No. 7/8 Quinnipiac fights off Friday’s demons, defeats No. 3 North Dakota 6-2.

Colin Kennedy, Staff Writer

In a night that began with some good old-fashioned North Dakota bull-fighting, it ended with the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team defeating the North Dakota 6-2 on Saturday. 

The Bobcats came out fast following a 5-5 tie the previous night in which they led 4-1 in the second period. Less than two minutes into the game, senior forward Skyler Brind’Amour one-timed a pass from freshman forward Sam Lipkin to give Quinnipiac the early lead. 

Following the theme from Friday night’s contest, the Fighting Hawks answered with a goal of their own. Freshman forward Jackson Blake poked a loose puck past Bobcats sophomore goaltender Yaniv Perets to tie things up at one. 

Both teams buckled down after the early goals as neither team allowed each other to generate much in the offensive zones. That was until freshman defenseman Charles-Alexis Legault got sent to the box for high-sticking. Only twenty seconds into the power play, North Dakota’s junior forward Riese Gaber sniped one past Perets to take a one-goal lead heading into the first intermission. 

As the second period began, Quinnipiac flipped the game on its head. Graduate student forward TJ Friedmann redirected a puck from senior defenseman Jayden Lee to tie the game. The Bobcats didn’t settle down after that as only 19 seconds later, graduate student forward Desi Burgart one-touched the puck past the Fighting Hawks’ sophomore goaltender Jakob Hellsten to give the Bobcats the lead right back. 

North Dakota was aggressive trying to answer, however, that aggressiveness led to players in the box rather than pucks in the net, giving  Quinnipiac six minutes on the power play in the second period.

 The Bobcats didn’t waste the man-advantages as they wore down the Fighting Hawks penalty kill, which led to graduate student forward Ethan de Jong capitalizing on a tired defense for an easy tip-in right in front of the North Dakota goal. 

Quinnipiac ended the second period by scoring three unanswered goals, and putting themselves in an eerily similar position as the previous night. 

“We were a little nervous last game,” de Jong said in a second intermission interview with MIDCO Sports. “We just got to play our game and good things will happen.” 

The Bobcats certainly kept playing their game as they didn’t give North Dakota any life throughout the third period. de Jong picked up his second goal of the night as he redirected a puck off a shot from graduate student defenseman and captain Zach Metsa through Hellsten’s five-hole. 

Quinnipiac suffocated the Fighting Hawks’ offensive attack for the final 10 minutes, slamming the door shut with an empty net goal by junior defenseman Iivari Räsänen to secure the series win. 

Although the Bobcats would’ve loved to leave Grand Forks with two wins, they have to be pleased with their performance picking up a series win on the road against the No. 3 team in the country. 

Quinnipiac is next in action on Oct. 22 as it heads to Maine for a weekend series against the Black Bears.