Perets leaves his signature on the night, Quinnipiac beats Princeton 4-1 in Hamden


Cameron Levasseur

Yaniv Perets recorded 30 saves en route to the Bobcats’ seventh-straight victory on Saturday night.

Ryan Raggio, Staff Writer

The battle of the cats concluded with the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team sweeping the season series against the Princeton Tigers with a 4-1 victory on a frigid Saturday night. 

In contrast to last night’s fast-paced start, the first seven minutes in the opening period showcased both teams analyzing each other despite having played 24 hours prior. Each team put shots on net, but nothing too difficult for either goaltender to stop. Hard work along the boards was prevalent throughout the period as both teams battled to gain possession in their respective offensive zones. 

Quinnipiac went on the first power play of the game with under 14 minutes to play in the first period. The Bobcats have excelled on the power play as of late, scoring nine goals in their last six games, a drastic turnaround from last season’s terrible man-advantage unit.

As the first power play unit entered the bench, senior defenseman Jayden Lee found the back of the net. Lee sniped a shot through a screen by graduate student forward Michael Lombardi giving Quinnipiac a 1-0 lead. 

The Tigers started the second period with intensity as they contained the Bobcats in their defensive zone for the first few minutes, creating turnovers in the process. Princeton took advantage of these turnovers, highlighted by a 3-on-1 opportunity two minutes into the period. 

Quinnipiac sophomore goaltender Yaniv Perets challenged senior forward Spencer Kersten as he fired a wrist shot from in between the hashmarks. Perets stood tall and made a right shoulder save, maintaining the one-goal lead. 

“Yaniv was our best player tonight,” head coach Rand Pecknold said. “He was outstanding. We gave up a lot of chances, more than I normally like and he bailed us out over and over again.”

The Bobcats were undisciplined to start the second period, taking two consecutive penalties. However, Perets continued his dominance and tamed the Tigers’ offensive chances for the remainder of the frame. 

With just over two minutes remaining in the period, graduate student forward TJ Friedmann poked it away from a defender along the boards and exploded out of the defensive zone with sophomore forward Jacob Quillan trailing in the middle. 

Quillan was slotted in at center tonight and Pecknold said it was his first time playing the position for Quinnipiac. 

“Q has been awesome,” Pecknold said. “He was in a tough spot last year. He played, but we were just so old and so deep and so good that he didn’t get as big of a role. We talked about during the year, ‘stay with it, stay with it you’ll have a bigger role this year.’ I’ve been really happy with him, he keeps getting better and better.”

Friedmann sauced a pass over the stick of a laid-out Princeton defender and Quillan buried the one-timer, top swiss, over the glove of sophomore goaltender Ethan Pearson to make it 2-0.

Later on, sophomore forward Collin Graf passed it up the boards from behind the net to graduate student defenseman Jake Johnson, who fired a ballistic missile from the blueline that went off of the right post and in. The goal was Johnson’s first in a Quinnipiac sweater. 

“(Johnson’s) been great,” Pecknold said. “He’s gotten better since the day he arrived here. He eats up a lot of minutes and does a nice job as a part of it.”

In the final period, Quinnipiac cleaned up a lot of its play. For the first 10 minutes, the Bobcats clamped the Tigers In their own defensive zone, produced tape-to-tape passes and grew wings as they were flying up and down the ice. 

As a result, Tigers skaters grew annoyed at their foiled attempts to claw their way back into the game. Graduate student forward Ethan de Jong skated after a puck in the Princeton zone and Kersten slammed de Jong into the boards head first, leading to a boarding penalty. 

Princeton junior forward Adam Robbins had a shorthanded breakaway after splitting the defense in an attempt to cut the lead to two, but Perets made the low-glove save, keeping his shutout intact with just under 10 minutes remaining in regulation. 

Princeton head coach Ron Fogarty pulled Pearson with three minutes left in the third period and 

found immediate results. Junior forward Nick Sietz cut through the top of the slot and fired a shot through Perets’ five-hole, bringing the Tigers to within two. 

The goal was a moot point as Lombardi slammed the door shut with an empty net goal, registering the Bobcats’ seventh win in a row. 

The numbers don’t give enough credit to Pearson as he made numerous tough saves on the Quinnipiac shooters, including multiple one-time shots and cross-crease attempts, sliding throughout the crease constantly. 

For Quinnipiac, Perets put on a clinic for the younger fans in attendance, making 30 saves on 31 shots and bailed out the defense after some miscues. After the game, kids would be shouting out to the Québec native for his autograph. 

“Yeah it’s super cool right,” Perets said. “After the game when I stayed, that’s the reason why so many people want to come play here because of the atmosphere and the fans that we have really brings a great atmosphere to the game and it makes it fun playing here a lot.”

After two dominating performances by Perets and the Bobcats, the team prepares to fly across the Atlantic to Belfast, Ireland to play Dartmouth in the Friendship Four tournament on Thursday, Nov. 25. Puck drop will be at 9 a.m., perfectly timed for those coming back home from Black Friday shopping.