Cait’s Column: No. 9 Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey trounced by No. 1 Cornell

Justin Cait

[media-credit id=2200 align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]Well, that was the weirdest game I have ever covered.

In short, the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team (16-17-4) got absolutely thrashed, 9-1, by Cornell (23-4-2) on Friday night at Lynah Rink in the first game of the ECAC Hockey Quarterfinals.

For all involved, it was a rollercoaster of emotions. But I’ll just start from the top. Like, before the game even started.

A “new beast”

There was a vibe to Monday’s media availability day at the TD Bank Sports Center that I hadn’t felt in a long time from the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team.

The Bobcats were fresh off a first round series sweep over crosstown-rival Yale. All four lines of a depleted forward group scored over the course of the two games and Quinnipiac was bar none the more dominant team in New Haven.

Maybe it was because Quinnipiac student-media was seated at an auxiliary table closer to ice-level than usual, but the eye-test read a strong, stong pass from a typically-lackadaisical Bobcats.

To make matters even better for the Bobcats, their upset over No. 8 seed Yale gave them the opportunity to take down No. 1 seed (and nationally-ranked No. 2) Cornell, a team they lost to twice this season, but only by a one-goal margin (2-1 on Nov. 3 and 1-0 on Jan. 6) on both occasions.

On Monday, junior assistant captain Scott Davidson described the rejuivanted bunch best.

“I started saying it on Sunday, I just feel like our team is a new beast,” he said. “Playoffs have brought out this excitement, everyone is up and things are going our way.”

The difference four days makes.

After newspapers were thrown at them in their player introductions (I’m not kidding, check this tradition out), the Bobcats indeed proved to be “boring” to start the game.

It took Quinnipiac 10 minutes and 13 seconds to simply record a shot on goal and by that time they were already down 1-0.

Subsequently, the Bobcats went on a power play and received a fortuitous tip-in goal from senior forward Tanner MacMaster tied the game up at 1.

Just about five minutes later, Cornell’s Yanni Kaldis dumped the puck into the zone, it took a hop over freshman goalie Keith Petruzzelli’s stick and Big Red forward Alex Rauter put it into the empty net.

That was when the wheels completely fell off the wagon.

A minute later, Cornell scored. 30 seconds into the second period, Cornell scored. Then the 5-1 goal from Big Red forward Beau Starrett forced Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold pull Petruzzelli.

Except it wasn’t a seasoned sophomore goalie Andrew Shortridge — who was out of the lineup for the second consecutive game due to unknown reasons — that took over, it was freshman Josh Mayanja, a third-string goalie that was brought into Quinnipiac just in case something went terribly wrong.

Mayanja allowed three goals on five shots and was promptly replaced by Petruzzelli to start the third.

Quinnipiac outshot Cornell 7-4 in the final frame of play (none of which in high-danger scoring areas) and took an embarrassing 9-1 beating back to its hotel.

That was it

After waiting 28 minutes (we timed it), Pecknold declined talking to the media. He did the same for his players.

But the Quinnipiac student media crew was able to catch one guy on his way out.

Cornell junior captain Mitch Vanderlaan briefly told us about the awfully strange game at hand.

“You expect every game to be really tight, really tough game [and] we’re all anticipating that tomorrow,” Vanderlaan said. “That’s gonna be one of those games that will come right down to the wire.

I’ll be back tomorrow — hopefully with some more quotes from the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team — when the Bobcats look to keep their season alive in Ithaca, New York.