December 29, 2012

#9 Quinnipiac Men's Ice Hockey Tops #12/13 Nebraska Omaha, 5-4; Samuels-Thomas Scores Twice In Win

HAMDEN, Conn. – he nationally-ranked No. 9/9 Quinnipiac men's ice hockey team defeated No. 12/13 Nebraska Omaha, 5-4, in a non-conference match-up at the High Point Solutions Arena at the TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden, Conn. With the win, Quinnipiac improves to 13-3-2 on the season while they also increase their program-record unbeaten streak to 11 games (10-0-1), also accomplished during the 1997-98 and 1984-85 seasons. Nebraska Omaha drops to 11-7-1 on the season. Quinnipiac is now 5-0 against ranked opponents for the year.

Jordan Samuels-Thomas (Windsor, Conn.) led Quinnipiac with two goals and an assist while Matthew Peca (Petawawa, Ontario) and Ben Arnt (Oakland, Minn.) both had a goal and an assist. Kevin Bui (Edmonton, Alberta) also scored for the Bobcats, while Bryce Van Brabant (Morinville, Ontario), Jeremy Langlois (Tempe, Ariz.), Kellen Jones (Montrose, British Columbia) and Clay Harvey (Gull Lake, Saskatchewan) all had assists. In goal, Eric Hartzell (White Bear Lake, Minn.) had 28 saves to improve to 12-2-2 on the season. In addition, the win was also head coach Rand Pecknold's 350th career win.

Samuels-Thomas and Peca gave Quinnipiac a 2-0 lead less than four minutes into the game. Samuels-Thomas scored his fourth goal of the year just 1:54 into regulation when he one-timed a pass from Bryce Van Brabant (Morinville, Alberta) over the shoulder of Nebraska-Omaha's Anthony Stolarz for the game's first tally. Less than two minutes later it was Peca taking off down the ice, ripping a shot off the cross bar after undressing his defender to give the Bobcats a 2-0 lead after the first period.

Coming out of the first break, Nebraska-Omaha scored three goals in the second frame as Johnnie Searfoss had a goal and assist. Matt White put the Maverick's on the board to cut Quinnipiac's lead in half, 2-1, before Arnt scored on a brilliant shot from the goal line that snuck behind Stolarz to give Quinnipiac a 3-1 lead. Samuels-Thomas picked up a point after he tipped the puck in the neutral zone to Arnt. The goal was Arnt's second point of the night after he also picked up an assist on Samuel-Thomas' goal. Searfoss scored his sixth goal of the year to pull UNO within a goal before Brian O'Rourke scored off a draw in the Bobcats' defensive zone to tie the game.

With just over a minute to play in the second period, Kellen Jones dug the puck out from behind the Maverick's goal and fired a pass to Bui on the doorstep. The fifth-year senior one-timed the pass between Stolarz's pads to give Quinnipiac a 4-3 lead heading into the second intermission. It was Bui's first goal of the season while Jones picked up his fifth assist of the season.

Ryan Walters, the NCAA Division I leading scorer, tied the game just 38-seconds into the third period with his 11th goal of the year. Three minutes later, it was Samuels-Thomas with his second of the afternoon that gave Quinnipiac a 5-4 lead off a pass from Peca and Clay Harvey (Gull Lake, Saskatchewan).

Quinnipiac and Nebraska-Omaha play again on Sunday, Dec. 30 at 12 p.m. at High Point Solutions Arena. Bobcat fans who bring a new toy or stuffed animal for the Yale New Haven Toy Closet will receive two free tickets to Sunday's game. The Bobcats jump back into ECAC Hockey play when they host Dartmouth on Friday, Jan. 4 and Harvard on Saturday, Jan. 5 with both games slated for a 7 p.m. start. 

CONTACT: Ken Sweeten (kfsweeten@quinnipiac.edu)