a 1-0 lead.

Afterwards, the game was much more even, and Harvard had a number of chances snuffed out by Quinnipiac goaltender Keith Petruzzelli. However, right before the horn sounded, Quinnipiac struck again. With 25 seconds left, Bobcats’ winger Alex Whelan produced a swift and powerful drive around the net, then threaded the needle on a pass to Odeen Tufto, who fired home a one-timer to take Quinnipiac into the break with a 2-0 lead.

In a word, the second period was madness. It saw five total goals racked up, and the momentum of the game completely shifted on multiple occasions. Quinnipiac picked up right where they left off, as Brandon Fortunato launched a rocket from the point while on the power play. The echo from the pipe ringing is likely still reverberating around the rink, as the Bobcats took a commanding 3-0 lead.

Just 90 seconds later, Brogan Rafferty took a shot that Gornet couldn’t corral, and William Fallstrom put home an easy backhanded rebound to all but seal a Quinnipiac victory, as they upped the lead to 4-0. Just when it seemed as though the game was over, Harvard came back – and they came back guns blazing.

30 seconds after Fallstrom’s goal, Harvard’s Jack Rathbone collected a long rebound and sniped a shot just under the bar to put Harvard on the board. Before the fans even finished celebrating the first goal, their squad found the back of the net again.

A little less than a minute after Rathbone’s first collegiate goal, Lewis Zerter-Gossage cut into Quinnipiac’s lead again. Adam Fox dished a great pass to find Zerter-Gossage in stride, and he finished it off with a slick forehand-to-backhand deke for the finish. All of a sudden, the Crimson were right back in it, only trailing 4-2.

However, the Bobcats once again scored in the dying minutes of the period, as Ethan de Jong put away yet another rebound off a Rafferty clapper to give Quinnipiac a 5-2 lead after two. It was de Jong’s first career goal.

“(It felt) not bad”, said de Jong on his first goal. “I was pretty excited… it feels good to get that off my back.”

Early in the final frame, Harvard again clawed their way back into the contest. Harvard’s Michael Floodstrand led an odd man rush about 5 minutes in, and as he attempted to pass it to teammate Colton Kerfoot, the puck deflected off a defenseman’s stick and past Petruzzelli to make it a 5-3 game.

Despite its start, the final frame was less chaotic. The ice was no longer tilted for one team as it was through many stretches of this game, and thanks to a couple of highlight reel saves from Petruzzelli, Quinnipiac held on for the win. Pecknold expressed his satisfaction in the leadership and effort of his team.

“On good teams, coaches hold players accountable. On great teams, players hold players accountable,” said Pecknold. “It was a great win for our program.”

Up next for Quinnipiac is a matchup at Dartmouth Saturday night at 7:00 p.m.