Three cheers for the captain: Wyatt Bongiovanni earns three points, Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey wins 4-1 against Brown


Connor Lawless

Senior center and captain Wyatt Bongiovanni collected three points during Tuesday’s win over Brown.

Benjamin Yeargin, Staff Writer

Being No. 2 in the country, the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team has to constantly watch the throne and prove itself day after day. Even a bottom dweller in the conference like Brown has to be played as aggressively as a ranked opponent like North Dakota.

The Bobcats scored a combined three goals over the weekend. A mentality shift was necessary to continue their long-term success and Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold explained how they wanted to play.

“We want to play to our identity, hunt and play fast,” Pecknold said.

Quinnipiac personified this mentality, beating the Brown Bears 4-1 due to an aggressive forecheck on all four lines.

Just under seven minutes into the first period, redshirt junior forward Guus Van Nes wrapped the puck around the left leg pad of Bears freshman goaltender Mathieu Caron and seemingly had a goal. However, puck luck was not on his side.

The puck bounced perfectly off the pad of Caron and then off the right post of Brown’s net, kissing the red line but never crossing over. Van Nes had beautiful feeds from graduate student forward Oliver Chau and graduate student defenseman Brendan Less, but the score still remained blank.

The Bobcats were not deterred from being aggressive early in this game.

Ten minutes into the first, senior forward and captain Wyatt Bongiovanni fired his ECAC Hockey-leading 14th goal of the season. Like the goal that was called off, Chau fed him a sensational west-to-east pass after senior forward Ethan de Jong dumped the puck off to him.

Not even 15 seconds later, the Bobcats’ third line flexed its chemistry. Junior forward Ethan Leyh zoomed up the left side of their offensive zone, passed the puck on the left side of Brown’s red line to senior forward TJ Friedmann. Friedmann backhanded the frozen biscuit to junior forward Joey Cipollone who buried it into the back of the Bears net, giving Quinnipiac a two-goal lead. All four lines contributed today, having productive possessions and giving the already tarnished Brown defense a long night.

“It makes it difficult on teams when you have three, four lines going each night,” Bongiovanni said.

The second period was characterized by misplays in front of the net. Caron allowed two pucks to rebound off his body and get tipped into the back of his goal.

To start, junior defenseman Jayden Lee fired a slapshot right at Caron who tried to block the shot with his chest. It slid under his left armpit where de Jong was standing behind the net and tipped the puck in. Bongiovanni assisted on the play, putting the Bobcats ahead by three.

Next, Bongiovanni passed the puck to senior defenseman Marcus Chorney, who released a wrist shot from the Quinnipiac right dot. Caron got a piece of it, but the puck slid past him where senior defenseman Michael Lombardi tipped it in. Keeping its foot on the gas, Quinnipiac made sure to score on any given opportunity.

“We’re relentless on each puck … when our forecheck is going, it’s really hard for teams to compete with us,” Bongiovanni said.

Brown got on the board off of a wrist shot from senior forward Justin Jallen, which hit the right post and found the back of freshman goaltender Yaniv Perets’ net.

Caron, with all his woes, made a phenomenal play on a Lombardi wrap-around shot, sprawling his body out completely and prohibiting the puck from entering the back of the net once more.

Capitalizing on errors like Quinnipiac did today will almost always put you in a good spot, and the Bobcats exemplified that today, leading 4-1 after two.

The third period was stagnant offensively for both sides. Defense stepped up on the Bears side with Caron going 11/11 on saves in the third period, and killing both of their penalties. Assistant captain and junior defenseman Luke Krys led the way for Brown on its penalty kill.

Quinnipiac ultimately won the game 4-1, and clinched itself a first-round bye in the ECAC Hockey conference playoffs.

Looking forward, Quinnipiac has a tough weekend as it goes to upstate New York to take on St. Lawrence and No. 19 Clarkson. A challenge on both days, but a welcome one for this team.

“We’re just going to focus on St. Lawrence right now, it’s a really good hockey team, they got a great goaltender,” Pecknold said. “We’ll have a pretty good test on Friday night.”

Quinnipiac will keep the wagon rolling on the road against St. Lawrence on Friday, Feb. 11, at 7 p.m.