Graf and Perets leads the Bobcats to a game one victory against Yale 3-0


Photo: Anthony W. Pacheco III

Ryan Johanson

Game one of a best-of-3 ECAC Quarterfinals on Friday included the third stint of the Battle of Whitney Avenue as the No. 2 ranked Quinnipiac Bobcats faced their cross-state rivals, the Yale Bulldogs. 

This season, the Bobcats won both matchups with a combined score of 9-1 and this continued as the Bobcats took the pivotal game one 3-0. 

With the win the Bobcats increased their win streak against Yale to 11 games with the Bobcats last lost to the Bulldogs on Feb. 9, 2018. 

The first period started chippy as Yale came out the gates physically hitting whatever was in front of them. After not playing for the past two weeks, the Bobcats came out slow but they found their footing by mustering 10 shots on goal which were all saved by sophomore goalie Luke Pearson who kept the game tied at 0-0 going into the second period.

“It’ll escalate from time to time, we were chippy too,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “We got some tough kids who were battling, they got some tough kids who were battling. It was a grind out there tonight.” 

Sophomore forward Collin Graf also acknowledged the tension between the two rivals.

“I think that for them they had to do something to get us to take a major or do something dumb and by the end of the game it got chippy, but nothing we were too worried about,” Graf said.

The second period is where the scoring started as sophomore forward Jacob Quillan and senior defenseman Iivari Räsänen, who played in his 100th career game, both scored to give the Bobcats a 2-0 lead going into the third period. In the game Graf had three assists to give him 52 points on the year. Graf is now the sixth player in Quinnipiac’s history to reach the 50-point mark in a season.

“[Graf’s] been great on the power play, he’s been great in the locker room, we’re thrilled with him,” Pecknold said. “One thing he has done all year is he has really worked and has become a better defensive forward.” 

“Rass is great, he is an awesome person and a great teammate, probably more of a defense-first guy. He’s one of our best players,” said Pecknold about Räsänen. 

The third period started off the way that the second period was as graduate defenseman Zach Metsa increased the Bobcats’ lead to 3-0 just 18 seconds into the third period. After the goal, the third period started to get chippy as there were eight penalties in the period and two circumstances in which both teams went a man down.

The Bobcats defense was a vital part of their win as they only allowed the Bulldogs to muster five shots on goal in the whole game en route to Yaniv Perets’ ninth shutout of the season. Perets broke the Quinnipiac Bobcats all-time shutouts record with 20 shutouts in his career, surpassing 2016 alumni Michael Garteig. 

“[Perets] didn’t get a ton of work but he’s got to stay focused,” Pecknold said. “He is an elite goaltender, I think we play well in front of him. Garteig was a great goaltender, happy for Yaniv, there are plenty more marks he’ll probably break before he leaves here.”  

Räsänen stressed how important the Bobcats defense was on Friday, allowing only the five shots on goal and aiding Perets.

“Defense is what we base off as a defensive core,” Räsänen said. “Whether it’s in the neutral goal or in the defensive zone, we always try to be very active and to not allow them any easy chances.” 

With the Bobcats taking game one of the ECAC Quarterfinals, the Bobcats need one more win to advance to Lake Placid for the ECAC Semifinals. Game two of the ECAC Quarterfinals is Saturday, March 11 at 7 p.m. back in Hamden.