Quinnipiac defeats Colgate in ECAC Hockey semifinal

The Bobcats advance to championship game to face Harvard

Peter Piekarski, Sports Editor

It was not a pretty win, but Quinnipiac clawed out a 3-1 victory over Colgate to return to the ECAC Hockey championship for the second consecutive season. 

“I don’t think we were perfect today, we had some struggles at times, but we were good,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “The buy-in was good, and we found a way to advance.”

The Bobcats controlled the first period, striking twice. The opening goal came on the power play, as graduate student transfer Oliver Chau slid the puck through the crease to junior forward Joey Cipollone on the back door who potted it into the net.

Later in the first, senior forward TJ Friedmann took advantage of an odd-man rush, cutting to the middle and slipping a pass to senior forward Mike Lombardi driving to the net. Lombardi tipped the puck through senior goaltender Mitch Benson’s five-hole to double the Bobcat lead.

Colgate went on the power play minutes after Lombardi’s goal and nearly answered right back. The Raiders utilized rapid one-touch passes, which led to a clean shot from the slot that rang firmly off the post. 

At the closing of the first and beginning of the second period, Colgate relied heavily upon its counter-attacking efforts to get on the board. Early in the middle frame, Quinnipiac senior defenseman Marcus Chorney mishandled a puck at the blue line, allowing Raiders freshman forward Ben Raymond a breakaway chance.

Raymond’s initial shot kicked out to senior forward Griffin Lunn who promptly slapped the puck into the net, cutting Quinnipiac’s lead in half.

As the second period carried on, Quinnipiac dominated possession but couldn’t capitalize on it. Through 15 minutes in the second period, the Bobcats held the Raiders to just three shots on goal. The period ended with a flurry of chances for Colgate as it looked to even up the score.

Colgate played its best hockey in the final frame, outshooting Quinnipiac 11-7. The Raiders tried taking advantage of Quinnipiac’s sloppy breakout, but freshman goaltender Yaniv Perets prevented any shot from crossing the goal line. 

“It’s a cliche, I know that, but I’m just so proud of our team,” Colgate head coach Don Vaughan said. “These last five or six weeks have been a lot of fun for us. I thought we worked extremely hard again tonight against a team that is going to take advantage of mistakes.”

Despite the Bobcats’ rough stretch of play in the third period, senior captain and forward Wyatt Bongiovanni iced the game with a short-side snipe on the rush. Senior forward Ethan de Jong picked up his 100th career point on the goal.

“Quick shoutout to Bongiovanni who did everything on that goal, I appreciate it,” de Jong said. 

The Bobcats held strong, shutting the door on Colgate to end the semifinal matchup. Quinnipiac will face Harvard in the championship Saturday night at 7 p.m.

For in-person coverage of the tournament follow @QUChronSports and @PiekarskiPeter on Twitter.