Efficient offense, stout defense propel Quinnipiac to 4-1 road win over Princeton

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Jack Spiegel

Quinnipiac’s 4-1 victory on Friday was the team’s sixth-straight victory and fifth-straight against ECAC Hockey opponents

Michael LaRocca, Opinion Editor

PRINCETON, N.J. – In a run of the mill first matchup of a home-and-away series, Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey (8-1-2) took down the Princeton Tigers (2-4)) handily on Friday, winning 4-1 on the historic ice of Princeton’s Hobey Baker Rink. 

Heading into the matchup, Quinnipiac was faced with one of its more difficult goaltender matchups of the season thus far. Princeton’s sophomore goaltender Ethan Pearson was the nation’s leader in goals against average (0.67) and save percentage (.976). 

Those numbers didn’t last long against the Bobcats’ ninth-ranked scoring offense. 

The game’s first 10 minutes were a burst of fast and physical hockey, with each side bringing the puck up ice, but neither being able to put anything on net. That changed at the 11:32 mark of the first period, when senior forward Skyler Brind’Amour slotted one past Pearson to give Quinnipiac a 1-0 lead off feeds from freshman defenseman Charles-Alexis Legault and graduate student forward Ethan de Jong. 

That lead was eventually doubled four minutes later when senior forward Joey Cipollone took a pass up ice, weaved his way through the Tigers’ defense and buried a backhander, giving the Bobcats a 2-0 lead going into the first intermission. 

“I thought our first period was very good,” Quinnipiac associate head coach Joe Dumais said. “We kind of grinded it out. Princeton’s a good team, they’re a fast team that puts you in uncomfortable situations. It’s a small rink, here, things happen really fast and I thought our guys did a good job of executing.”

Penalties were a big component of the matchup. Each side went on the power play five times throughout the three periods, however, only one goal was scored on special teams. That crucial shot came nine minutes into the second period when freshman forward Sam Lipkin put home a one-timer from graduate student defenseman Zach Metsa to make the score 3-0 Bobcats. The goal was the first of Lipkin’s collegiate career. 

If the three-goal lead was not enough for the Bobcats to feel in control, they certainly were at the beginning of the third period. 34 seconds in, graduate student forward T.J. Friedmann put home a rebound, to extend the  Quinnipiac advantage to four, essentially finishing the Tigers off for good. 

The Tigers did not let themselves get shut out however, as sophomore defenseman Noah de la Durantaye hit paydirt after a flurry of shots got the best of Quinnipiac sophomore goaltender Yaniv Perets, making the score 4-1 Bobcats. 

Without this goal, the Tiger faithful would not have been able to enjoy Hobey Baker Rink’s beautiful orange and black light show while being serenaded by the now-iconic Narco by Blasterjaxx and Timmy Trumpet. 

After the de la Durantaye goal, both sides essentially ran the clock out on themselves. The most exciting moment to occur in the final five minutes was watching Quinnipiac graduate student forward Michael Lombardi whiff on two chances at an empty-net as time expired, resulting in a 4-1 final score. 

Despite scoring four goals, the Bobcats were only able to muster up 18 total shots on goal, their lowest total of the season thus far. The team however, wasn’t worried about it. 

“If we have 50 shots on net, like we did last year against Harvard, and we score two goals, who cares?” Dumais said. “Tonight was about efficiency, and we buried chances that we needed to bury. Scoring four goals is not easy, and we’re happy with the four goals we got.”

Something that can only be done when playing a team twice in such a short span, Quinnipiac has goals for how the team can improve its performance after such a short turnaround. 

“We have to manage Princeton’s speed,” Dumais said. “I thought they did a really good job of attacking us through the neutral zone with speed. We’re going to make sure we slow them down.”

The Bobcats and the Tigers will now look forward to Saturday night’s matchup, except this time, there will be a change of scenery. The teams will make the trip to Hamden to play at M&T Bank Arena at 7 p.m. as Quinnipiac looks to remain undefeated in conference play.