Another Late Collapse Sees Men’s Hockey Suffer Early ECAC Tournament Exit

Joe Bertolami

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Photo: Liz Flynn

There are some events we see in sports that are just very difficult to explain. The ECAC Hockey quarterfinal series between Quinnipiac and Brown fits into that category. The No.1 seeded Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team saw its hopes at a Whitelaw Cup tarnish at the hands of the No. 8 seeded Brown Bears, losing by a score of 4-3.


“I thought Brown was great,” head coach Rand Pecknold said. “Those kids were hungry and battled, and that can take you a long way.”


While the end result was certainly not what the Bobcats expected going into this contest, the way they started did show some promise. Quinnipiac’s hopes of keeping its season alive did not seem too far-fetched, as junior forward Alex Whelan got the team on the board less than two minutes into the game, finishing off a great feed from junior defenseman Karlis Cukste. Whelan kept the hot hand later in the first period, banging home a rebound off a William Fallstrom shot to get the Bobcats out to a comfortable 2-0 lead.


After the second period saw neither team tickle the twine, the game turned interesting in the final twenty minutes. While Quinnipiac came out flying to start the game, the third period saw a determined Brown team that was not going to take no for an answer. Their comeback was sparked by a goal from defenseman Max Gottlieb, followed by another from captain Tommy Marchin, knotting the game up at two.


Brown was not done there, as junior Forward Brent Beaudoin, who scored the goal to send last night’s game to overtime, came through once again, scored on a breakaway to give the Bears a 3-2 lead. Marchin added insurance with another tally, wristing one from the slot past Shortridge. Senior forward Craig Martin was able to get it within one, but it was too little too late. Brown held on, punching its ticket to Lake Placid.


For a team that has displayed a hard-working and driven identity all season long, letting these two games get away was uncharacteristic of the Bobcats.


“The buy in has been excellent all year,” Pecknold said. “There was just no buy in either night this weekend, and it’s a very odd situation.”


This does end Quinnipiac’s ECAC Hockey run pretty sourly, but it does not indicate the season’s complete conclusion. According to Pecknold, he is “almost positive” that they are in the NCAA tournament.


“We need to reload and get our passion back,”  Pecknold said. “We had a lot of guys cheating tonight and not doing the little things.”


The future of this team is still unknown, but they will have a much better idea regarding where they stand as conference tournaments across college hockey progress. One would think the Bobcats have put themselves in a position to receive an at-large bid, which is given to those who did not win their conference tournament but still possess a strong enough resume to qualify for the national tournament. Even with this possibility, Quinnipiac will certainly need to learn from this weekend to ensure losing in this fashion does not happen again.