Bryce Van Brabant Scores Twice To Lead No. 5 Bobcats To 6-1 Win Against Merrimack

HAMDEN, Conn. – Quinnipiac men's ice hockey junior Bryce Van Brabant scored twice to lead the nationally-ranked No. 5 Bobcats to a 6-1 win against Merrimack at High Point Solutions Arena at the TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden, Conn. With the win, Quinnipiac improves to 18-3-5 on the year while the Warriors drop to 5-11-3 on the year.

Van Brabant's two goals were a career-best for the Morinville, Ontario native. Van Brabant scored the go-ahead goal in the second period before adding his second early in the third period. He now has four goals in his last three games and five points in his last four games.

Jordan Samuels (West Hartford, Conn.) and Kellen Jones (Montrose, British Columbia) both tallied a goal and an assist in the Bobcats' win while Dan Federico (Acton, Mass.) had a game-high two assists. Connor Jones (Montrose, British Columbia) and Brayden Sherbinin (Kelowna, British Columbia) also scored for Quinnipiac while Matthew Peca (Petawawa, Ontario), Travis St. Denis (Trail, British Columbia), Tim Clifton (Matawan, N.J.) and Tommy Schutt (Chanhassan, Minn.) added assists. In goal, Michael Garteig (Prince George, British Columbia) picked up his NCAA-leading 18th win of the year after stopping 22 of Merrimack's 23 shots on goal before exiting the game in favor of Jake Meyers (Chanhassan, Minn.) with two minutes to play. 

Merrimack's Mike Collins gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead with his sixth goal of the season less than five minutes into the game. Josh Myers received a pass from Justin Mansfield at center ice and took off on his own down the right flank. Myers threw a shot on goal that was deflected by Garteig, but sat just above the goal line. Dan Federico (Acton, Mass.) cleared the puck off the goalline but Brian Christie was able to redirect the puck to the opposite boards where Myers had skated. His second shot was again denied by Garteig but Collins was waiting on the crease to clean up the rebound.

Quinnipiac quickly shook off a scoreless first period to rattle off four goals in the first five minutes of the middle frame. Samuels-Thomas took control of the puck deep in the Bobcats zone and took off down ice. The senior wing looked off a defender with Matthew Peca (Petawawa, Ontario) crashing the net before he blasted a shot off of Warriors goalie Rasmus Tirronen that found the top right corner of the net.

Less than a minute later, it was Peca receiving a pass from Samuels-Thomas on an odd-man rush wristing a shot off the pads of Tirronen that sent the puck to the corner. Peca beat his defender, spun and found Van Brabant for the one-timer that found daylight and gave the Bobcats a 2-1 lead just 1:55 into the period. Less than a minute later, Kellen Jones picked up a loose puck in the face-off circle to the left of the Merrimack goalie and walking across the crease to deposit his 14th of the year.

Just under the five-minute mark, Kellen tipped the puck over to Federico in the Bobcats' defensive zone. Federico then lasered a pass up-ice to Connor Jones who skated into the Merrimack zone, to the face-off circle to the right of reserve netminder Sam Marotta, and fired a shot off the opposite post and in to give Quinnipiac a 4-1 lead.

Van Brabant's second goal of the night came with 13:27 left in the third period. Federico picked up his second assist of the night when he made a cross-ice pass to Travis St. Denis (Trail, British Columbia). St. Denis fired a shot on goal that Van Brabant was able to tip past Marotta to give Quinnipiac a 5-1 lead.

Sherbinin's goal came with less than three minutes to play when Clifton played the puck down to Schutt behind the Merrimack goal. Schutt ripped a pass between defenders to Sherbinin above the crease for the one-timer. 

Quinnipiac is back in action on Saturday, Jan. 18 when it travels to North Andover, Mass. to face Merrimack in the second game of its twin bill at Gallant Arena at 7 p.m.