Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey gets revenge against St. Lawrence with 4-1 ECAC Hockey quarterfinals Game 1 win


Aidan Sheedy

The Bobcats advance to the ECAC Hockey semifinals in Lake Placid with a win on Saturday night.

Peter Piekarski, Sports Editor

One year removed from St. Lawrence upsetting Quinnipiac in the ECAC Hockey championship game, the two teams opened Game 1 of the 2022 conference quarterfinals with a physical and a defensively tight matchup.

No. 6 Quinnipiac took care of business on the scoreboard, finding the back of the net three times in the first 40 minutes of the game, before adding an empty-net goal in the closing minutes to secure the 4-1 win.

“We played hard for 60 (minutes) — it wasn’t our best 60 —but we had some really good spurts,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “We just have got to try to be a little more consistent with that effort tomorrow night.”

Graduate student defenseman Griffin Mendel opened the scoring early in the first, following up a rebound created by junior forward Joey Cipollone on a two-on-none rush.

Outside of the lone goal, neither team created many scoring chances in the opening period. Both the Bobcats and the Saints played compact defensively, protecting the slot and keeping all the offensive pressure to the outside.

Once the second period began, Quinnipiac’s gears started turning as the Bobcats anted up on possession, ultimately scoring twice to widen the lead.

After a six-game pointless drought and only one goal in his last 15 games, sophomore forward Ty Smilanic ripped the monkey off his back by rifling a wrist shot following a set faceoff win.

“I’ve been struggling, it’s been pretty obvious,” Smilanic said. “I think at times the team was struggling, it kind of was beating on me emotionally and physically that I wasn’t really helping the team. Went into the mindset for the playoffs that it’s a fresh start, so obviously to get one tonight I think should help my confidence the rest of the way.”

As the period progressed, Quinnipiac continued to generate scoring chances around the net, typically cycling the puck to the defenseman at the point to either shoot for a rebound or deflection.

One of the chances connected, as senior forward Michael Lombardi skated through the slot trying to take away the eyesight of Saints senior goaltender Emil Zetterquist. Senior defenseman Zach Metsa then took a quick snapshot just off the boards near the blue line, intended to be deflected, which eventually connected with the shaft of Lombardi’s stick and into the back of the net.

Sitting comfortably with its 3-0 lead in the third period, Quinnipiac focused more on eliminating any prime scoring opportunities by St. Lawrence and less on creating quality scoring chances. Eventually, the Saints broke the shutout on the rush as junior forward Jordan Steinmetz beat freshman goaltender Yaniv Perets’ blocker side.

Mendel then iced the game by scoring his second of the night with an empty-net goal, giving Quinnipiac the 4-1 win.

“It’s nice, I usually don’t get many points so it’s always nice putting them up on the board,” Mendel said. “Especially when I missed the wide open net last game, it’s always nice to get rewarded.”

Both teams return to the People’s United Center Saturday night for Game 2, where Quinnipiac will have the opportunity to clinch a spot in Lake Placid for the ECAC Hockey semifinals.