No. 5 Quinnipiac men’s hockey takes down Yale, earn No. 1 seed in ECAC Hockey playoffs

Bryan Murphy

In the final regular season game of the 2018-19 season, the rivalry between the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team and Yale was out in full force Saturday night in New Haven, with fights, kicks and multiple ejections.

Amidst the punches and penalties, Quinnipiac was able to come out on top 4-1, finishing the season tied with Cornell for the ECAC Hockey regular season championship after Cornell tied Clarkson in its matchup tonight. Quinnipiac will be the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament.

[media-credit id=2200 align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]“It was awesome,” junior forward Nick Jermain said on finding out the team would be No. 1. “We didn’t really know what was going on and then [associate head coach Bill] Riga was like ‘we got it’. Everyone just freaked out and it was an awesome feeling, still being on the ice and being able to celebrate with everyone.”

The first frame saw Quinnipiac jump out to a hot start. Freshman forward Ethan de Jong open the scoring with a wrist shot that beat Yale senior goaltender Sam Tucker over the glove for a 1-0 Quinnipiac lead. Quinnipiac held onto that lead into the first intermission.

For the second period…well there’s a lot. So buckle in folks and pay attention.  

In the first minute and a half, Jermain put the Bobcats up 2-0 after he banked a loose puck off the back of Tucker and into the net.

Around the midway point of the second, a scrum ensued in front of the Quinnipiac net. Senior defenseman Chase Priskie appeared to shove a player onto the ice and make a kicking motion to the neck/chest area. Priskie was given a five-minute major for kicking and a disqualification.

“Before the decision [to give Priskie the disqualification] was made, [Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold] said whatever way it goes, we’ve just got to be ready to face it and tackle it,” Jermain said. “Once we got out, a couple of guys stepped up in his spot, and I think the guys that did, they did well.”

Quinnipiac was able to kill the five-minute penalty and keep the shutout going. And before the end of the period, Quinnipiac tucked in two late goals thanks to freshman forward TJ Friedmann and Jermain again.

Friedmann took a pass from sophomore forward Joe O’Connor and one-timed from the slot past Tucker. Then, Jermain slipped behind the Yale defense and went top shelf on the backhand over Tucker’s glove to push Quinnipiac’s lead to 4-0.

“I used to play with Sam back in the day, and he kind of knows that’s my move,” Jermain said. “I don’t know if he didn’t know it was me coming down, but he used to always stone me on it. Luckily I got him this time.”

In the third, more scraps and physicality occurred. Senior defenseman Luke Shiplo and Yale’s senior defenseman Anthony Walsh got into an altercation after Walsh ran into junior goaltender Andrew Shortridge. Each received a five-minute major for fighting and a disqualification as well.

Later on, another post-whistle engagement occurred between junior defenseman Karlis Cukste and Yale sophomore forward Dante Palecco. Each were given 10-minute misconducts and escorted off the ice.

As for scoring, Yale’s senior forward Ted Hart fired one off a faceoff past Shortridge to break the shutout, but that would be it for the final period and Quinnipiac took the win 4-1.

“That was playoff hockey right there,” senior forward Scott Davidson said of the game and its intensity. “It was chippy, it was emotional, everyone was invested and that’s how playoff hockey is going to be.”

Speaking of playoffs, you remember those disqualifications? Well because of those, the team may be having to play the first game of the tournament, or more, without Priskie and Shiplo. According to the NCAA hockey rulebook, a disqualification rules that player out for the remaining of the game, and the next game as well.

Quinnipiac will have a couple weeks to regroup before playing in the quarterfinals on March 15 and 16, as it earned a bye and won’t have to compete in the opening round next weekend.  

“It’s huge, we have a couple guys who could use a week off,” Jermain said. “I mean we all can this time of year. It’s going to be a big advantage for us to be able to rest up, lick our wounds and then be ready to attack the rest of season.”