Defenseman Mat Bodie’s return to the Union lineup Friday night against Quinnipiac should have inspired the eighth-ranked Dutchmen after last weekend’s less-than-inspiring two-game sweep of Penn State. The team captain had missed five games because of a broken left wrist.
Instead, the Dutchmen’s lethargic play continued, and the 16th-ranked Bobcats took full advantage.
Jeremy Langlois had two goals and an assist, and the Bobcats shut down the Dutchmen attack in a dominating 4-0 ECAC Hockey victory at Messa Rink.
“It just felt getting Mat back would give us a little life after having three games of coming out a little flat,” Union coach Rick Bennett said after his team lost its second straight ECACH game. “You get your captain back and try to get that swagger back. Well, guess what? It did not work tonight.
It was the fourth straight uninspiring game for Union (3-2 ECACH, 8-3-1 overall), which was outshot, 33-20. The Dutchmen didn’t test goalie Eric Hartzell much after the first period, getting only eight shots on goal over the final 40 minutes.
After Langlois and Travis St. Denis scored late second-period goals, the Bobcats (5-0, 9-3-2) had fun in skating the Dutchmen out of the building.
“I loved the energy [of Quinnipiac],” Bennett said. “It was like a Stanley Cup [celebration] again with everything they did. My God, they made a good pass, and they went off the deep end.
“Basically, it was an old-time spanking. That’s what it was. My hat’s off to them. They played great. That’s a top-notch team.”
Bodie, who broke his wrist on the first shift of the game Nov. 2 against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, was expected to be out six to eight weeks.
Bodie’s return wasn’t the only lineup change for the Dutchmen. Bennett dressed seven defensemen, one more than normal, and 11 forwards, one less than usual.
But it didn’t do anything to wake up the sleeping Dutchmen.
“We were immature out there,” Bodie said. “We weren’t getting pucks deep. We weren’t getting pucks out. If I was to use one word to sum how we played, it was immature.”
The two-time defending ECACH regular-season champions haven’t looked this bad at Messa since a 4-0 loss to Yale last Nov. 12. Even though the Dutchmen outshot the Bulldogs, 45-26, in that game, Yale scored its goals in the first 22:43 of that rout.
The Bobcats’ blowout was much worse. Quinnipiac had the first eight shots of the game, and Union didn’t get its first shot until there was 9:44 left in the first period. The Dutchmen ended up outshooting the Bobcats, 12-11, but the period went scoreless.
“I thought that gave us some life in the first,” Bennett said. “I thought we fed off of that.”
But Bennett believed Daniel Ciampini’s cross-checking penalty early in the second period changed the course of the game. Although Union killed off the penalty, that power play seemed to turn the game around. Quinnipiac dominated after that.
“I thought it changed the momentum of the game,” Bennett said. “It’s one of those areas that we really focused on with keeping our sticks down because when you bring it up and cross-check people, the refs are going to call them.”
Langlois broke the scoreless tie with 4:39 left in the second period. Defenseman Loren Barron stepped around Dutchmen center David Roy, who was flatfooted, coming off the left-wing boards. Barron centered the puck to Langlois in the slot, and the latter’s shot got past goalie Troy Grosenick’s right skate.
Just over two minutes later, St. Denis put in the rebound of a Langlois shot to make it 2-0.
Langlois tipped in a Mike Dalhuisen shot at 9:22 of the third period, and Arnt closed out the scoring with 5:59 left.
The Bobcats enjoyed the win.
“I wouldn’t call it sending a message,” Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said. “We want to get points in every game we play.”
Since the lineup changes didn’t have the desired effect, Bennett will have to do something different for today’s 4 p.m. game against Princeton.
“I can do a lot of things, and I will,” Bennett said. “You guys will have to just stay tuned.”
Quinnipiac 0 2 2 — 4
Union 0 0 0 — 0
First Period — None. Penalties — K. Bodie, Uni (interference), 7:10; Tolkinen, Qui (tripping), 9:39; Novak, Uni (boarding), 19:39.
Second Period — 1, Quinnipiac, Langlois 7 (L. Barron, Goodman), 15:21. 2, Quinnipiac, St. Denis 3 (Langlois, Davies), 17:25. Penalties — Ciampini, Uni (cross-checking), 3:20; K. Jones, Qui (holding), 16:25; M. Bodie, Uni (embellishment), 16:25.
Third Period — 3, Quinnipiac, Langlois 8 (Dalhuisen, Goodman), 9:22. 4, Quinnipiac, Arnt 2 (Goodman, Harvey), 14:01. Penalties — Barron, Qui (tripping), 4:26; Carr, Uni (hitting from behind), 11:07; Carr, Uni (elbowing), 17:01; St. Denis, Qui, major-game disqualification (facemasking), 18:40.
Shots on Goal — Quinnipiac 11-15-7 — 33. Union 12-5-3 — 20.
Power-play opportunities — Quinnipiac 0 of 5; Union 0 of 3.
Goalies — Quinnipiac, Hartzell 9-2-2 (20 shots-20 saves). Union, Grosenick 5-2-1 (33-29).
A — 1,607. T — 2:05.
Referees — Brad LeBlanc, Bryan Hicks. Linesmen — Jim Briggs, Andrew Suhovic.