That's going to be a tough one to swallow. Poor play by the 'Nooks early in the game buried them down two goals before they could get their legs under them and pull themselves up. Quinnipiac did not look like they did against Anchorage, but if the 'Nooks played their game it was very winnable.
First period was pretty sloppy from my perspective. I don't have the greatest angle on things here, but the 'Nooks couldn't create plays at all in the offensive zone. Quinnipiac took every passing lane away, forcing the puck carrier to make plays and couldn't.
The 'Nooks started getting more creative with their play, and got some chances late but as soon as momentum started to swing in the Nanooks' favor the official calls Tateson for a high sticking minor as he was checking the puck carrier, who was a clear 6" shorter than he was. Then Kunyk gets called for elbowing and now its 5 on 3 for the Bobcats and they get another power play goal. Then another call for Atkinson for interference on the final faceoff of the period as the timer expires.
If it weren't for the effort in the second period, this would be a lot less nice of a post. I'll at least be honest with you. Not like I wasn't before, that is...
Anyway Nanook boys played a tougher game in the second, bagging a power play goal as Huysmans put away his second of the year. Parayko with the initial shot on goal as the goalie couldn't cover it. Huysmans found it and poked it home to cut the lead to one, but a mental mistake on the Nanooks part as the puck was cleared near the net to the left wing side as Connor Clifton pinched in from his defensive spot to bury a slapper to put the lead back to two. But the 'Nooks certainly played more disciplined hockey that period, no question.
Third period lead out with the Nanooks setting the pace early. A couple of quick chances early had the Bobcats on their heels before Colton Beck was called for a slash. But that didn't slow the 'Nooks down, they sped up. Quinn had some strong stick work at the blue line forcing a turnover and got a stride on Matthew Peca who fell asleep at the wheel. Quinn's rush in the zone forced Peca to trip him up, which equalized it 4 on 4.
Back to 5 on 5, the 'Nooks had some chances to close the gap again as Parayko, Morley, Beck, Kunyk, and Larson all had chances around the net, but none could find their way in. And after another Brandon Morley penalty, the Bobcats poured some more salt in the wound and put home another power play goal to close the scoring 4-1. But in 6 periods of hockey played this weekend, the 'Nooks have committed 73 minutes in penalties, nearing a total of 4 periods worth in just two games. If they stay out of the box, its a different game.
Don't get me wrong, Quinnipiac beat the 'Nooks tonight. They exposed some holes in the Nanooks' transition game that I'm sure will get addressed in practice. But that was not the same team that played Anchorage last night. They were much more sound defensively and played much better around their own net.
As far as the tournament goes, if Air Force beats Anchorage by less than 8 goals, the 'Nooks win the tournament. But Anchorage has to lose, not tie the Falcons. Should be interesting.