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Quinnipiac men’s hockey opens season with exhibition win

Photo Courtesy: Liz Flynn/Quinnipiac Bobcats Sports Network

The Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team defeated Saint Mary’s University (Halifax, Nova Scotia) 3-2 on Sunday afternoon, in the team’s first home game of the season.

The Bobcats, who are ranked 14th in the nation, used two quick goals in the final minutes to pick up the victory.

After only having one team practice, there was a lot of rust to shed in the exhibition in order to get ready for the regular season.

“We struggled in a lot of areas tonight. We didn’t play at pace, we struggled with details on face-offs,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said.

Face-offs plagued the Bobcats, as they won only 25 of the 73 in the game.

“I would say that was the worst game face-off wise we’ve had in 15 years,” Pecknold said.

Losing key face-off men like Tim Clifton and Tommy Schutt to graduation, Quinnipiac is in search of a center to be a go-to player in the circle.

“We have to find new centers; we have to find new guys who are good at draws,” junior captain Chase Priskie said. “We have two, we’re still looking for two but it all just comes with practice.”

Despite the causes for concern from Pecknold in this game, the Bobcats did have some things to like.

Drafted in the third round (88th overall) of the NHL Draft by the Detroit Red Wings, freshman Keith Petruzzelli started his first game in net for the Bobcats this season. Petruzzelli played two periods in net, and stopped 15 of 16 shots on target from Saint Mary’s. The lone goal he did allow was on a breakaway, and Petruzzelli looked impressive in his debut.

“I thought Keith did really well for the first two periods, and had some big saves for us,” Pecknold said.

However the Bobcats head coach also gave credit to sophomore goalie Andrew Shortridge (11 saves) for stepping in the third period.

“It was tough for (Shortridge) to go in cold like that, but I think it was a good experience for him,” he said.

Despite going 0-7 on the power play, the Quinnipiac offense was bolstered by a second period goal by Bo Pieper and two late goals in the third by Tanner MacMaster and Kevin McKernan.

“We were waiting to get rewarded,” Priskie said. “We were relentless on the puck but the opportunities weren’t going our way. We then pushed the pace, got up the ice and put it in the back of the net.”

Quinnipiac heads to Chestnut Hill on October 6th to face Boston College in its first game of the regular season. The puck drops between the Bobcats and the Eagles at 7 p.m.

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