Lowell, Mass - UML and Quinnipiac were both Frozen Four participants last season, but they didn’t play each other . You couldn’t tell by the play on the ice. After a scoreless first period where Quinnipiac dominated play, the Bobcats came out in the second and stifled a good Lowell team, holding them 0-5 on the power-play and limiting them to no quality chances.
Jordan Samuel-Thomas opened the scoring at two minutes, three seconds of the second on a beautiful slot to slot pass from Peter Quenneville leaving the former with nothing but a wide open net to shoot at. QU took a 2-0 lead seven minutes later as Connor Clifton sent a point shot in that deflected off of Connor Jones into the net. The Bobcats finished the scoring in the second at 13:25 of the period when Derek Smith’s point shot beat Connor Hellebuyck to give Quinnipiac the 3-0 second intermission lead.
It was much of the same in the third period, as Lowell turned it up a bit scoring an early third period goal but they would eventually fall 3-1 to the Bobcats. Lowell falls 1-2-0 on the young season, while Quinnipiac improves to 2-1-0.
What I Saw
- QU used constant pressure on River Hawk skaters and it caused its opponent havoc. Defensively, the Bobcats have not missed a beat despite graduating four on defense. Whenever Lowell had an open opportunity, the Bobcats were there to break it up and the gap quickly closed. Through the first two periods, QU held Lowell to just three Grade-A opportunities.
- As great as the Bobcat defense was, the River Hawks never really found a beat and it was evident. Everything that they did last year was missing in its game and almost every pass and shot was a split second behind where it should have been. For being picked near the top of Hockey East, Lowell was just a step behind the Bobcats for much of the game.
What I Thought
- Lowell’s power-play looked awful the whole night. It went 0-4 in the second period and had just one shot on those four opportunities. The River Hawks should have no problems on the power-play with the talent they have. Guys like Joe Pendenza need to be part of the offense and power-play for Lowell but that was not the case on this night. He was a non-factor in this game and it really showed on the scoreboard, as Lowell went 0-7 on the Power-play.
- After a long trip to and from Alaska last weekend, the Bobcats looked unfazed and looked like the sharper team. Trips to Alaska can be hard on a team but because it was early QU may had time to gel. If anything. the trip looked like it did them a lot of good. They looked like the more complete team in this game.
- Although the tide changed in the third period with Lowell stepping its game up and having more chances, the River Hawks just struggled getting pucks to and past sophomore goaltender, Michael Garteig. Once the first one was scored, one thought it would have a chance but QU and Garteig had other plans.
What They Said
Lowell coach Norm Bazin said,
“We seemed to come alive in the third period with a lot more jam and spunk. We will need to come out for three periods if we expect an opportunity for success tomorrow.”
“I thought the second period was poor and it was our Achilles heel tonight. We will need to do stuff a lot better if we expect to have success. From my standpoint, it will need to come from our leadership. It is no question we will need to have better starts.”
Quinnipiac forward Jordan Samuels-Thomas said,
“A lot of guys competed for us tonight. When we compete we are able to make up for a lot of mistakes and that is what happened tonight.”
Quinnipiac goaltender Michael Garteig said,
“Watching film we knew that they crowded the net and they like to screen the goaltender but as a goalie you have to fight there. I felt that I did and I made the saves when I had to. When I wasn’t my D was there to clear the puck.”
What Else You Should Know
The two teams will meet tomorrow night in Hamden Connecticut, as the Bobcats look to take a sweep of the big, early season non-conference matchup. Look for a much better Lowell team to show up but based on tonight and being home, QU has to have the advantage in the matchup. On this night a good matchup on paper looked not so much.