HAMDEN, Conn. - Behind a gutsy performance from sophomore goalie Eric Hartzell (White Bear Lake, Minn.), in which the second-year netminder stopped a career-high 53 shots on goal, and a pair of goals from captain Scott Zurevinski (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan), the Quinnipiac University men's ice hockey team upset nationally-ranked No. 8/9 Nebraska Omaha, 4-3, at the TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden, Conn. With the win, Quinnipiac improves to 9-9-1 overall while the Mavericks drop to 12-7-1 on the season.
Loren Barron (Glendora, Calif.) had a goal and three assists in the game, while Jeremy Langlois (Tempe, Ariz.) also scored and assisted on another goal for the Bobcats. Kellen Jones (Montrose, British Columbia) had a pair of assists, including a helper on Zurevinski's game-winner. Russell Goodman (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) also had an assist in the win. With the win, Quinnipiac ran its unbeaten streak (52-0-5) when leading after the second period to 57 games.
"I thought Hartzell was great tonight," Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. "We were very opportunistic, and I thought we were very resilient. That's a very good team over there, and their coach has had a great amount of success. We need to turn around quickly and come back to play tomorrow."
Hartzell was the story of the night, stopping the first 40 shots he saw from the Nebraska Omaha offense before letting up a goal. Hartzell entered the game with a previous career-best of 35 saves, but had already stopped that many through the first two periods. After giving up goals on three of the next six shots by Nebraska Omaha, Hartzell slammed the door on the Mavericks' rush, stopping the final eight shots on goal to hold on for the win.
"I've been working on my rebound control all week and practice, and working hard," Hartzell said. "In the end, it was a great team effort out there tonight. We did a great job of keeping them to the wings and not out in front of me, which helped me in my puck control overall."
Zurevinski put the Bobcats on the board just under nine minutes into the game on a goal that was originally credited to Barron. Barron blasted a shot on goal through traffic from the point. The puck tipped off of Zurevinski's stick and then off of a Mavericks' defender before careening past UNO's John Faulkner in goal. Langlois then netted his sixth goal of the season on assists from Jones and Barron. Barron gave Quinnipiac a 3-0 lead at the 16:07 mark of the second on a blast from the point when Langlois won the face-off and sent the puck to Goodman. Goodman found Barron for the one-timer to give Quinnipiac a three-goal lead.
With the shots mounting against them, Quinnipiac gave up the lead as the nationally-ranked Mavericks stormed back to score three unanswered goals and tie the game with 11:42 to play. Overall, Nebraska Omaha out-shot Quinnipiac, 56-27. Bryce Aneloski scored on assists from Matt Ambroz and Joe Martin on the power play before Ambroz scored his 10th of the second on a pass from Michael Young. Brent Gwidt scored on a break-away on a play that was started by Alex Hudson.
In the end, it was Barron once-again starting the play as he took control of the puck in the neutral zone and pushed it up-ice to Jones who worked it back and forth with Zurevinski. Zurevinski put a shot on goal from just above the face-off circle and then skated in and poked it past Faulkner for the game-winner on the power play.
The Bobcats and Nebraska Omaha will play the second game of their series on Friday, Dec. 31 at 12 p.m. at the TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden, Conn.