Emotions run rampant in No. 6/7 Quinnipiac’s comeback win over Colgate


Jack Muscatello

Quinnipiac alternate captain forward Ethan de Jong scored the game winner with 10 minutes to play in the third to complete the comeback over Colgate.

Ethan Hurwitz, Sports Editor

HAMDEN, Conn — It is a small sample size, but Friday’s game between the Quinnipiac men’s hockey team and Colgate might have been the most bizarre game of the season. Although the Bobcats pulled out a 3-2 victory over the visiting Raiders, the amount of undisciplined penalties led to a memorable opening night for ECAC Hockey play.

The Bobcats, who moved to 4-1-2 on the season, were led by graduate student defenseman Zach Metsa, who made his return to the lineup after a one-game hiatus. The Hobey Baker Award nominee was all over the statsheet, recording three points in the game. 

“Zach was an All-American tonight,” head coach Rand Pecknold said. “He was our best player, he was outstanding.”

Having the captain back on the blue line allowed for the Bobcats’ offense to open up scoring chances. Although the finishing touches didn’t come until later in the game, the effort was evident all night. 

Halfway through the first period, Quinnipiac had a golden opportunity to break the scoreless tie. Graduate transfer defenseman Jake Johnson snuck through the Raiders’ defense for a breakaway. In the process, a Colgate defender fell on Johnson, who proceeded to slam into Colgate junior goaltender Carter Gylander. 

The net flew off its pegs and Gylander was down on the ice for a significant amount of time, being attended to by the referees. In the meantime, Johnson let some haymakers fly in the corner before being separated. 

That was a common theme all night, as both teams combined for 53 total penalty minutes. It could have more, but a bad missed call in the neutral zone led to play being continued and Pecknold ripping into the officiating crew. 

“There’s more power plays in October than there are in March,” Pecknold said when asked about the game’s physicality.

In a span of under two minutes, the score went from tied at zero to Colgate leading by two. Sophomore center Alex DiPaolo fed a perfect pass out in front of the Bobcats’ net and senior winger Matt Verboon put it home for his third of the young season. 

Immediately after, junior winger and San Jose Sharks draft pick Alex Young moved right-to-left on Perets and found the back of the net, doubling the Raiders’ lead. 

Later on a 5-on-3 opportunity, Metsa took a Johnson pass and fired a shot past Gylander for his second goal of the season and brought the deficit back to within one. 

The excitement of a possible comeback was briefly halted after graduate student defenseman Jacob Nordqvist was leveled by Verboon and was motionless on the ice. After a few minutes, Nordqvist made his way to the Quinnipiac tunnel and did not return. 

Pecknold did not provide an update postgame on Nordqvist.

Verboon was promptly ejected and left the rink to the tune of verbal abuse from the Quinnipiac student section. Those jeers quickly turned into cheers as sophomore winger Collin Graf fired a rocket at the net, evening the game at two apiece. 

“He’s been a great addition,” Pecknold said. “He’s helped our powerplay for sure. He’s really working to round out his game.”

Soon after, graduate winger Ethan de Jong got in on the action, putting his fourth goal of the season past Gylander. The Quinnipiac veteran made some history, as he became the second active collegiate player to reach the 150 career game plateau. 

“Feels good, definitely a lot better to get the win,” de Jong said. “A lot of memories (in) the last five years, so good to cap it off with a win.”

The Bobcats’ first lead of the night kicked off what was a confusing few minutes in the third period. 

In a penalty that went unannounced to the press box, Colgate senior center Colton Young was given a 10 minute game misconduct for “abuse of officials.” Later on, some continued pushing and shoving from both sides led to some pretty animated outbursts from both teams. 

With under a minute left in regulation, Gylander went to the bench for an extra attacker. This quickly led to a last-ditch effort by the Raiders to even the score. As time (seemingly) ran out and fans poured out of the arena, the referees went to the review table to add some extra time on the clock. 

The additional 1.2 seconds did not impact anything and the Bobcats were able to start off conference play with their first win. While the team has a short turnaround before tomorrow’s game against Cornell, they are preparing for it just like any other game.

“We prepare the same way,” Metsa said. “Obviously, the ECAC means a little bit more … every game matters.”

Quinnipiac will welcome the Big Red to town on Saturday with puck drop scheduled for 7 p.m.