No. 2 Quinnipiac downs RPI as Bobcats’ unbeaten streak reaches a dozen

Eric Zank

All signs point to yes as the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team put up an eight-spot against the Rensselaer Engineers at M&T Bank Arena, while only surrendering three; marking their third straight victory and 12th consecutive game without a loss. 

With the Bobcats being favored mightily in Friday evening’s tilt, Quinnipiac lived up to the hype in a massive way. Sam Lipkin got the scoring started early against RPI, with a goal just 4:28 into the opening period. Teammates Victor Czerneckianair and Desi Burgart followed suit with tallies of their own at 8:56 and 11:30, respectively. 

At the conclusion of the first period the Bobcats had put a stranglehold on RPI, leading 3-0 and doubling the Engineers’ shot total. 

As the puck dropped on period No. 2, Quinnipiac picked up right where it left off at the end of the first. Just a mere three minutes and 33 seconds into the middle frame, Joey Cipollone pocketed another goal for the Bobcats, extending the lead to four.

Rensselaer responded with a red light of its own on Ryan Mahshie’s sixth goal of the season, but Quinnipiac saw RPI’s answer, and raised them four. Tallies from Christophe Fillion, Michael Lombardi, Collin Graf and Jake Johnson closed out the second period with the Bobcats looking at an 8-1 lead heading into the second intermission. 

Head coach Rand Pecknold had high praise for his squad, acknowledging the eight different Bobcats that got on the board Friday night. 

“All four lines were great,” Pecknold said. “Everybody contributed, and it was just a really good team effort.”

Pecknold alluded to some of the luckier bounces his team got, and added that “sometimes things just go your way.” 

At the start of the third period, it appeared it would take a minor miracle for Rensselaer to get back into the game. That turned out to be an accurate assumption, though not for lack of trying. The Engineers got two goals back in the final frame off shots from Sutter Muzzatti and Ryan Mahshie, which was Mahshie’s second goal of the evening. 

The late two-goal third-period push from RPI would not prove to be enough though, as Rensselaer dropped to 7-8-1 on the season, while the Bobcats continued their strong start and improved to 13-1-3.

Though credited by his head coach for the sustained high effort while up by seven goals, Bobcats forward Ethan de Jong was critical of his team’s performance in the third period.

“I was a little disappointed in the third period, letting two in there,” de Jong said. “We kind of lacked our details in the defensive zone.” 

The graduate student forward went on to credit Quinnipiac’s offensive effort for bailing out the defensive mishaps, including chasing out RPI’s starting goaltender just 11 minutes into the game. 

The Quinnipiac men’s hockey team is now 9-0-0 in ECAC play this season, which is something that third-line winger Michael Lombardi stated as a source of confidence within the team. 

“It’s fun,” Lombardi said. “We’re an experienced group, we know what we need to do, and we’re really just taking it one day at a time and having fun with it.” 

The Bobcats will have limited time to enjoy this win, as the club will hit the ice at M&T Bank Arena once again Saturday night, in a 7 p.m. matchup with Union; a team that Quinnipiac has defeated in each of its last four meetings.