Odeen Tufto and Tanner Macmaster shine in No. 17 Quinnipiac’s first win of the season

Photo Courtesy: Sam Bashaw/Quinnipiac Bobcats Sports Network

Three games, three overtime periods and three different results for the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team.

After tying No. 13 Boston College and losing to No. 2 Boston University in overtime to start the season, No. 17 Quinnipiac picked up its first win of the season. The Bobcats defeated Vermont 3-2 in overtime on Saturday afternoon at the TD Bank Sports Center.

The Bobcats dominated in the first period, outshooting the Catamounts 17-7 (37-24 overall) but Vermont goalie, Stefanos Lekkas, stopped every shot to keep the game scoreless.

Quinnipiac hit four posts in the period and had a plethora of “grade A” chances, yet could not find twine. Bobcats head coach Rand Pecknold liked the way his team played early on, but would have preferred something to show for it.

“I thought we had a great first (period),” Pecknold said. “Should’ve been up by a couple, hit posts, missed empty nets.”

Just three minutes and 23 seconds into the second period, Vermont’s Liam Coughlin took advantage of a rebound and snuck a shot in near post past Andrew Shortridge, giving Vermont a 1-0 lead.

However Vermont’s lead would be short lived thanks to Odeen Tufto’s first collegiate goal, just 35 seconds later. The freshman forward had much praise for his linemates regarding his first career tally.

“It was good,” Tufto said. “I’ve had chances the last two games and my linemates are great: Tanner Macmaster and Landon Smith. When you’re playing with them, good things are going to happen. Playing with those guys who are both seniors, both know the ropes, they’ve kind of just taken me under my wing and helped me through it, so I think definitely playing with those guys gives you confidence.”

Likewise, the upperclassmen feel Tufto has a lot of potential in the blue and gold.

“Coming in my senior year, I kind of wanted to take that next step and take that leadership role on and I think (Tufto) has adapted well,” Macmaster said. “I think he’s come in he’s picked up pretty quick. He’s adapted well to the college game. He’s a skill guy. He can make plays, so I think if he keeps improving he’s going to be an elite guy in this league.”

Later in the second period, Macmaster found the back of the net for his first goal of the season, giving Quinnipiac a 2-1 lead to end the middle frame.

“I think we played real well,” Macmaster said about his line. “We’re a new line, we started playing together this week. I thought we gelled well. Me and Tufto are a couple skill guys who played well and (Landon Smith’s) the shooter. If we can do our thing and he can bury it, I think it’s a good night.”

In the middle of the third period, Vermont’s Craig Puffer took advantage of another Shortridge rebound and scored five-hole to tie the game 2-2.

The goal was the third time this season that Quinnipiac has blown a one goal lead in the third period. After plenty of great opportunities from Quinnipiac towards the end of regulation, the game went to overtime.

Two minutes and 27 seconds into the extra time, Tufto scored his second goal of the game and earned his fourth point of the season to give Quinnipiac the win. Tufto is now riding a three game point streak and is tied with sophomore Alex Whelan for the team lead in goals (2).

“Well (Tufto) is really good,” Pecknold said. “He’s got a lot of poise. I thought he made a lot of plays in the first, second and obviously he had two goals tonight. We need that right now, we need some forwards to step up and possess the puck and make plays for us.”

Macmaster assisted on the game winning goal to finish the day with one goal and two assists.

“I think we just got to figure out a way to close out games,” Macmaster said. “We’re playing well and teams are getting one late on us, but I think if we can really bare down and play for the third and hold on, we’ll be successful.”

Quinnipiac travels to No. 14 Northeastern next weekend for a two game road series before starting conference play on Nov. 3 against No. 18 Cornell.

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