Six goals. Six different players. Quinnipiac trounced ECAC rival Harvard Saturday night in Hamden, Conn., 6-2, gaining its 10th ECAC win in the process and pushing its unbeaten streak to 14 games. All around phenomenal game for Quinnipiac, recording six goals for the second time this year, while Harvard struggled on the power play and between the pipes. Without doubt, the Crimson are a much different team when Jimmy Vesey isn’t on the ice.
What I Saw
Quinnipiac got its offensive performance started early, scoring twice on their initial four shots. At 1:51 in the first period, Bryce Van Brabant skated to the left side of the point before drilling a slap shot over the left shoulder of goaltender Raphael Girard. Less than six minutes later, Ben Arnt and Travis St. Denis skated into a 2-on-1. Arnt connected with St. Denis, who then one-timed a shot past Girard for the 2-0 advantage. Later in the first, Harvard got on the board when Luke Greiner hit the twine on a snipe from the far side circle to cut Quinnipiac’s lead in half.
The Bobcats proceeded to break the game open in the second period, beginning when Matthew Peca batted a mid-air rebound top shelf in the fourth minute of play. After a Harvard goal was waved off due to an oncoming interference penalty, Quinnipiac notched its first power play goal of the weekend. Loren Barron caught a centering pass from Connor Jones, before burying it for the 4-1 lead. Later, at 8:39, Quinnipiac’s Cory Hibbeler and Harvard’s Brayden Jaw fought for the puck off the faceoff. Hibbeler corralled the puck, before going down on one knee and backhanding it past Girard on an unorthodox play. The goal was enough for Harvard head coach Ted Donato to replace Girard in the crease with freshman Peter Traber. With four seconds remaining in the stanza, Harvard recorded their second and final goal of the night off of a rare 6-on-3 play following a pair of Quinnipiac penalties and a pulling of the goaltender.
Quinnipiac’s Mike Dalhuisen registered the lone score of the final period, his coming with six seconds remaining in regulation off a bouncer from the point.
What I Thought
What a dismal power play from Harvard tonight. Yes, they did convert once, but that doesn’t excuse the way they played with a man-up. The Crimson went 1-for-9 when playing 5-on-4, which includes 2:03 of 5-on-3 play. Harvard also had two power plays within the first eight minutes of the contest; an excellent chance to make a statement as a visitor against a team that hasn’t lost in two months. Pretty much a disaster for the Crimson on the man-advantage, and it can be inferred just how much this team missed Vesey tonight.
Going off the poor power play and as mentioned above, I think we all know by now Harvard cannot wait to get Vesey back from the World Junior Championships. The freshman represented USA in the tournament, and took home the gold this morning. Before heading off to Russia, Vesey had recorded five goals and three assists through nine games played. One can wonder how tonight’s outcome may have been different if he was in the lineup, although to be fair, the goaltending and defensive play was very lackluster as well.
Tough night for Girard between the pipes. The starter stopped just 7-of-12 shots, and will be surely thinking about this one for awhile. Girard has been very inconsistent in 2012-2013, recording two shutouts so far, while also giving up five goals on as many separate occasions.
What They Said
“The key was just to compete. Get pucks deep on these guys, work their game, and play most of the game down in their end,” Quinnipiac forward Clay Harvey told NESN following the first period.
“We gotta look at the positives,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold told NESN after the win. “We got a lot of good players on the team. Penalty kill was great again. Hartzy was great for us again tonight. We had a lot of guys that really battled. We’ve always found a way to win hockey games this year. I’m proud of the guys.”
What Else You Need To Know
Next up, Harvard heads to Boston University on Jan. 9 in a non-conference matchup.
Quinnipiac will continue its home series when it hosts Rensselaer next weekend on Jan. 11.