January 10, 2009

Men's Ice Hockey Ties Rensselaer, 2-2

HAMDEN, Conn. – A pair of third period goals by Mike Atkinson (Sparta, N.J.) and Bryan Leitch (Coquitlam, B.C.) sent Quinnipiac's ECAC Hockey match-up against RPI to overtime before it ended in a 2-2 tie. The tie moves Quinnipiac into a tie with Cornell for second place in the ECAC Hockey standings with 14 points as Quinnipiac stands at 11-7-2 overall and 6-3-2 in ECAC Hockey play. RPI goes to 3-15-2 overall and 2-5-1 in league play. Quinnipiac has now gone six games without a loss, their longest streak of the season.

Both teams played to a scoreless tie through the first period. RPI held the advantage in shots, 9-7. The Quinnipiac defense clamped down on the Engineers, holding them without a shout through the first nine minutes of the second period.

At the 9:05 mark of the second, Kurt Colling put RPI out in front, 1-0, with his second goal of the season on a pass from sophomore defenseman Jeff Foss, his fifth helper of the season. RPI jumped out to a two goal lead less than three minutes later when senior center Seth Klerer beat Bobcat goalie Bud Fisher (Peterborough, Ont.) for his second goal of the year. Sophomore Chase Polacek took a pass from Bryan Brutlag and hooked up with Klerer for a power-play goal to put the Engineer out in front, 2-0.

Quinnipiac entered the game having trailed by two goals just five times in their first 18 games. In those games, Quinnipiac posted a 1-4-0 record. The only other time Quinnipiac trailed by two goals at the TD Banknorth Sports Center came on Nov. 11, 2008 when the Bobcats lost to Princeton, 2-0.

Following a second period that saw Fisher allow two goals on six shots, he was replaced by freshman Dan Clarke (Belleville, Ont.) to start the third period. Fisher left the game with 13 saves through two periods.

Just over six minutes into the third period, Atkinson scored his first goal of the season to cut the Engineers's lead to 2-1 with a little more than 14 minutes to play. Scott Zurevinski (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) picked up the assist on the play when freshman forward saw Atkinson moving behind the RPI defense After Atkinson received the pass in the slot from Zurevinski, who was just above the face-off cirlce, his shot bounced off the inside of RPI goalie's Mathias Lange's right leg pad and into the Engineer's goal.

At the 11:28 mark, Brandon Wong (Victoria, B.C.) dug the puck out the corner to Lange's right and fed David Marshall (Buffalo, Minn.) just below the face-off circle. Marshall passed from the boards across the ice to Leitch whose one-timer beat Lange to tie the game with a power-play goal, 2-2.

The goal extends Marshall and Leitch's concurrent points-scored streak to twelve games, making them the first Quinnipiac players in the University's Division I history to register a goal or an assist in the same 12 games. Leitch adds to his NCAA Division I scoring lead with his ninth goal of the season to go along with his 23 assists for 32 points. Marshall's assist was his 13th of the year while Wong picked up his seventh assist of the season.

Lange finished with 33 saves in the game, including six in the overtime period. Quinnipiac had several opportunities to score, but the senior goalie stymied the Bobcats offense. Clarke totaled eight saves in 28 minutes of work, including three in the extra period.

Quinnipiac returns to action on Saturday, Jan. 10 when the Bobcats host the Dutchmen of Union College at 7 p.m. at the TD Banknorth Sports Center in Hamden, Conn.