(Photo Credit: Eric J. Burton, Inside Hockey)

North Dakota Escapes Hamden Victorious

Hamden, CT- Quinnipiac scored their most impressive win of the season on Friday night against North Dakota. In the first matchup between these programs since the 2016 National Championship Game, the Bobcats looked to solidify their status as a national contender for 2022 by sweeping the Fighting Hawks. At home, QU showed their skill but didn’t execute well enough to secure the sweep.

Quinnipiac completely controlled the first period’s pace and tempo, outshooting the Fighting Hawks 14-4 and landed the game’s first blow. Wyatt Bongiovanni potted a rebound goal for his second of the season 6:07 into the game. And QU gave the lead away quickly after. Goalkeeper Dylan St. Cyr tried to pass the puck from around the net and put it directly onto Mark Senden’s stick. The UND captain deposited the puck into the net for his first goal of the season only 1:26 after taking the lead.

UND’s best period came in the second. The Fighting Hawks took the lead on a power play following a Joey Cipillone hold. Jake Sanderson and Connor Ford got the puck to the goal mouth and Penguins draft pick Judd Caulfield pounded home the go-ahead goal 7:04 into the period. Quinnipiac still had their chances in the frame but couldn’t get anything through Zach Driscoll.

The final stanza rhymed with the first. Quinnipiac outshot UND 12-3 but committed one turnover that turned into a goal. Bowling Green transfer Connor Ford was the goal scorer, notching his first North Dakota goal 4:38 into the final period. Quinnipiac spent the final farm searching for another goal but found none. Just the boards and Zach Driscoll’s pads. UND escaped with a 3-1 victory and a series split with Quinnipiac.

“We would’ve been devastated to not come out of here with at least one win,” explained North Dakota Head Coach Brad Berry. “That’s a great team over there that we played this weekend.”

UND improves to 4-2-0 with the win.

Driscoll recorded 35 saves, the most in his brief North Dakota career.

Jake Sanderson recorded two assists to increase his point total to seven points in six games played.

North Dakota travels to Nashville next weekend to play in the US Hockey Hall of Fame Game against Penn State. Puck drops at Bridgestone Arena at 7 pm CT against the Nittany Lions.

Quinnipiac drops to 3-1-1 with their first regular-season loss of the season.

“I thought we had some looks tonight where we had guys open off the back post, but we didn’t make the play, we shot it into somebody’s shin-pads,” explained QU Head Coach Rand Pecknold.

Notre Dame transfer Dylan St. Cyr recorded 16 saves.

The Bobcats have a quick turnaround, hosting Holy Cross on Tuesday night, then playing a home-and-home with American International College over the weekend. Puck drops against the Crusaders in Hamden at 7 pm ET on Tuesday, against the Yellow Jackets in Springfield at 7 pm ET on Friday, and again against AIC in Hamden at 4 pm ET on Saturday.