Bobcats win The Battle Of Whitney Avenue in convincing fashion


Photo: Kaylyn Terry

Mike Singer

Quinnipiac hosted Yale on Friday, Feb. 17 at the M&T Bank Arena in Hamden, Connecticut with the final score being 5-1 in favor of the Bobcats.

The start of the game started as advertised. Both teams came out of the gates flying as they looked for the game’s opening goal.

The start of the period saw Quinnipiac’s best chance of the period as Jacob Quillan found a loose puck in front of the net and tried to stuff it home but Luke Pearson made the save to keep the score deadlocked at zero.

Not too long after the Quillan chance, Bobcats defenseman Jake Johnson tried to shovel a shot in backdoor but the net dislodged and Pearson was able to get a piece of the puck.

After a long shift by Quinnipiac in the offensive zone, Yale’s David Chen powered his way to the net and rifled a shot upstairs on Perets to put the Bulldogs ahead 1-0.

The goal by Chen broke a four-game goalless streak for Yale. The last goal Yale scored against Quinnipiac was on Feb. 7, 2020.

“It’s not another game,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “I think the big thing we have to do is remember that we have to play the hockey game.”

With Yale in the driver’s seat, the Bulldogs went to the second period up by a goal.

“All year, our group’s really good at resetting,” Sam Lipkin said. “We obviously knew that wasn’t our best.”

“We need to find a way and that’s what we’ve done all year long,” Pecknold said. “We find a way to grind out wins and we did it again tonight.”

The start of the second period was much like the start of the first, high-speed skating with grade-A chances.

More than halfway through the second frame, Quinnipiac defenceman Iivari Rasanen was sent to the box for interference.

Immediately after the penalty expired Lipkin was left all alone at Yale’s blueline and snuck in for a breakaway to tie the game at one goal apiece.

“I got lucky…I got a puck on a breakaway,” Lipkin said. “That’s my go-to move, low blocker, I kind of shot the puck and it went in.”

The Lipkin goal sent the Quinnipiac faithful into a frenzy as the rink exploded in cheering.

“The Lipkin goal got us going,” Pecknold said. “We got some life, got some energy and the game kind of flipped.”

In what seemed like moments after the Lipkin goal, Quinnipiac defenseman Jacob Nordqvist fed the puck cross-crease to a wide-open Lipkin who, in a net-mouth scramble, potted the puck home to pull the Bobcats ahead 2-1. 

In an attempt to pull even, Yale’s Ian Carpentier was able to receive a pass to come in on a breakaway on Yaniv Perets who dove put with an old-school poke check to keep his team in the 2-1 lead.

“You don’t see that a lot,” Pecknold said. “Yaniv’s a great goalie and I think he caught the Yale kid with his head down.”

While feeding off the energy from the crowd, Quinnipiac took the puck up ice to set up another attack.

As Quinnipiac set up in the Yale zone, Nordqvist passed the puck down low to Collin Graf who was covered by multiple Yale defensemen but was able to perform a no-look pass to a tumbling CJ McGee who shoveled the puck past a diving Pearson to put the Bobcats up by two.

Quinnipiac went to the third and final period looking to close out the game.

Yale went into the final period of the game with speed and the first great chance of the period as Niklas Allain and Ryan Carmichael attempted to tuck two rebound chances by Perets, but Perets stood tall.

After a Tucker Hartman turnover, Quinnipiac forward Collin Graf got thrown to the ice by Kalen Szeto, but as soon as Graf got to his feet he deflected a pass by Sam Lipkin through Pearson’s legs to put Quinnipiac up by three.

Yale attempted to push the play following the goal up ice but Christophe Fillion took the puck into the Yale zone, swooped around the net and fed it to a wide-open Christophe Tellier to extend the lead to four.

In the middle of the third period, in a last-ditch effort to try and salvage the game, Yale subbed Pearson for junior goalie Nathan Reid.

Rand Pecknold also swapped his goalies as he gave Perets the rest of the night off. Washington Capitals draft pick and first-year goaltender Chase Clark was called to tend the crease. 

As Quinnipiac started to run away with the game, Yale’s Cole Donhauser hit Quinnipiac’s Joey Cipollone after the whistle which brought each team together in a scrum.

After a game ejection and 16 minutes worth of penalties later, Quinnipiac closed out Yale with a final score of 5-1 to win the Heroes’ Hat and the Cleary Cup.

The Bobcats play Saturday night against Brown University at 7 p.m. at M&T Bank Arena.