Quinnipiac Men’s Hockey Uses Bevy of “Firsts” to Defeat Former Assistant


Photos: QBSN

Matt Szczypiorski

HAMDEN, Conn. – The Quinnipiac Bobcats defeated the Holy Cross Crusaders by a final score of 5-2 on Tuesday night. The victory improved fifth-ranked Quinnipiac’s record to 4-1-1, while the loss dropped the Crusaders record to 1-5-1.

Both teams faced eerily similar play styles, as former Bobcats assistant coach Bill Riga is in his first year coaching Holy Cross. Quinnipiac’s head coach, Rand Pecknold, acknowledged how odd it was to be on opposite ends of the ice for the first time in 13 years. 

“It was different, looking across, seeing him on the bench over there,” said Pecknold. “I also found it was interesting, I thought he did mostly what we do here at Quinnipiac, but there were a couple of things that he did a little bit different.”

Junior defenseman Jayden Lee, who played under Riga in his first two seasons as a Bobcat, echoed his head coach’s observations about his former assistant.

“It almost felt like we were playing against ourselves,” said Lee. “It was something that we were very familiar with, and we know how to exploit and break down, because it’s how we play. It felt a little weird at first, but once the game settled, it was almost like playing in practice.”

That comfort level was evident for the Bobcats, as they dominated the Crusaders in offensive possession and had exactly double the number of shots on goal as Holy Cross, 42-21. 

Quinnipiac got on the board first late in the opening period when junior forward Ethan Leyh had a small breakaway on the left side and scored his first goal of the year. Truth be told, Holy Cross goalie Thomas Gale looked like he stopped the shot in its tracks. However, the puck, seemingly with a mind of its own, eked through the five hole and over the goal line.

The second period began with a flurry of sensational saves from Bobcat graduate transfer goalie Dylan St. Cyr. After that, Quinnipiac began an offensive onslaught.

With 10:25 remaining in the second period, senior forward Ethan De Jong was able to score his first goal of the season on one knee to the left side of the net to extend the Bobcats lead. 

After a Holy Cross goal from Grayson Constable to cut the Crusader deficit to just one, the Bobcats quickly responded with a goal of their own. Quinnipiac captain Wyatt Bongiovanni took advantage of a power play and added his third goal of the year for the Bobcats third goal of the game, getting that two-goal lead right back.

Then, just over a minute later, another first unfolded. First year forward Jacob Quillan netted his first career collegiate goal to extend the Bobcats lead to 4-1. This goal marked the third Quinnipiac score in just 7:02 of game time. Quillan recalled every detail about his first goal as a Bobcat.

“They chipped the puck out, Jayden Lee made a nice quick pass up to (Christophe) Tellier, and then he made a nice middle to (TJ) Friedmann,” said Quillen. “Then he made a nice shot fake and slid it to me and I had a pretty wide-open net.”

The two teams would trade third period goals early in the period, and the score would hold at 5-2 until the final buzzer. 

Quinnipiac is back in action on Friday night for a home-and-home series with American International College. They will return home on Saturday afternoon. Meanwhile, Holy Cross will travel west to take on Notre Dame for two games.