Bobcats make it to the Connecticut Ice finals in Rand Pecknolds 600th career win

Ryan Johanson

The Connecticut Ice Tournomant stopped in Hamden this yea. The Quinnipiac Bobcats played Sacred Hart University in a rematch of an overtime thriller in last year’s tournament which saw a Quinnipiac overtime victory over Sacred Heart 3-2. In the rematch Quinnipiac beat Sacred Heart for the second straight year beating the Pioneers 5-0.

“I was a big proponent that we rotate between the four schools. I thought the event today was great and I think it will be great again tomorrow. We want to have a great atmosphere for our players and I think we had it today.” said Coach Rand Pecknold talking about having the Connecticut Ice in Hamden.

With this win the Bobcats improve to 19-3-3 which ends their two game losing streak. Sacred Heart with this loss fell to 12-10-2 which ends their two game unbeaten streak. 

Coming into this weekend the Bobcats were on a two game losing streak. The losses include then No. 14/15 Cornell and Colgate this past weekend. These losses brought the Bobcats from their top ranking down to No. 3 in the nation.  

“I think one thing is we don’t need to panic, we are a really good hockey team, we didn’t play great either game. Everybody we play is like their Superbowl,” said Pecknold. “I think we don’t need to panic and let’s get back to what we do, we have to embrace the grind.”

“I think it was important to get out there and set a tone early and get back to what we know how to play. The mood in the locker room was optimistic, we want to go out there and win this championship and we want to continue that on to the playoffs.” said Collin Graf when talking about how the team responded to this weekend.

With this win Rand Pecknold recorded his 600th career win in his 1,039th career game, being the third coach to reach this milestone with a singular school. 

“I feel really lucky with the support I had from Quinnipiac, from our presidents to our AD, to give us this great facility and budget,” said Pecknold. “We have had a lot of really good players throughout the years and a really good amount of assistant coaches.”

“It’s been awesome, he has done a really good job. He can see the success the program has had over the past few years,” said Tj Friedmann when talking about Rand Pecknold. “He does a great job with the development side of things. When we stick to his system we tend to have success.”

This game was very close as the shots on goal were close together with the Bobcats outshooting the Pioneers at 21-17. The one stat that stands out is how Sacred Heart were able to block 19 shots during the game. Even with the amount of block shots Quinnipiac got five past senior goalie Luke Lush. Graf scored two goals and Ethan de Jong, Friedmann and Joey Cipollone also scored. 

“They were committed tonight, I think they did an excellent job, they really got it rolling,” said Pecknold. “When teams are good in shot blocking, you just can’t be afraid to shoot and firing away they’re not gonna block them all.”

The defense tonight was strong once again as Yaniv Perets secured his fifth shutout on the year while only facing 17 shots on goal. This shutout brings their goals allowed per game to 1.8 goals a game. The Bobcats also suffered three penalties which resulted in zero goals, the Bobcats also have only allowed 18% of power plays.  

“The system we play we always have guys that can bail each other out, guys are gonna get beat, guys are gonna make mistakes, and we all know that, playing with that six man unit we know that if we get beat kind of work and get back to the netl,” said Friedmann.

With this win the Bobcats will take on the UConn Huskies in the Connecticut Ice championship game Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. Sacred Heart on the other hand will play in the consolation game against Yale on Saturday night at 4:00 p.m.