The Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team had a special season last year. The Bobcats elevated themselves to new heights, levels that nobody could have imagined them reaching prior to the 2012-13 season.
From Nov. 9 to Feb. 8, Quinnipiac went 21 consecutive games without a loss. On Feb. 11, the Bobcats took over the No. 1 national ranking for the first time in program history.
They would hold that spot until March 18, a stretch of six consecutive weeks.
The most impressive part about the run, however, is that nobody saw it coming.
Everybody knows the rest of the story. After advancing to the 2013 NCAA East Regional and eventually the Frozen Four, the Bobcats fell in the national championship at the disposal of cross town-rival Yale. Goaltender Eric Hartzell was a Hobey Baker Hat Trick finalist, and the senior-heavy Bobcats were the top team in the NCAA Tournament.
Quinnipiac had outscored Yale by a combined total of 13-3 in the first three meetings the team had prior to the national championship game. It was a night that many followers of the team thought the program would capture its first national championship, but it wasn’t meant to be.
Feelings of disappointment, sadness and disbelief loomed over the Quinnipiac campus for weeks after the game. The Bobcats were the team of destiny, so everyone thought. They were a special roster, one that helped put Quinnipiac University on the map in just six short months.
We are months removed from that night, with some fans still dwelling on the past. But rather than looking back on that night with bitterness, people should be looking forward to a new season while celebrating the achievements of last year.
Fans should be proud for the many things Quinnipiac accomplished in its benchmark year. They provided entertainment night in and night out, with moments that fans in attendance will always remember.
Take, for example, the Feb. 22 game against Yale. Quinnipiac was the No. 1 team in the country at the time, looking to prove itself in conference play down the stretch. In front of a sold-out crowd at the High Point Solutions Arena at TD Bank Sports Center and in front of a national television audience, the Bobcats poured on three first-period goals and ultimately defeated the Bulldogs 4-1.
March 22 proved to be another iconic night. Trailing 2-1 late in the third period of a decisive Game 3 against Cornell in the ECAC Hockey quarterfinals, head coach Rand Pecknold elected to pull Hartzell. Clay Harvey immediately scored off a scrum in front of the net and Kevin Bui later nailed the game winner in double overtime.
Then there was Matthew Peca’s natural hat trick in Providence against Union, the quickest natural hat trick in NCAA Tournament history, strung together in just 3:12. The game was later recognized as the one that propelled Quinnipiac to its first Frozen Four in program history.
The list rolls on and on, one momentous victory after the next.
Unfortunately, some fans still dwell on the loss rather than appreciating the surprises last year’s team brought about. It was an exceptional season for the Quinnipiac program, and should be reflected upon as a beautiful image rather than a bitter memory.
Come Saturday, the banners will be raised at Quinnipiac’s home opener against UMass-Lowell.
We don’t know how the Bobcats will play this year. We don’t know if they will ever have an undefeated streak half as long as last season’s. We don’t even know if they will come that close to a national championship again.
What we do know, however, is that all will be watching with pride and appreciation on Saturday night as the banners are raised to the rafters of High Point Solutions Arena, for the team that took us on such a magical ride last season.