Bobcats dominate in Battle of Whitney Ave, take down Yale 4-0 thanks to heroics from Yaniv Perets and Guus Van Nes


Alex Bayer

Fans filed into a full People’s United Center for the second leg of this year’s Battle of Whitney Avenue, which hasn’t been played at Quinnipiac in over 700 days.

Seth Fromowitz, Contributing Writer

It had been over 700 days since the last time the Battle of Whitney Avenue took place in the People’s United Center as No. 5 Quinnipiac improved its win streak against Yale to eight games with a 4-0 victory Tuesday night.

“It was great, it means a lot the building was that packed,” redshirt junior forward Guus Van Nes said after recording a season-high three points. “We definitely feed off that and elevate our play because of it.”

The Bobcats came into tonight after splitting a four-game road trip against Clarkson, St. Lawrence, Dartmouth and Harvard.

“We love playing at home,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “It’s a lot nicer sleeping in your own bed… for me selfishly I love it.”

Freshman goaltender Yaniv Perets collected his 11th shutout on the season, adding to his record for the most in a single season by a Quinnipiac goaltender and second-most in a season amongst Division I goalies all-time.

“He’s been obviously exceptional,” senior forward Desi Burgart said. “You look at games where maybe we haven’t had our legs or energy and he’s always there to bail us out and obviously that’s what you need to be a top goaltender.”

Quinnipiac got on the board first and early as graduate student winger Oliver Chau found the open hole in front of the net 11 minutes into the game after junior forward Skyler Brind’Amour was able to get the pass off from behind the goal line on the right side.

“Oliver is a big game player, a championship under his belt with UMass,” Pecknold said. “He’s been one of the best forwards in our league this year and he’s just been outstanding… as good as he is offensively, he’s just as good defensively,.”

The Bobcats provided strong offensive pressure early on, forcing the Bulldogs to block 12 of Quinnipiac’s 22 total shot attempts in the first period.

In the second period, Quinnipiac extended its lead as Van Nes found Burgart 8:45 into the period.

“Their defense just made a wrong read, and me and Desi just had a go for it and I saw he was open so I just had to give it to him and almost just knew he was going to put it in,” Van Nes said.

Quinnipiac had its strongest showing in the third period, scoring twice by Van Nes and junior forward Joey Cipollone on the power play, a rare sight for a team that has struggled on the man-advantage.

Defensively, Quinnipiac killed off a five-on-three after senior forward Wyatt Bongiovanni received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for checking from behind, followed by a trip by Chau. With the help of athletic saves and quick reflexes by the Hobey Baker nominee and Mike Richter Award semifinalist Perets the Bobcats were able to continue the rest of the game at full strength.

“The five-on-three was probably the most pivotal moment of the game,” Pecknold said. “The boys on the ice and Yaniv did a phenomenal job and it was a big-time kill.”

Both goals in the third period came after the big penalty kill.

“We obviously didn’t agree with the call … but we were like, ‘OK let’s put them away,’ and I think that’s how we did it after that,” Van Nes said.

With only two games remaining on the season before the playoffs, the rivalry win was certainly a morale boost for the players.

“It gets the adrenaline flowing and the juice going … it gets us prepared for the playoffs for sure,” Van Nes said.

The Bobcats will conclude the regular season this weekend at the People’s United Center facing No. 18 Cornell on Friday, Feb. 25, and Colgate on Saturday, Feb. 26 before heading into in the ECAC Hockey playoffs.