HAMDEN, CONN. -- A win is a win and a sweep is a sweep especially when a team is struggling. That was exactly the case for Quinnipiac on Sunday afternoon as the Bobcats came from behind to defeat Northeastern, 4-3, and sweep the weekend series over the Huskies at Highpoint Solutions Arena.
"We're ecstatic with the win today and the sweep on the weekend," said Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold. "It wasn't our best hockey, but down 2-0, we battled back."
Soren Jonzzon's goal 4:59 into the third period held up as the game-winning goal for the Bobcats. After picking up a pass from Alex Barrron, Jonzzon's initial shot was stopped, but the puck got stuck in Northeastern goaltender Derick Roy's skates. Jonzzon crashed the net and poked it past Roy and into the back of the net.
The game certainly didn't start out well for Quinnipiac. Northeastern jumped out to a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes on two scores by Mike Szmatula in a period that was full of sloppy turnovers and ill-advised penalties.
His first goal came at the 7:45 mark when linemate Mike McMurtry picked off an errant Quinnipiac pass in the neutral zone and led him into the zone. Szmatula's initial shot was blocked by a defenseman, but he picked the puck back up and lifted it into a virtually empty net.
Szmatula and Northeastern struck just over four minutes later on a four-on-three man advantage for a 2-0 lead. With a lot of open space and Quinnipiac scrambling to maintain coverage the Huskies were relatively free to roam. Garrett Cockerill's shot was kicked aside by Bobcat goaltender Michael Garteig, but the puck landed right on Szmatula's stick for an easy put away.
It only took 23 seconds into the second period for Quinnipiac to capitalize on a sloppy neutral zone turnover by Northeastern. Sam Anas forced the turnover and gave a lead pass to Matthew Peca streaking down the left side. Peca waited to draw Northeastern goaltender Derick Roy over and gave a cross slot pass to Landon Smith for an easy goal.
The Bobcats tied the score at the 10:29 mark while on the man advantage. Some nice puck movement from high to low saw Tanner MacMaster feed Landon Smith who whipped it out to Sam Anas in the slot. Anas' shot was saved by Roy, but the rebound sat perilously in the crease for an easy tap in by Smith for his second of the night.
The Huskies answered back just 31 seconds later to regain the lead, 3-2. NU had numbers going the other way after Connor Clifton pinched in and caught out of position. Ryan Rosenthal and Dalen Hedges were the beneficiaries of the odd man rush. The initial shot was saved, but with Garteig and QU back checkers falling all over the ice Rosenthal swooped in for the easy rebound goal.
Andrew Taverner was the lucky recipient of a high bounce off a blocked shot from the point. The puck sailed in the air and dropped in the middle of a scrum in the crease area which allowed Taverner to slide the bouncing puck the rest of the way into the net for his third goal of the season.
The 0-6 start is the worst start in program history for Northeastern. It's a disappointing start for the Huskies, but Jim Madigan believes the team is starting to come together and some injured players will get healthy soon.
"Clay [Witt] is upper-body," said Madigan on his star goaltender's injury status. "He's day-to-day, week-to-week," added Madigan, who also said Torin Snydeman and Dylan Sikura were day-to-day. The fourth year head coach said defenseman Colton Saucerman is the closest to returning to the lineup.
Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.