Petruzzelli, Smilanic stay hot as Quinnipiac wins fourth straight


Photo: Liz Flynn

Jack Main

The No. 11 Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team shut out the Colgate Raiders 3-0 on Sunday afternoon. The win is Quinnipiac’s eighth in 11 games and its third straight shutout.

The team as a whole has been on a hot streak, but perhaps none are hotter than first-year forward Ty Smilanic, who tallied his team and ECAC leading ninth and tenth goals during the victory.

Despite his individual prowess, Smilanic credits his teammates with his success.

“I’ve been lucky to be blessed with some good teammates,” Smilanic said. “They’re finding me, and I’ve been able to put it in the back of the net. It’s just fun playing hockey and winning games.”

Head coach Rand Pecknold said Smilanic has grown since his first couple games and has been learning “how to play 60 minutes every game.”

“I’ve been really happy with him,” Pecknold said. “He’s a great kid, he wants to learn, and he wants to get better.”

Smilanic’s first goal opened up the scoring, less than five minutes into the game. He tallied his second on a textbook offensive sequence in the second period.

Smilanic became the third player in the country to reach 10 goals this year, and his captain Odeen Tufto, extended his point streak to a nation-leading 12 games, assisting Smilanic on both goals.

Defensively, Keith Petruzzelli tallied 17 saves, extending his shutout streak to three games.  Once again, the team was heralded with the credit following the victory.

“Obviously Keith is playing well… Zach Metsa has been excellent all season and we’re really happy with his progression and development,” Pecknold said. “The forwards were doing a nice job on their reloads, getting back and creating backpressure. Certainly we weren’t perfect tonight, but we were pretty good.”

“The boys have been great,” Petruzzelli said. “Blocking shots and selling out [taking away the backdoor] and making my job easy. It’s been feeling really good.”

In terms of game minutes, Petruzzelli currently has the second-longest shutout streak in program history.

Anthony Romano of Clarkson was the last player to get one past Keith, in the opening minutes of the third period in game two of a three-game set last weekend. Since then, it has been over 198 minutes of shutout hockey for the Bobcat netminder.

“I try not to think about it too much…take it one shift at a time,” Petruzzelli said. “I focus on the little things, keep my head down, work hard and make things happen.”

Nick Bochen added his third power play goal of the season to cap off the Bobcats’ 10th win of the season.

Quinnipiac will travel up to Potsdam, NY to face No. 13 Clarkson for a second three-game set against the Golden Knights. The Bobcats haven’t won at Cheel Arena since February 1, 2019.