QU Men’s Ice Hockey takes home opener 3-2 over AIC


Photos: Liz Flynn

Eric Kerr

The Friday night lights were shining bright in the People’s United Center for the first time in months. Several Quinnipiac students shined their phone flashlights in unison as the Bobcats skated out onto the ice. “History is Made Here”, was the slogan of the night, as Quinnipiac took the time to honor its six players who earned a roster spot in National Hockey League.

History was also made in Frank Perrotti Jr. Arena when Quinnipiac (1-0 Overall, 0-0 ECAC) hockey took down American International College (AIC) (0-1 Overall, 0-0 Atlantic Hockey) 3-2 in Hamden.

It all began with a shot that hit the top of the net from freshman Ethan Leyh. His goal came within the six minute mark of the contest, where Leyh got the goal off a power play opportunity.

Captain Nick Jermain made sure to encourage younger players like Leyh before faceoff.

Photos: Liz Flynn

“I said, ‘I feel a freshman is going to score tonight,’” Jermain said after the game. “I was right. He scored in the first period like that, and that thing just gives him confidence and gives the rest of the guys confidence.”

The Yellow Jackets didn’t give in, making a sting into the Bobcats with a tap-in goal off a screen play later that period, courtesy of Elijah Barriga.

After a defensive battle, the Bobcats broke through the drought with a goal by Jermain with just 18.3 seconds left in the period. The goal was set up by a great defensive play by Zach Metsa, cutting off the AIC pass and then dishing it back to Jermain for the score.

The second period was physical, with three penalties between both teams in the first five minutes. Quinnipiac was able to capitalize on a 4-on-3, when Peter DiLliberatore sent a striker from the blue line to the back of the net.

At this point, Quinnipiac was 2-2 on the powerplay. Head coach Rand Pecknold was impressed with how his team played their roles with great pace in the power play.

“Our zone entries were good and our retrievals were good,” Pecknold said. “We played with urgency … We’ve got a lot of talents on both units, and they did their job today.”

The rest of the period was dominated by Quinnipiac goalie Keith Petruzzelli. AIC fired 10 shots on him in the second period, and he stopped all of them. Petruzzelli finishe the game with 25 saves and just 2 goals allowed.

Photos: Liz Flynn

“I thought Keith played really good,” Pecknold said. “Tonight he was really good, he handled the puck well and he got some key stops.”

AIC tried to come back with Blake Christensen’s goal in the third period, but the Bobcats were able to hold on and take the win, 3-2.

The key takeaways from the game were the Bobcats’ shots on goal and power play performance. They outshot the Yellow Jackets 31 to 27, and finished the game with two power play goals, with none to be seen from AIC.

Despite leading in these stats, Pecknold felt Quinnipiac could have played better. Limiting turnovers is something Pecknold will  focus on improving for their next contest.

“We had that good push, and then we started turning pucks over,” said Pecknold. “if you turn pucks over, we can’t run our offense.”

Quinnipiac will play AIC again on Saturday, this time on the road. The Bobcats will travel up to Springfield, Massachusetts to play the Yellow Jackets in the second game of the home and home series. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.