Quinnipiac lived up to their reputation as a defensive force and as a result got a 2-2 tie yesterday at the Mullins Center, despite the Minutemen outplaying them for long stretches in the middle of the game. For most of the first period the Bobcats did an excellent job of getting in every passing lane and disrupting each rush by the Minutemen into their zone. As a UMass only managed five shots in the opening period. Luckily one of those shots resulted in a shorthanded goal by Conor Sheary, setup by an excellent play by Kevin Czepiel to gather the loose puck and center it for a skill assist. That goal tied the game at one apiece after the Bobcats took an early lead just a few minutes into the game.
The Minutemen appeared to make some adjustments during the first intermission because they were able to move the puck and overcome the Bobcats’ stifling defense much better in the second. However, they were still only able to get one goal during that period past Quinnipiac goaltender Eric Hartzell, despite 17 total shots. Still Rocco Carzo’s power play goal gave the Minutemen the lead going into the final period.
However in the third period Quinnipiac would seize the momentum as they were able to clamp down on the UMass offense yet again. They were able to translate that momentum into a tying goal when defensemen Mike Dalhuisen threw a puck to the net that somehow got in just under the crossbar. From then on Quinnipiac surged while, yet again, the Minutemen faded. By the time overtime started UMass looked very tired out there, reminiscent of earlier games where they lost late leads. Luckily, the Bobcats were not able to find the back of the net in the extra frame, but it wasn’t for lack of trying as the puck rarely made it out of the UMass zone.
I guess a tie against a ranked team is a positive for this team, but it was tough not to walk out of the Mullins a little disappointed. UMass showed in the second period that they were the better skilled team yet an inability to finish combined with what has become a familiar third period and overtime malaise prevented them from getting a nice signature out of conference win.
Fear The Triangle Player of the Game – Kevin Czepiel
I thought Czepiel battling being aggressive on the penalty kill, taking the puck away from the Bobcats, and having the wherewithal to center the puck to Conor Sheary was the play of the game. Therefore I’m giving him my player of the game as well.
The Republican dubs the game a “sloppy affair”.