Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey shuts out No. 1 Cornell at home

Justin Blicht, Contributing Writer

An upset took place on Friday, Jan. 31, at the People’s United Center in Hamden, Connecticut, as the Quinnipiac Bobcats defeated No. 1 Cornell 5-0. Cornell suffered its worst defeat of the year at the hands of the Bobcats.

“Obviously we came out and smoked them so that was definitely something we highlighted all week,” Jermain said. “Just wanting this, prepping all week, having good energy, and our practice habits were really good.”

Coming into this game, Cornell (14-2-4 overall, 9-2-2 ECAC Hockey) was ranked as the No. 1 team in the whole country. On the other hand, Quinnipiac (15-9-1 overall, 8-4-1 ECAC Hockey) was No. 18 in the country. Cornell’s only other loss this season came against Dartmouth on Dec. 7.

Brendan O’Sullivan
Sophomore forward William Fällström fires a shot on net, one of his two shots on goal.

The Bobcats’ win was quite an upset given the circumstances coming into the game and the fashion in which they won, but they do have a history of knocking off No. 1 teams. The Bobcats beat last year’s top ranked team, UMass, 4-0 at home as well.

However, the big takeaway from beating Cornell this year is that the Big Red had only one loss prior to tonight this season, and the 2-1 loss to Dartmouth was nothing like the beating they took tonight.

Out of the gate, Cornell was on a mission to score early as it controlled the puck on the attack in the first period. In fact, it seemed as if the Big Red had the Bobcats’ number with the first seven shots on net and 12 of the first 18 to start the game.

After that, things started to change. Quinnipiac flipped the narrative and struck early with a goal scored by senior forward and captain Nick Jermain and assisted by senior forward Alex Whelan.

After the first goal, Quinnipiac scored two more goals within a three-minute span. Cornell hadn’t trailed by more than one goal throughout the season, so considering Quinnipiac was able to score three goals in three minutes was foreign to the Big Red.

To cap off their span of three goals in under three minutes, the Bobcats’ third goal was scored by Jermain and assisted by junior forward Odeen Tufto and freshman defenseman CJ McGee. This was Jermain’s second goal of the game and came about three minutes after his first one. Jermain believes his first goal is what sparked the Bobcats to score three straight goals in three minutes.

“That was something we keyed in on, to get that first goal and get the crowd going,” Jermain said. “We like having it like that obviously, it helps us as players, and that gave us confidence and momentum.”

Quinnipiac junior goaltender Keith Petruzzelli had himself a career night with a shutout against the top team in the country. Petruzzelli had his second shutout of the year tonight and his fifth in his collegiate career. With the standout performance, Petruzzelli’s goals against average (GAA) improves to 2.18, and his overall record this season moves to 15-8-1.

Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold was very pleased with his team’s performance following the win against the top team in the country.

“I thought it was a great win for us, Cornell is deservedly the No. 1 team in the country right now, excellent hockey team,” Pecknold said. “I thought tonight we got a couple bounces early and I thought a big part of the game was our crowd.”

The Bobcats play again tomorrow, Feb. 1, as they take on ECAC Hockey opponent Colgate. Quinnipiac will look to finish the weekend undefeated at 7 p.m. at the People’s United Center.