Bridgeport, CT- Rain fell and wind swirled around Bridgeport’s Webster Bank Arena on Saturday afternoon. Inside, Quinnipiac and UConn met on the ice for what the college hockey world hopes becomes an annual tradition. The Bobcats and Huskies provided a wonderfully fun and energetic start to the tournament.
The teams combined for four goals in the opening 20 minutes. UConn’s Ruslan Iskhakov went first 4:59 into the game. Eighteen seconds later, William Fallstrom won a face off to San Jose Sharks draft pick Kārhis Čukste for the equalizer. QU broke the tie after the midpoint when Wyatt Bongiovanni walked to the high slot and ripped a shot over Tomas Vomacka for a 2-1 lead. UConn shelled the Bobcats for the remainder of the period and caught a break. Carter Turnbull tied the game in the late minutes off an awful Quinnipiac turnover in their own end. The Huskies outshot the Bobcats 16-7 in the opener but went to the intermission even 2-2.
QU gained control of the second period’s pace and the lead. The frame’s shots were 14-5 for the Bobcats. At the 7:57 mark, Captain Nick Jermain and Norwalk, CT native Nick Jermain snuck his shot through a goalie from behind the net for a 3-2 lead.
UConn struggled to generate chances early in the third but cranked into life late thanks to a Nick Jermain hook with 6:25 left. The power play and later extra attacker time failed to land an equalizer. Keith Petruzzelli recorded 7 of his 26 saves to secure a 3-2 win for the Quinnipiac.
The Huskies drop to 9-11-4 on the season.
“Certainly disappointed because I thought we played a pretty good hockey game.“ said UConn Head Coach Mike Cavanaugh. “That’s a great hockey team that’s battle tested and I was proud to see our kids compete.”
Tomas Vomacka stopped 22 of 25 shots.
UConn faces Yale in the CT Ice Festival’s Consolation game on Sunday afternoon. Puck drops at 4 pm ET at the Webster Bank Arena.
Quinnipiac improves to 14-8-1.
“It was a great win for us,” said Quinnipiac Head Coach Rand Pecknold. “I thought UConn was great tonight. I think they deserved a better fate. I was happy with our guys how we came out in the second.”
The Bobcats face the Sacred Heart Pioneers on Sunday night for the Inaugural Connecticut Ice Festival Championship. Puck drops at 7 pm ET in Bridgeport.