ECAC Semi-Final Preview: The Finalist Favorite vs. The Tournament Dark Horse

Matt Mugno

The Quinnipiac Bobcats are locked into a Semi-Final date with the Colgate Raiders. Puck drop is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. on Friday, March 17th in Herb Brooks Rink in Lake Placid, New York.  

The elimination game is the second year in a row where the two opponents will jockey for an ECAC Championship bid. The tournament favorite takes on the playoff dark horse. How can each program advance to play for the Whitelaw?

2023 ECAC Playoff: 

The Bobcats settled into their quarterfinal game after they seized Whitney Avenue from their rival, the Yale Bulldogs like Washington seized Yorktown. They outscored the Bulldogs 9-3 in a two-game sweep. The real test appears to be Harvard and Cornell coming into the conference circuit. 

Enter Colgate. The Raiders are the certified Dark Horse of the ECAC. After playing in the one-game elimination first round to advance to a quarterfinal, they were down 1-0 only to dismantle Dartmouth with five unanswered. Not impressed? 

In quarterfinal Game One against the St. Lawrence Saints, the Raiders surrendered 3 goals in the first period. They flipped the script and scored four unanswered, Colton Young notching the OT goal to complete a major comeback. 

In quarterfinal Game Two, 31 saves from Carter Gylander led to a 3-2 victory. Not an easy path to glory. Glass half full, the squad is well-conditioned to face adversity. Think of the 2014 Los Angeles Kings. 


If there’s a red flag for Quinnipiac, it’s the head-to-head matchup. Nothing stands up and screams “advantage!” for the Raiders. 

Yet, the Bobcats struggled on Nov. 4 and Jan. 21 against their semi-final opposition. 

In November, the Bobcats were sluggish and were down 2-0 in the second before converting on three power-plays to escape with a 3-2 victory. The Raiders’ issue was their discipline with 11 penalties. 

On a January road weekend, the Bobcats were stood up by Cornell and traveled to Hamilton, New York to rebound against the Raiders. Up 2-0, they blew that lead and lost 3-2. The Raiders generated 29 shots on goal, and the Bobcats looked everything but cohesive. 

Rare instances for the No. 2 team in the nation? Yes. Although, Colgate’s performances are recent in terms of head-to-head history. Both matchups were a struggle for the Bobcats. The semi-final is this season, not 2022, or 2021. The Raiders have played the Bobcats well in 2023. 

GQL vs The Young Brothers: 

The GQL line (Collin Graf, Jacob Quillan, and Sam Lipkin) looks to continue their dominant season. Collin Graf is second in the nation in assists and points. He recorded two goals and an assist against Colgate. 

Jacob Quillan froze up on a nine-game point drought before notching two goals in the back-to-back quarterfinal against Yale. He has not cashed in a point against Colgate in 2023. 

Sam Lipkin recorded one assist against Colgate, the quietest of the triad. He generated offense, breakouts, and strong cuts from the wall to the net. He is a superb playmaker. The Lafayette Hill native simply didn’t get on the scoresheet. 

They can continue to take the nation by storm in the rink of miracles. The history of these players is here

The Young brothers are the top performers for the Raiders.

Junior Alex Young is a point-per-game player registering 20 goals. He recorded one goal and three assists against Quinnipiac. 

Colton Young, a senior, did not register a point against Quinnipiac. The senior was the engine behind the team’s Game Ond quarterfinal four-goal comeback against St. Lawrence. He also played hero, with this dazzling OT winner. 

The Blue Line:

Quinnipiac captain Zach Metsa had an outstanding performance, a breakdown of his Game Two can be found here.

Iivari Raasanen recorded a tension-breaking goal to put the Bobcats up 2-0 in Game One of the quarterfinals. Jayden Lee contributed two assists and two shot blocks. 

Lee spoke to how important the Bobcats’ two-way game is to their successes, “I think it’s just what we preach as a D-core. We want to be hard to play against defensively, at the same time we are looking to jump up into the rush and make plays in the offensive zone. It’s not like we are going rogue in that sense trying to get points, they come with playing well, playing hard, and playing with all the right details.”

The Raiders’ blue line is third in blocked shots in the ECAC. A flip of the coin, and they’ve surrendered 95 goals. Out of the ECAC Final Four, they rank last of that sample in every stat category, except for the save percentage.

A nod to the team defense, as Cornell often is credited for their physical defensive style (and indeed leads the ECAC in the size category), but Colgate’s defense shouldn’t be counted out considering their ranks in those two categories. 

Perets vs Gylander:

Arguably the most important matchup is in the blue paint. They’ll never actually face one another, but their performance will make or break the win or go home. 

Yaniv Perets is the writer of the history book. Pen in hand, he’s autobiographically scripting his Declaration of Goaltending Prowess not to mention he is nominated for the Mike Richter Award as well as the Hobey Baker award. Perets now holds the shutout record for the Quinnipiac Bobcats as well as the all-time shutout record for the ECAC Conference. A career 1.35. goals against average and a career .934 save percentage. He has 20 shutouts and eight career losses in 69 games to his name.  Two of those losses came in the tournament play last season (ECAC Championship against Harvard, NCAA Regional Final against Michigan). The key words “Championship” and “Final”. 

The Raider netminder, Carter Gylander. Gylander stole one game on January 21st, 2023, and handed Perets one of his eight losses.  The 6’5 behemoth’s career high in saves was in a one-goal loss to Quinnipiac. In his three post-season outings, he has posted a .915 save percentage across the board, has 80 saves, and has eight goals allowed in the three matches. 

The difference between Yale and Colgate, Colgate has the firepower to support their beast in the crease. Luke Pearson performed, but the layers in front of him simply did not. 

The Raiders have youthful momentum, while the Bobcats have a myriad of assets on their side. Who will play the winner of the show of the playoffs, “Cornell-Harvard- War on Ice”? The fate of the juggernaut and the sleeper is on the line on Friday at 4:00 p.m.