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  • Writer's pictureJake Ziegler

QU Men's Hockey Opens 18-19' Season with Exhibition Win over UPEI, 5-2

Quinnipiac men's hockey embarked on its 2018-2019 season with a 5-2 victory at home against the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) Panthers on Saturday, Oct. 6.

The Bobcats ranked 9th in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) standings last season, ending with a 9-11-2 record in league play, and 16-18-3 after playing two rounds of postseason competition.

There are several unfamiliar faces, though, as 12 of the 28-man roster are freshmen. Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold talked about the high hopes of coaching with a young team.

"We got a little way to go. We're young and we have to gel these kids in," said Pecknold. "It was great to see our freshmen rotate in the lineup tonight.”

Head Coach Rand Pecknold
Credit: Quinnipiac Athletics

UPEI sophomore center Filip Rydstrom got the scoring started about eight minutes into the first period for an early 1-0 Panther lead. However, the Bobcats responded about six and a half minutes later as junior forward Nick Jermain snapped a wrist shot to knot the score at one.

Quinnipiac started the second period with a sense of urgency as senior defenseman Brandon Fortunato gave the Bobcats their first lead of the game 59 seconds in. Bobcat junior forward Alex Whelan extended the home team's lead with a sniper of a snapshot, giving Quinnipiac a 3-1 edge at the second period’s conclusion.

Quinnipiac would strike quickly again, just 1:26 into the third period when senior forward Craig Martin notched a power play goal to extend the Bobcats' lead to 4-1. The Panthers rapidly replied about two minutes later with a goal by senior right winger Chad Labelle to make it a two-goal deficit. Nevertheless, Quinnipiac would cap off the scoring on the night with a fifth goal generated by an odd-man rush from the stick of senior forward Scott Davidson.

Davidson is pleased with the victory, and how the team's upperclassmen are treating all 12 freshmen.

"It feels good; it's great for our confidence going forward," Davidson said. "All the upperclassmen have been taking care of things and showing freshmen the ropes."

Senior forward Scott Davidson
Credit: Quinnipiac Athletics

On the other hand, Davidson acknowledges that a successful road ahead will require some adjustments.

"We've done a good job, but we still have some stuff to clean up before next weekend."

One of those things to clean up pertains to special teams play, according to Pecknold.

"I think our power play was lights-out in practice, so transitioning that into game situations could use some improvement," Pecknold said.

Freshman forward Desi Burghart reflected on what he hopes to bring to this squad moving forward.

"I want to contribute to this team in any way I can, and today that was on the penalty kill and making defensive plays," Burghart said. "I just want to be that guy you can always trust on the ice."

Freshman forward Desi Burghart
Credit: Quinnipiac Athletics

The Panthers begin their regular season against Moncton on Oct. 10, while the Bobcats officially start their campaign on Oct. 13 on the road against the University of Vermont Catamounts. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.

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