Late Goals Push Men’s Hockey to Brink of Elimination Against Brown

Will Fowler

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Photo: Liz Flynn

Trophy season is upon us, with playoffs in full swing across a variety of major sports. For the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team (25-8-2, 14-6-2 in ECAC Hockey), the hunt for hardware started off a bit more rocky than they would have liked, as they fell to Brown (14-13-5, 8-9-5 in ECAC Hockey) in overtime by a score 2-1 in game one of the ECAC Hockey quarterfinals.

 

The Bobcats were a tad thin on the back-end, losing vital contributors Chase Priskie and Luke Shiplo to suspension, along with Brandon Fortunato, who was ruled out for the season due to injury roughly a month ago. This did not hinder Quinnipiac’s D-core too much though, as they shut out Brown for over 59 minutes of the game. So, what was the reason for this heartbreaking loss?

 

“Tonight, for whatever reason, we just did not have the same fire we had all season,” head coach Rand Pecknold said. “We lost a lot of races, battles, and had a lot of panic in our game.”

 

Brown did seem to be the more desperate team down the stretch in this one, but the opening period didn’t see either team get any grade-A scoring chances. In the middle frame, Quinnipiac came out with a more energy, and got rewarded on the scoreboard. Junior defenseman Karlis Cukste was able to get the Bobcats out in front, firing a wrister over the shoulder of Brown netminder Gavin Nieto.

 

However, this was the only scoring touch the home team would find, and 8-seed Brown displayed some serious urgency in the third period. Quinnipiac was able to hold off Brown’s attack for the majority of the period, but Brent Beaudoin ended the shutout with just 21.5 seconds left in the game, beating Shortridge’s glove side. Brown head coach Brendan Whittet could not help but be pleased with his team’s resiliency.

 

“This is a fun group to coach,” Whittet said. “They really believe in our team and each other, and we were confident going into overtime.”

 

The overtime period saw both teams get their shares of chances, but it was ultimately Brown’s Jack Gessert who put the nail in the coffin for the first game of this best-of-three series. The junior forward collected the rebound of a Colin Burston shot that missed the net, banging it home just outside the crease.

 

Even with such a devastating loss, this is not the end of the road for the Bobcats. This has been a resilient bunch all year long, handling adversity well in the few times they have faced it.

 

“It’s nice that it is a two-out-of-three,” Pecknold said. “We’ll rebound tomorrow and be better.

 

Tune in tomorrow to see if Quinnipiac can keep its quest for the Whitelaw Cup alive, taking on Brown once again at 7:00 P.M at the People’s United Center.