Quinnipiac’s Brian Herbert notched a hat trick, offsetting a pair of Fairfield goals by Ryan Tormey as the Bobcats overcame the Stags 5-3 Friday at the inaugural MAAC Challenge at the Arena at Harbor Yard.
Once again, Fairfield was in a position to win heading into the third stanza, trailing 4-3. The Stags pressured throughout the period and outshot the Bobcats 9-5 in the final frame. With 27 seconds left and the faceoff in the offensive zone Fairfield pulled its goalie, but the Bobcats were able to clear and Brian Herbert found the empty net for his third of the night to make it 5-3.
The Bobcats jumped out to an early 2-0 lead as Wade Winkler scored a back-door power-play goal at 11:09 then less than two minutes later Bill Cass’ shot found the back of the net off a deflection. At 17:07 Tormey netted his first of the night on a power play with assists to Eamon Delgiacco and Rae Metz.
But Herbert stole the momentum with just :50 seconds left with another back-door goal off assists by Aaron Ludwig and Ryan Morton.
Fairfield won the second period 2-1. Sophomore Joseph Maglaque netted his first collegiate goal to bring the Stags within one. Lyon Porter made a breakout pass to Hunter Greeley, who found MaGlaque streaking down the weak side. MaGlaque ripped a high shot, which the goaltender saved but allowed the rebound to trickle behind him.
The Bobcats again answered, however, as Herbert netted his second of the night, shorthanded, off a two-on-one set up by a blocked shot by Michael Bordieri.
At 18:37 Tormey scored his second of the night to make it 4-3. Casey Laflamme forced a turnover at the Stags blue line, then sent Tormey, who had slipped behind the defense in alone on a two-on-none with Dan Cotter. Tormey’s initial shot was saved, but picking up his own rebound, he took the puck behind the net, faked to one side, then wrapped to the opposite, beating the diving goaltender inside the post.
Junior Craig Schnappinger made 20 stops in goal for the Stags and suffers the loss, while Justin Eddy made 29 stops for the Bobcats and earns the win. As a team, Fairfield outshot the Bobcats 32-24, but finished only one of five-power play chances, compared to the Bobcats, who buried one of two opportunities.
Part I of the inaugural MAAC Hockey League Challenge was a resounding success, drawing an impressive 2,072 local fans. Sacred Heart defeated UConn in the first game of the night by the score of 6-3.
Part II of the Challenge will take place on Thursday March, 6. Iona and Quinnipiac will play the opener at 5 p.m., while Fairfield and Sacred Heart will play game two beginning at 8 p.m..