Quinnipiac Men’s Ice Hockey Ride Petruzelli, Defense to 4-0 shutout of Vermont


Photo credit: Liz Flynn

David Maher

The ninth-ranked Quinnipiac Bobcats men’s ice hockey team had Friday and Saturday off to prepare for an early matchup with the Vermont Catamounts on Sunday. With a long four-game road trip on the horizon, the Bobcats had to make sure they handled their business at home and they sure did. Goaltender Keith Petruzelli made 21 saves in his first shutout of the season and the Bobcats defeated the Vermont Catamounts 4-0 at the People’s United Center.

“I don’t love playing on Sundays,” head coach Rand Pecknold said after the win. “It is what it is and you play them when you have to play them. I think our guys found a way to have good energy for a 2 p.m. Sunday game.”

The Bobcats got four goals from four different goal scorers in the victory including one from Hamden native Joe O’Connor late in the third period to put the game away. O’Connor was happy to score against the school that he initially committed to.

“It was pretty impulsive,” O’Connor said about his goal. “I was committed there for two years before I found Quinnipiac so there was some pretty bad blood for me with Vermont.”

The Bobcats also added goals from Nick Jermain and Ethan de Jong in the first period and Wyatt Bongiovanni also knocked one in off the Vermont goalie’s pad in the second period before O’Connor scored in the third. Bongiovanni and de Jong finished with a goal and an assist each

The story of the game was Petruzelli. He picked up his first shutout of the season and first since November 2018 when he shut out the Maine Black Bears in Orono. Petruzelli made some key saves in the game including flashing the leather early in the first period and a huge leg save on a Vermont odd-man rush.

“I thought Petro played well and confident,” Pecknold said. “He missed a couple days because he had to get his wisdom teeth out but he was back on the ice Wednesday for practice and I thought he was mentally focused and ready to go.”

Petruzelli was the good side of the story, but the Bobcats did have a silver lining in their cloud. The Bobcats were 0-6 on the man advantage in the game including a five on three late in the third period for a little more than 90 seconds. Despite 13 shots with a man up and quality scoring chances the Bobcats could not find a tally on their power play

“We lost some pretty good players on our power play,” said Pecknold. “We have to find our way. We need to figure out who’s in what spot but it’s early in the season and we’ll get this going.”

Despite power play woes, the Bobcats penalty kill was rock solid. The Bobcats killed all five penalties they committed in the contest including a five-on-three opportunity for Vermont early in the third period. The Catamounts had their chances as well on the man advantage but the Bobcats defense made some important clears and Petruzelli came up big when they needed him most.

The Bobcats get through the first month of hockey with a 4-1-0 record in October, but November presents a tough challenge in the Arizona State Sun Devils, the Bobcats’ first-round opponent in last year’s NCAA tournament, right out of the gate. The Bobcats face off with the Sun Devils on November 1st and 2nd at the Oceanside Ice Arena in Tempe, Arizona. The puck drops in the desert at 10:05 p.m. EST both nights.