PRINCETON, N.J. – It took Quinnipiac 6:31 minutes to rack up four goals on Princeton on Tuesday night.
While the Tigers managed to slow down Quinnipiac’s offense later in the game, the Bobcats added a couple more before the end of the second period for a 6-0 win at Baker Rink.
“That game was a product of Quinnipiac being a better hockey team,” Princeton coach Ron Fogarty said. “I can’t say any more than that.”
Quinnipiac entered the match as one of the top teams in the country, undefeated until recently. Behind the New Jersey native Clifton brothers, Travis St. Denis and Sam Anas, Quinnipiac played like a No. 1 team.
“Quinnipiac is a good team,” Fogarty said. “As coaches, we speak to the media [and] a lot of times you say what went wrong with your team and that was a poor performance and you give all the clichés when in fact you have to look at the other team and say that’s a pretty damn good hockey team.
“And that’s what the difference was. Anas, St. Denis, the goaltender, that’s the difference. We don’t have that, but they do. That’s why they’re No. 1 in the country and that’s why we got beat 6-0.”
Connor Clifton struck first, scoring just 1:34 minutes into the game. K.J. Tiefenwerth added a goal less than four minutes later, followed by Derek Smith. Tim Clifton scored at the 8:05 mark and St. Denis scored the last goal of the first period. The Bobcats also converted on two of their three power-play chances in the first.
“They were a better hockey team,” Fogarty said. “When you’re playing the top team in the nation you better be hitting on all cylinders. And [they] did a great job of jumping on every loose puck and our inability to make contact as the first guy up ice was the difference in many odd-man rushes and many scoring opportunities they had.
“We have to do a better job of making sure we don’t lose our man up the ice without contact of their players.”
Princeton struggled to establish possession in the first, attempting just a few shots and several Grade-A chances. But the Bobcats countered with six Grade-A chances in the frame, two of which resulted in goals.
“We [were] caught between of trying to go and then you’re caught between going back,” Fogarty said. “You [have] to fully commit or you play a trap, and we don’t play a trap. You [have] to fully commit to the systems in hand.”
While Princeton played slightly better as the game went on and generated some chances, the Tigers were unable to slip one past Michael Garteig. The goaltender, who finished with 21 saves, was replaced in the third with senior backup Jacob Meyers. Princeton’s Colton Phinney finished with 37 saves in the loss.
The Tigers were outshot 43-24 on the night, with most of their quality attempts coming in the second and third. By that time, the Bobcats were already winning by five goals and had eased off the pressure.
“When it’s 6-0, they’re going to lay off the gas so the game’s going to look a little more even,” Fogarty said.
The Tigers traveled to Quinnipiac to face the Bobcats in the second half of the home-and-home between the two teams.
“[We] have to slow them down,” Fogarty said. “[We] have to have the first guy up ice, make sure he has contact and slow them down. It’s the only way we’ll be able to win.”