No. 5 Quinnipiac blasts Colgate to clinch second-straight Cleary Cup


Connor Lawless

Quinnipiac finishes the regular season 28-5-1

Cameron Levasseur, Associate Sports Editor

For the second straight season, the Cleary Cup is draped in blue and gold, as the Quinnipiac men’s hockey team claimed the ECAC Hockey regular season crown with a 4-0 victory over Colgate Saturday night.

“It’s special, especially to do it on Senior Night,” senior winger Michael Lombardi said. “Our class has been lucky enough (that) this is our third Cleary Cup … it’s a lot of emotions.”

It’s the Bobcats’ sixth regular-season conference title since joining the league in 2005-6, putting them in a three-way tie with Cornell and Clarkson for second-most all time. 

Gritty, tough and irritating, Colgate is the epitome of a .500 team. The Raiders might not be the most skilled group on the ice, but they can compete with any team in the nation. They did just that, at least for a part of this contest. 

Physicality was at the forefront in the opening 20 minutes, as without much open ice, bodies crashed into each other with regularity. 

This is a theme Quinnipiac will carry over into the postseason, something that assistant coach Mike Corbett is conscious of. 

“It’s going to be tight, it’s going to be tough ice all over the place in the playoffs,” Corbett said. “We’re preparing our guys for that. They know what it is and we’re going to have to be a physical team. We’re going to have to be the hitter versus the hit-ee.”

Finding a little more open ice as the period wound down, Quinnipiac got on the scoreboard for the first time all weekend as junior defenseman Jayden Lee rifled a low shot on net that found Lombardi’s stick before tickling twine. 

“We’ve been doing a lot of the right things, the puck just hasn’t been going in,” Lombardi said. “So to see one finally fall, it felt good.”

While it was once a tight game, it took mere moments for the Bobcats to blow it wide open coming out of the locker room for the second period. 

Senior defenseman and Hobey Baker nominee Zach Metsa rang the puck off the back bar less than 20 seconds into the frame, and junior winger Joey Cipollone doubled up two minutes later on the power play to extend Quinnipiac’s lead to three. 

The game’s final tally came a few minutes later, as graduate student winger Oliver Chau ripped a shot through a pile of bodies in front to beat Colgate senior goaltender Mitch Benson. 

On the Bobcats’ end, graduate student goaltender Dylan St. Cyr stopped all 19 shots he faced to earn his fifth shutout of the season, tying him for fifth in the NCAA. St. Cyr and freshman goaltender Yaniv Perets have combined for 16 doughnuts in the regular season, further extending their Division I team shutout record that stood at 12 for two decades. 

Quinnipiac has a week off to recharge before starting its ascent toward the Whitelaw Cup on March 11, as the ECAC Hockey quarterfinals get underway. 

The Bobcats will face the lowest remaining seed out of next weekend’s first-round series between the teams seeded fifth and below, which means they will clash with one of St. Lawrence, Brown, Princeton, Yale or Dartmouth. 

“I’m sure we’ll go over plenty of video and pre-scouting (for) the teams we could potentially play in that second round,” senior centerman and captain Wyatt Bongiovanni said. “Special teams you can always work on, so we still got some work to do and some preparation coming this week.”