Bobcats raid Raiders of a spot in the ECAC Finals


Photo: Alex Bayer

Kaylyn Terry

The Bobcats rode up in style with the pep band and Ice Cats in tow on Friday as they battled hard to win the ECAC final spot against the Colgate Raiders, winning 3-1.

The Bobcats and Raiders took to the 1980 Olympics rink in Lake Placid, New York, in search for a spot to play in the championship game on Saturday.  The rink was home to the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” where the United States upset the four-time reigning champion Soviet Union, and is now home to the ECAC championships.

Quinnipiac came out of the gate in an offensive grind with the Raiders, but remained scoreless through 10 minutes of play.

A quick sliding pass from Oliver Chau to Joey Cipollone sent the puck back-door to grab a quick Bobcats lead and his 10th goal of the season. The team has a power play conversion that’s 52nd in the nation, but saw a power play conversion through Cipollone’s goal. 

The one-goal lead didn’t last long, though, as Michael Lombardi netted a second goal off a breakaway shot from TJ Friedmann and tipped it in the back pocket of the net. 

It wasn’t until four minutes into the second period that Griffin Lunn finally put Colgate on the board and made it an enticing game for the fans. The senior netted his 12th goal of the season to bring the game within one. 

The win wasn’t the only thing to celebrate for the Bobcats as Ethan De Jong, after a long-awaited time, grabbed his 100th point off his assist to Wyatt Bongiovanni to net the third and final goal for the Bobcats. De Jong is the 42nd Bobcat to hit 100 points. 

“A quick shoutout to Wyatt Bongiovanni who did everything on that goal,” De Jong said. “I think the past eight games I didn’t play bad hockey, I just gripped the stick too tight, but yeah. Credit to Wyatt.”

Bongiovanni had not recorded a goal in the previous eight games, just like De Jong who had been on the watchlist for the last eight games. 

“It’s always a weight off your shoulders,” Bongiovanni said. “You just got to stick to what you do well and the goals should come.”  

With the clock winding down to just a few seconds on the board, it was clear that Quinnipiac would move on unless Colgate could create another miracle in the stadium of the 1980 Miracle. With a bunch of play stops and timeouts, the clock hit zero and the Bobcats bench erupted in cheers. 

“We’re happy to move on. I was very impressed by Colgate tonight,” head coach Rand Pecknold said. “I don’t think we were perfect today. We struggled at times. But we were good and the buy-in was good.”

The Bobcat fan section, while small due to the long travel time, had a lot of pep in their step with the pep band filling the stands and the Ice Cats dancing their hearts out on the sideline. The atmosphere and fan base really does make or break the outcomes of these games. 

“It’s awesome,” Bongiovanni said about the crowd. “It’s a little bit underrated how important it is.”

The team and fans will look to create another electric atmosphere on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. for the championship game as the Bobcats look to beat Harvard and take home the Whitelaw Cup, something they haven’t achieved since 2016.