Highlight by: M.J. Baird
Article By: Jonathan Banks
From top to bottom, the Clarkson Golden Knights are a talented hockey team.
Clarkson sports one of the premier lines in all of college hockey. Coming into tonight’s game, sophomores Sheldon Rempal, Nico Sturm and Devin Brosseau had accounted for 80 of their team’s 244 points. That equates to 32.8% of the production, showing how crucial the trio is to their team’s success.
In order for Quinnipiac to somehow steal points from the No. 3 team in the nation, it needed to neutralize the threat of Clarkson’s potent attack.
And that it did.
Quinnipiac found ways to put the puck in the back of the net en route to an impressive 4-1 victory Friday night at the Frank Perrotti, Jr. Arena.
At the end of the first period, Nico Sturm had one shot on goal. Rempal, the leading scorer in the conference, had yet to hit the target. Devin Brosseau could not find space, either.
Captain Chase Priskie credits a little bit of everything as the key to his team’s outstanding defensive performance.
“It’s our stick on puck, our gap, keeping shots to the outside, boxing guys out, not letting them get to the doorstep,” the captain said. “When we do everything, it makes life pretty hard for the other team to score.”
Freshman goaltender Keith Petruzzelli pinpointed his team’s preparation as vital in Quinnipiac’s successful night.
“We did a lot of system stuff [in practice]. We changed our forecheck a bit on them, and we obviously had to get our matchups right… Coach did a great job of preparing us for them with video and all that stuff,” Petruzzelli said.
After shutting down Clarkson for the first twenty minutes, there was still work to be done. Clarkson’s sophomore line, which has been so effective all year, simply could not find a way to create chances. When the buzzer sounded for the second period, Sturm, Rempal and Brosseau only had four shots between them. When the dust settled at the end of the third, the three-headed monster of a line only mustered six shots on Petruzzelli’s net.
“We didn’t play perfect, but the battle level was excellent,” head coach Rand Pecknold said. “The biggest thing was the care and the passion. The guys were really excited to play a top five team in the nation and if we can bottle that and do that every night we’re gonna be a better hockey team.”
A FRESHMAN’S FIRST
Quinnipiac picked up a long-awaited victory at home, its first win in Hamden since November 18 against Yale.
However, that was not the longest winning drought the team dealt with. Freshman goalie Keith Petruzzelli used a 25-save evening to claim his first victory since the first game of a doubleheader against Northeastern on Oct, 20.
Friday was the Detroit Red Wings’s prospect first collegiate victory on home ice.
If you told Petruzzelli in October it would take him until early February to tally his first win in front of the Quinnipiac faithful, he would probably not believe you. Nevertheless, the Massachusetts native showed raw excitement when asked about finally picking up a win.
“It’s unreal,” he said. “I feel like I’ve been battling for a bit now, but getting out there tonight the guys did great and made my job pretty easy.”
Senior forward Tanner MacMaster, who himself is enjoying a good spell of hockey with three multi-point games in a row, liked what he saw out of the 18-year-old.
“He played awesome. He was a wall back there,” the senior said. “We need that. He stepped up and had a really big game and made some big, timely saves that helped us out.”
Quinnipiac has a short turnaround before playing host to Saint Lawrence tomorrow night at 7 p.m.
Saint Lawrence currently sits in the cellar of the ECAC with 5 points and just two conference wins. However, the Bobcats are well aware that just as they played the underdog card to perfection tonight, the Saints have the ability to do the same thing tomorrow.
Pecknold emphasized his team needs to play with the same passion they had tonight for the rest of the season.
“You can’t fake passion. You can’t fake it. We had it tonight,” Pecknold said. “We were hungry. We were hard on the puck. Guys were committed, blocking shots. If we’re gonna have that passion, we’re gonna win games.”
A Quinnipiac victory tomorrow would earn it the second sweep of a weekend series this season.
*Rand Pecknold FULL postgame press conference*