Jordan Samuels-Thomas notched his third game-winning goal of the season Friday evening, as Quinnipiac defeated Dartmouth at the TD Bank Sports Center, 3-2. With the victory, the Bobcats extend their unbeaten streak to 13 games, and are currently 9-0-0 in conference play and 7-0-0 against ranked opponents. Samuels-Thomas got his previous game-winners against Nebraska-Omaha on Dec. 29 and on Oct. 6 at Maine.
What I Saw
Quinnipiac controlled the first and second period’s, yet Dartmouth played a strong third and and overtime period. The Bobcats took an early lead at 11:09 in the first, when Travis St. Denis collected a rebound and wristed the puck past Charles Grant for the 1-0 advantage.
Following a scoreless second, Quinnipiac added to their lead at 8:04 in the third. Bryce Van Brabant picked up the loose puck, before firing a shot off the post and in, pushing the Bobcats lead to two. Just 44 seconds later, Dartmouth cut the deficit in half when Tyler Sikura flicked the puck behind an inattentive Eric Hartzell. After going off the post and out, Matt Lindblad tapped the puck across the uncovered crease to get Dartmouth on the board. Then, with 3:34 remaining in regulation, Tim O’Brien picked up a rebound and fired a shot low glove side past Hartzell to knot the game at two, later sending it into overtime. Finally, 3:30 into the stanza, Jordan Samuels-Thomas snapped a shot from the near side circle off the iron and in to win it for Quinnipiac.
What I Thought
Both defenses looked rather flat to start the first. Dartmouth allowed 11 shots-on-goal, while Hartzell stopped 10 shots. Maybe it’s just me, but I was expecting a tad bit more defense from these schools to start the game.
Covering this team all season long, Quinnipiac’s second period was one of it’s best of the year. The Bobcats outshot the Big Green 11-2 in the frame, and despite not scoring any goals, the squad still had numerous chances in the slot. Furthermore, Quinnipiac’s defense was fantastic throughout the 20 minutes, as they did not allow a Dartmouth shot-on-goal from 2:18 on in the period.
Both team’s penalty kills lived up to expectations tonight. Quinnipiac’s second best in the nation and Dartmouth’s seventh best combined to kill off eight power plays, five of which belonged to Quinnipiac. Wasn’t a surprise here at all.
What They Said
“I thought it was okay,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold told NESN following the first period. “I thought we did some things well. I thought we had a couple good shifts. Very sloppy in the neutral zone. We didn’t do a great job in the D zone; a couple guys just not hard enough on the puck, making plays. Hopefully we’ll play it out; we’ll be better this period.”
“It was a better period for us,” Dartmouth captain Mike Keenan told NESN after the second period. “They’re clogging up the middle pretty well, so we’re gonna try to get it deep. They’re gonna be able to work their D men down low.”
“I got the puck low in our zone, and my first instance was to get it down the ice as quickly as I can,” Samuels-Thomas told NESN following his game-winning goal. “Huge win for us, we were struggling at times, some D zone lapses. It just happened to be my night tonight. It was a blessing to get that goal. It’s kind of our team; we find ways to win.”
What Else You Should Know
Quinnipiac forward Cory Hibbeler saw his first action tonight since Nov. 24.
Tomorrow, Quinnipiac takes on Harvard at 7 p.m. That game will be televised on NESN.
Meanwhile, Dartmouth travels to Princeton Saturday when they take on the Tigers at 4 p.m.