Quinnipiac scores season-high six goals in win over Harvard

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Quinnipiac scores season-high six goals in win over Harvard

Ben Upson

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In the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team’s first game of the new decade, the Bobcats seem to be saying “New year, new me.”

A rejuvenated Bobcats team has changed its narrative, securing its fourth consecutive victory over the No. 16 Harvard Crimson 6-1 on Friday in Hamden. Over the four-game stretch, the offense has produced 15 goals and has effectively spread the puck around, with 10 different players scoring. Head coach Rand Pecknold believes that his team’s attack mentality is the biggest reason for the club’s success.

“I thought the big thing tonight for us, again the first wasn’t bad but it wasn’t our best period, [but] I thought the second and third that we were relentless,” Pecknold said. “We hunted, it was immediate, there was no pause.”

Despite the lopsided final score, the game started off fairly evenly. Both teams played their strategy effectively, with Harvard recording nine shots on goal to Quinnipiac’s seven. Karlis Cukste got things going for Quinnipiac, but Harvard tied the score at 1-1 at the end of the first period after John Farinacci was able to get one past Quinnipiac goaltender Keith Petruzelli on a power play opportunity for the Crimson.

In the end, that would end up being the only score of the night for this ranked Harvard team.

From there, the Bobcats came out of the locker room and controlled the contest for the remaining 40 minutes, scoring two goals in the second period and three in the third. Quinnipiac beat Harvard to more pucks, and despite the even number of shots on goal, the big number on the scoreboard ultimately prevails in the end.

Sophomore Wyatt Bongiovanni picked up two goals in the third period, and has shown great success out of the holiday break.  The first chance came on the power play, when he sent a bullet past senior Crimson goaltender Cameron Gormet to make it 4-1. He later scored the final goal of the night as he picked up a pass in front of the net from junior forward Odeen Tufto and rammed it home.

Bongiovanni has four goals in his last three games, and now leads ECAC Hockey with 10 tallies on the season. According to Bongiovanni, greater attention to personal detail is helping the team.

“Definitely been focusing more on my play,” Bongiovanni said. “Focusing on the teams, goals, it’s rewarding for sure. I want to keep it going. I don’t look at that more as a personal thing, I look at that more as like, what’s helping our team win.”

Tufto also made his mark on this game, recording one goal and two assists in the Bobcats’ win. One game after earning his 100th career point, he added three more, bringing his season mark to 20, including 17 assists, which are both among the top spots across the conference.

The Bobcats’ power play also continued to improve, as it converted on two of its four opportunities, finding the net quickly. Pecknold was pleased with the unit’s overall success on what has been a season-long struggle for the Bobcats , who entered the night at 12.9 percent on the man advantage.

“It really helps,” Pecknold said. “You’ve got to score goals on the power play. I thought the PP was good, it’s been getting a lot of good chances.”

Another encouraging sign for Quinnipiac was freshman Ethan Leyh and sophomore Ethan de Jong scoring goals, something they hadn’t done since early November. de Jong’s performance in particular stood out to his coach.

“He was great, nice goal,” Pecknold said. “Really, the assist, his play on that, makes a nice pass to Tufto. He hunts and tracks back … He was just relentless, he just kept coming and coming and coming and popped the stick and turned it, he played fast. To me, that was probably the key play of the game in my mind.”

 

Quinnipiac picked up two more points with the win and is currently tied for fourth in the conference. They look to continue their success as they wrap up their weekend series against the Dartmouth Big Green (7-4-2 OVR, 5-2-1 ECAC) on Saturday at 7 p.m. in Hamden.