Friedmann, Defense Dominate LIU as Bobcats Defeat Sharks 5-0


Michael LaRocca

Behind the efforts of an outstanding overall performance, the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team (14-1-3, 5-0-1 ECAC) knocked off the LIU Sharks (4-10-3, Independent) for the second straight evening, 5-0, sweeping the home and away series between the two squads. This win extends the Bobcats’ unbeaten streak to 13 games while sending the Sharks home with their third straight loss. 

The Bobcats came out to a roaring start. Goals from senior forwards TJ Friedmann and Ethan de Jong gave Quinnipiac a 2-0 advantage in the first 3:21 of game time. 

The goal from de Jong showed off his mastery with the puck, being able to wrap around the back side of the net and shoot across the face of LIU junior goaltender Brandon Perrone for the score.

The early onslaught proceeded to slow down as the first period progressed, allowing the Quinnipiac NCAA-best scoring defense (1.11 GAA) to apply their pressure on the LIU lineup. The Sharks’ offense was stifled by the Bobcats throughout the first period, only being able to muster five total shots and two being put on net. 

After what felt like an eternity between scores for the Bobcats, a shot from graduate student defenseman Brendan Less at 11:30 was tipped through to the back of the net by senior forward Michael Lombardi, giving Quinnipiac a 3-0 lead barely halfway through the first period. 

The Lombardi goal lit a fire under the Sharks defense for the rest of the period. LIU went on to block seven Quinnipiac shots, including three from LIU senior defenseman Carter Ekberg, but its offense did not return the favor, being outshot by Quinnipiac 13-2 in the first. 

The Quinnipiac offense went through a resurgence at the start of the second period with a goal from graduate student defenseman Griffin Mendel and another from Friedmann extending the Bobcat lead to 5-0 only 3:02 into the period. 

After Friedmann’s second goal, the Sharks decided to pull Perrone from the game in favor of senior goaltender Vincent Purpura, who allowed four goals against the Bobcats on Friday. 

The second period was the timeframe where Quinnipiac graduate student goaltender Dylan St. Cyr saw most of his action in front of the net. St. Cyr saved all nine shots he faced over the course of the evening, including four in the second period, with his defense keeping him mostly clean throughout. 

“Our team defense has been fantastic all season long no matter who’s been in net,”  associate head coach Mike Corbett said. “You can be selfish and say we want to be able to get him some work, he had nine shots tonight. Not a ton of work, but quality versus quantity I guess … All we know is we have two very strong goalies going into the second half of the season.”

The rest of the period would be quiet with both teams playing solid defense up until the intermission. 

The third period was an excellent showcase of Quinnipiac’s now NCAA-best penalty kill percentage (.929). However, it came at the expense of allowing LIU to go on seven power-play opportunities in the third period alone. 

Two of the penalties would come from misconducts handed to the Bobcats after heated interactions with the Sharks throughout the contest finally came to a boil at the 18:58 mark of the period. 

“We know that we’re going to get that some games here and there,” Friedmann said. “We’re just trying to play our game and stay out of it. A lot of teams think that they’re gonna draw us into taking penalties. We’re just sticking to our game plan, staying out of the scrums and just focusing on us.” 

The game would end with a whimper, with no goals being scored over the final 36:58 of regulation after the Sharks substituted Perrone for Purpura. The Quinnipiac defense would assist in the preservation of St. Cyr’s second shutout as the game would end in a 5-0 Bobcat victory.

After Friday’s 4-1 win in East Meadow, the Bobcats were determined to make the most of their extra 60 minutes against the Sharks. 

“We jumped on them early after yesterday’s game,” Corbett said. “We were able to get that lead early. That was really the turning point of the game and we were kind of able to ride it through.”

As the newly minted No. 2 team in the country, Quinnipiac has seen the impacts that prestige can have on a matchup.

“I think it’s important to realize that every team gets excited to play us,” redshirt junior forward Guus Van Nes said. “Being the No. 2 team in the country, that’s a huge opportunity for the teams that play us, so we have to raise our standards and bring it every game.”

The sweep of the weekend series was crucial for the Bobcats as outside distractions were a factor for the team off the ice. 

“We’re trying to keep them focused,” Corbett said. “They’ve got one eye on exams and one eye on Christmas break, so these were two very tricky games to come in because LIU comes in and they play free, they play hard. The bottom line is we had to keep them focused for 60 minutes going into exams and I think our guys did a great job.”

Quinnipiac will look to maintain this momentum throughout their winter break as they await a two game series against the Princeton Tigers, starting at home on Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022. LIU will attempt to rebound from this series after a break of their own with an away series in Columbus, Ohio against the Ohio State Buckeyes, starting on Friday, Dec. 31.