“We’ve got to find a way to be better”: Pecknold sends message to team as postseason approaches


Photos: Liz Flynn

Jason Hirsch

In their final tune-up before the ECAC Hockey tournament, the Quinnipiac Bobcats (17-6-4, 10-4-4 ECAC Hockey) were unable to finish a perfect six-to-zero regular season sweep of the Colgate Raiders (6-10-5, 5-9-4 ECAC Hockey) losing by a final score of 4-3 on Saturday afternoon at the Frank J. Perrotti Arena.

Despite the final score, Quinnipiac was able to dominate the majority of the game from the faceoff circle, which could be a significant advantage that the Bobcats could exploit come playoff time.

The Bobcats overall found themselves at a 15-7 advantage through the first 20 minutes, and 44-20 during the entirety of the contest from the dot.

Overall, the Bobcats found themselves with a significant advantage in shot attempts (62-45), shots on goal (40-30) and faceoffs (44-20) won during the Saturday matinee.

Even on a day that seemed like a mostly solid effort throughout, coach Rand Pecknold was not very satisfied with his team’s overall performance entering the break before the playoffs.

“We just struggled in a lot of areas,” Pecknold said. “I thought our details were an issue, and it’s really been a battle all year. Obviously, we’ve had a lot of success, but we just cannot consistently buy in every game.”

Eventually, the Raiders found themselves in a momentary lapse of attention when forward Joey Cipollone steered a shot right in front of the net during an odd man rush on the powerplay. The goal was assisted by Guus van Nes and Desi Burgart.

Starting from the second period on though, the Raiders’ resilience came into play.

After some physical play along the glass, Josh McKechney found Pierson Brandon, who in-turn found Nick Anderson for a shot upstairs that beat Keith Petruzzelli glove side to tie the game at one, 1:43 into the second period.

Later, Griffin Lunn took the puck in the neutral zone and scored on a beautiful wraparound attempt during four-on-four play to give the Raiders a 2-1 lead with 6:11 remaining in the second.

Needing a spark, the Bobcats found some resilience of their own when junior forward Ethan de Jong netted his 14th goal of the season with a little flip shot while left alone in front of the net with 1:17 left in the second. The assists for de Jong’s goal came courtesy of Odeen Tufto and Zach Metsa.

The tie would be short lived though, as the Raiders regained the lead 71 seconds later, courtesy of Tyler Jeanson.

After a furious pace by both teams to begin the third period, junior defenseman TJ Friedmann poked in a loose puck after a fury of quick passes up the ice led by Joe O’Connor and Cipollone, who picked up the assists on the game-tying goal.

Once again though, the Raiders showed their resiliency, regaining the lead on a rebound shot by Josh McKechney on the power play with 2:49 left in regulation, which wound up being the game-winner.

The Bobcats now have 12 days off before they begin their challenge to win the third ECAC Hockey tournament title in school history, and the first since 2016. Coach Pecknold is hoping for a more consistent performance come tournament time, otherwise the Bobcats’ postseason might end up being very short-lived.

“We’ve got to find a way to be better,” Pecknold said. “Otherwise on the 18th, during that semi-final game, our season is going to be over pretty fast.”