Quinnipiac’s season comes to an end with OT loss to Minnesota State


Photo: Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn

The final buzzer has sounded on the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey season after the Bobcats fell to Minnesota State, 4-3 in the NCAA Regional Semifinal.

After the Bobcats’ overtime loss to the St. Lawrence Saints in the ECAC Hockey Championship, history repeated itself tonight when the Mavericks scored the game-winner halfway through the overtime period.

“These last two games have been tough,” captain Odeen Tufto said. “It’s a team game, we all have to come to play and credit to Mankato, they didn’t quit.”

Keith Petruzzelli had an impressive performance in net with 34 saves, while Tufto, Peter DiLiberatore and C.J. McGee each tallied a goal in the loss.

Quinnipiac got off to a hot start just three minutes into the game, as Tufto picked up a pass from Ilvari Rasanen and made a nice play in front of the net to slide it past Minnesota State goaltender Dryden McKay.

The Bobcats struck again 12 minutes later when DiLiberatore tapped the puck in off a fantastic pass from Guus van Ness.

While Quinnipiac dominated the first period, it was all Minnesota State in the second.

Jake Jaremko got the Mavericks on the board late in the period, and they held the Bobcats to just seven shots.

One of the Bobcats’ best moments happened in the third period when sophomore C.J. McGee scored his first collegiate goal off a wrister from the circle.

The Mavericks would tie the game with a minute left in regulation and it would take overtime to decide who moves on to the Regional Final.

Just over 11 minutes into overtime, a scrum in front of the net led to bodies in the crease and Ryan Sandelin found an open spot to push the puck past Petruzzelli and give the Mavericks the win.

“We’re a little bit all over the map at times,” head coach Rand Pecknold said after the game. “You can’t do that when you’re playing a top-five team nationally.”

Pecknold, though disappointed with the outcome, took a moment to thank the seniors for their dedication to the program over their four years, starting with his top 10 Hobey Baker candidates.

“[Tufto] has really rounded out his game and become a better athlete and a better skater,” Pecknold said. “Keith didn’t have quite the freshman year that Odeen had, but he’s had a great four-year progression.”

Josh Mayanja and Joe O’Connor also saw their careers come to an end today.

“[O’Connor] bleeds Quinnipiac and it’s been nice to watch him mature as a player,” Pecknold said. “Josh is one of the best kids we’ve ever had… he obviously didn’t play a lot as a third-string goalie, but just a rockstar of a kid.”

Although they were unable to win the big game, the Bobcats completed their 2020-2021 season through all the uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Next season is a fresh start, and Pecknold’s squad will begin the climb to the Frozen Four once again.