HAMDEN, Conn. — Tylor Spink scored two goals, including the game-winning goal, as No. 19 Colgate defeated No. 5 Quinnipiac 3-1 Saturday night at the High Point Solutions Arena.
Spink’s game-winning goal came midway through the third period when received a pass in the slot from Kyle Baun and baited Quinnipiac goaltender Michael Garteig to commit forward before tucking the puck inside the right post to take a 2-1 lead.
“[Spink’s] just got so much poise with the puck and for a small guy he protects it so well, he creates time and space,” Colgate coach Don Vaughan said. “That’s not an easy thing to do for a smaller guy. I mean, he’s strong over the puck, but he was in the zone tonight. I thought he played a really solid game.”
Colgate (16-11-5, 12-5-3 ECAC) initially took a 1-0 lead 9:14 into the second period when Spink collected the puck behind the Quinnipiac net and skated along the left boards into the left faceoff circle where he wristed the puck past Garteig.
Connor Jones tied the game up just a minute and a half later on the power play when Devon Toews fired a pass across the ice through the slot to Matt Peca in the right faceoff circle where he blasted a one-timer on net and Jones was in position to tip it past Colgate goaltender Charlie Finn’s glove.
Despite the quick response, it was the only goal the Quinnipiac (21-8-5, 11-6-3 ECAC) offense scored as the Bobcats’ losing streak extended to three games.
“Certainly a disappointing loss – we’re just a mess right now with injuries and we got multiple guys hurt in that game then [Connor] Clifton got a game misconduct and thrown out of the game,” Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said. “It just caused all kinds of chaos. It didn’t go the way we wanted.”
Clifton’s game misconduct came with 8:34 remaining in the second period, but the Bobcats were able to kill of the five-minute major. Quinnipiac had a two-on-one opportunity during that penalty kill that Pecknold said could have changed the game.
“I think if we could have popped that goal in and go up 2-1 we would have been fine, [but] we just couldn’t find a way to score,” Pecknold said. “We had two goals waved off tonight, a little bit of hockey is puck luck – sometimes you get bounces and sometimes you don’t.”
Finn finished with 31 saves for the Raiders to pick up the road victory against the Bobcats.
“I think [Finn] wanted to prove something this weekend,” Vaughan said. “He’s a competitor, he’s got a great calming affect on our team as well. He doesn’t seem to get too rattled back there, which is great for our team.”
With just the one goal Finn allowed, it marked the second straight game in which Quinnipiac scored just one goal.
“It just happens, you know, that’s the game of hockey,” Pecknold said. “Facing good goalies, Finn was the best player on the ice – two nights in a row the other goalie’s the best player on the ice. Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don’t. We had great looks, we’ll score goals.”
Colgate also blocked 19 shots in the victory compared to just 11 blocked shots for Quinnipiac.
“The one thing we’re doing really well is closing really quickly in our own end,” said Vaughan. “We’re a pretty good skating group on the back end and they’ve been doing a great job of taking time and space away. We’ve got great support – it’s a five man process. We’re getting good support from our low forward, keeping it simple and making the sure, four-foot pass and getting out clean. That’s the message, you don’t want to be in your end. Out of zone, out of trouble, as we like to say.”
Garteig finished 21 saves in net for the Bobcats as they played shorthanded on the bench for the second and third periods of the game.
“I thought our guys battled hard [and] we had to move two forwards back to play defense and I did like our grit and our battle level,” Pecknold said. “We killed off those penalties, but we’re just struggling to score goals right now.”