Bobcats’ late comeback not enough to top Clarkson in 5-4 OT loss


Photos: Liz Flynn

Dylan Sommer

No. 12 Quinnipiac (6-4-1, 0-1-2 ECAC Hockey) fell short of a miraculous comeback against No. 10 Clarkson (7-3-1, 2-0-1 ECAC Hockey) on Friday night, losing 5-4 in overtime after overcoming a three-goal deficit.

The first period woes continued for the Bobcats as Clarkson scored three goals in the opening eight minutes of the game. Clarkson freshman Luke Mobley was the first to start the scoring rampage by taking advantage of a rebound off Keith Petruzzelli and sending it into the back of the net. One minute later, Jack Jacome stole the puck from forward Michael Lombardi and slashed a shot past Petruzzelli to give Clarkson an early 2-0 lead.

After briefly pulling Petruzzelli for sophomore Evan Fear, head coach Rand Pecknold went back to his starting netminder, but Clarkson extended their margin after Nick Campoli sniped a shot from long range into the Quinnipiac net.

“We need to be better when the puck drops,” Pecknold explained. “It was a frustrating start for sure.”

Fortunately, the Quinnipiac offense was able to come alive near the end of the first period. Peter DiLiberatore capitalized on the power play opportunity, sending a wrist shot through traffic to put the Bobcats on the scoreboard.

Momentum was starting to shift the Bobcat’s way and it did not stop there. 37 seconds into the second period while on the power play, Ty Smilanic rocketed a one-timer that gave him his seventh goal of an impressive rookie season. The patience and precise passing of junior Ethan de Jong gave Smilanic the time to formulate an opening for the shot, and he didn’t miss.

With the goal, Smilanic officially became the leading goal-scorer of ECAC Hockey. However, the Bobcats would be down two again before they knew it.

An unlucky bounce of the puck off Quinnipiac’s Jayden Lee led Clarkson’s Anthony Callin to score a power play goal for the Golden Knights. Clarkson’s commanding lead only fueled Quinnipiac to fight back harder.

“We showed our resiliency and battled through adversity,” senior captain Odeen Tufto said. “I liked how our culture was able to come through.”

Nearing the end of the second period, first year Christophe Fillion fired the puck past Clarkson’s Ethan Haider to narrow the lead back to one.

The Bobcats had given themselves the chance to tie the game up in the third period and eventually, they accomplished that goal, drawing even for the first time since the score was 0-0.

Six minutes into the third, Logan Britt scored on a rebound off Tufto’s shot. Clarkson was 5-1-0 when leading after two periods, but blew the lead with plenty of time to go. Neither team could crack the scoresheet after, however, leading to a 3-on-3 overtime period.

Although Quinnipiac was able to kill off a penalty in the sudden death frame, Clarkson laid the final blow shortly after when Zach Tsekos potted a rebound past Petruzzelli to end the game.

The Bobcats’ valiant effort in the later periods was not enough to complete the comeback against the Golden Knights.

“It is all about mental toughness, and unfortunately we dug ourselves in a pretty big hole tonight” Pecknold concluded.

With the win, Clarkson continues to roll, improving to 7-3-1. Meanwhile, Quinnipiac loses its second in a row, now falling to 6-4-1 and remains winless in ECAC Hockey play.

If tonight’s game is any indication, Quinnipiac’s next two games against Clarkson should be thrillers. The Bobcats are looking forward to round two against the Golden Knights, as they play at 7 P.M. at the People’s United Center tomorrow before concluding the series on Sunday at 4.