Whelan, Petruzzelli lead #20 Quinnipiac to 4-3 victory at Holy Cross

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Whelan, Petruzzelli lead #20 Quinnipiac to 4-3 victory at Holy Cross

Photo: Liz Flynn

Photo: Liz Flynn

Photo: Liz Flynn

Photo: Liz Flynn

David Maher

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The #20 Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team had just come off a 5-2 loss at Clarkson last Saturday that ended a six-game winning streak and came into Worcester Friday night to take on the Holy Cross Crusaders looking to rebound from a stinging loss. The Bobcats did just that by defeating the Crusaders 4-3 at the Hart Center Ice Rink in Worcester, Mass.

“I told our guys to prepare for adversity,” said head coach Rand Pecknold following the win. “Holy Cross is a good team and playing at home and they compete hard. I think we are the better team but I knew it was gonna be a grind. We were up 4-1 and let them back in but I loved that we didn’t panic, we played hard, and we found a way to win on the road and we move on.”

The Bobcats dominated the Crusaders throughout the game, outshooting them 47-20. The Bobcats also won 70% of the face-offs. Both teams struggled on the man advantage as Quinnipiac was 0-for-3 and Holy Cross was 0-for-2.

Senior forward Alex Whelan recorded his second career hat trick in the game. First-year defenseman Logan Britt also added a goal for Quinnipiac, the first of his collegiate career. Six different Bobcats recorded assists and Keith Petruzzelli made 17 saves in net for Quinnipiac.

Whelan scored twice in the first period and added the third to open up the second period, his first hat trick since October 27, 2018, when he scored three times against AIC. He finished the night with seven shots and a +2 rating on the ice.

“He was the best player on the ice for both teams,” said Pecknold. “He’s been playing great recently. He was battling, defending, playing good two-way hockey, and was great on the power play.”

The Bobcats’ big lead didn’t last long. Up 4-1 late in the second period, the Crusaders added a goal to close the gap to 4-2 going into the third then added another goal to start the third and leaving plenty of time to find an equalizer. But clutch saves by Petruzzelli late in the period ended any hopes of a Crusader comeback.

“That second goal I think Keith wants back,” said Pecknold. “Shots were 32-12 and the score was 4-1 and I don’t wanna say the game is over but it is almost over. We just have to get to the end of the second period and put them away in the third. That gave them life. I loved the way the boys rallied around Keith and picked him up and there was no panic.”

The Bobcats will take part in the first annual Connecticut Ice tournament next weekend in Bridgeport, Conn. where they will open the tournament against the University of Connecticut. Depending on the outcome, the Bobcats will face the Sacred Heart Pioneers or their ECAC rival Yale the next day.

“We’re excited about the tournament. It’s been a long time coming,” said Pecknold. “It’s great for the state of Connecticut and great for college hockey. It’s really great for the youth hockey world. A lot of kids come to the games and want to stay with our sport. We want to make sure that hockey is their favorite sport.”