No. 2/3 Bobcats pummel RPI 8-3 on home ice, unbeaten streak reaches a dozen


Casey Wiederhold

The No. 2/3 Quinnipiac men’s hockey team won its ninth game in ECAC Hockey play this season on Friday.

Jennifer Moglia, Staff Writer

HAMDEN, Conn – Propelled by a five-goal second period, the No. 2/3 Quinnipiac men’s hockey team climbed out to an 8-3 win over the RPI Friday night, remaining undefeated in ECAC Hockey play.

This game wasn’t won by one player, as 15 Bobcats recorded a point, and eight of them had multiple. On the other side, the standouts for the Engineers were senior forward Ryan Mahshie and freshman forward Sutter Muzzatti, who each recorded three points, both having a hand in all three RPI goals.

Graduate student forward Ethan de Jong got to write his name in the record books once again, recording a team-high three points, all of them assists. He is the first Quinnipiac player to complete this feat since he did it himself on March 5, 2021, against Colgate.

The first period was complete offensive domination for the Bobcats. They scored for the first time under five minutes into the first period.

A wrist shot by freshman forward Sam Lipkin got the Bobcats on the board. Junior defenseman Iivari Räsänen and graduate student defenseman Jacob Nordqvist were credited with the assists.

Lipkin, named ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Month last week, is making his first collegiate season one to remember. He had a goal and an assist in the game, bringing his point total for the season to 14 in 17 games. Half of those points (seven) were recorded in the last six games.

Graduate student forward Michael Lombardi sung Lipkin’s praises, along with freshman forward Victor Czerneckianair, commenting on how well they’ve assimilated into the team.

“They’ve all been great so far … they work really hard,” Lombardi said postgame. “It’s a tough team to come into with a lot of older guys and they’ve done a good job gelling.”

Sophomore forward Christophe Fillion set up the second goal of the game with a tic-tac-toe pass. The aforementioned Czerneckianair got his stick on another pass from sophomore Cristophe Tellier to add another goal to the Bobcats’ lead.

The third goal quickly followed when de Jong passed the puck to graduate student forward Desi Burgart from the blue line, who followed through to make it 3-0 Bobcats.

RPI then swapped goaltenders, taking sophomore Jack Watson out of the game after giving up three goals on just ten shots. Freshman goaltender Carson Cherepak then slotted in for the Engineers, but his fate wasn’t much brighter.

A five-goal middle frame for the Bobcats extended their lead, while RPI could only engineer one goal into existence.

Quinnipiac opened the scoring once again, this time with a shot from senior forward Joey Cipollone and assists from Lombardi and graduate student forward TJ Friedmann. A Quinnipiac turnover led to the Engineers’ only tally of the period, scored by Mahshie and assisted by Muzzatti.

If “Really Don’t Care” by Demi Lovato being played over the arena speakers wasn’t enough to convince RPI that the Bobcats were unfazed, the four goals that followed might have done the trick.

The first two goals were just 25 seconds apart, starting with a Fillion goal that Tellier and graduate student defenseman Jake Johnson also snagged points on. Lombardi then recorded his second point and first goal of the night, with the helpers going to Räsänen and Friedmann.

After the scoreboard changed to 6-1, Quinnipiac swapped sophomore goaltender Yaniv Perets for freshman goaltender Chase Clark, who hadn’t played in two months. Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold shared that it just felt like the right time to give him some ice.

“I wanted to get him a little more … most of our games have been really close,” Pecknold said. “He’s a good player, he’s working hard, he’s getting better, and he’s going to be a good goalie for us down the line.”

Mahshie was called for slashing about halfway through the middle frame, giving the Bobcats their first power play of the night. This led to sophomore forward Collin Graf’s first goal of the night, assisted by de Jong and Lipkin, putting Quinnipiac up by six.

The Bobcats went on to score one more goal before their offense quieted down. As the second period came to a close, Johnson scored on a snapshot on passes from de Jong and freshman defenseman Charles Alexis Legault.

The only goals scored in the third period were courtesy of the Engineers. Just 22 seconds into the final frame, Muzzatti scored a goal of his own, this time assisted by Mahshie. About six minutes later, Mahshie tallied yet another with helpers from Muzzatti and freshman defenseman Nick Ardanaz.

Pecknold was impressed with how the team played, even with a significant lead.

“It was 8-1 and we had a couple of great backchecks, (the) guys (were) still working,” Pecknold said.

According to de Jong, the team could have done better at keeping the pressure on the Engineers, even when up by five.

“We’ve just got to dial in defensively … that third period was pretty awful,” he said. “Our details were lacking, we were leaving guys open in the slot.”

The final few minutes of this game just felt like both teams were running out the clock – it was clear that RPI wouldn’t be able to complete the comeback and Quinnipiac’s five-goal lead was safe. The Bobcats won 8-3, improving to 9-0-0 in conference play and increasing their unbeaten streak to 12.

Quinnipiac will face Union on the second day of back-to-back games at M&T Bank Arena tomorrow night. When asked how he thought the matchup would go, de Jong had faith in his team coming off of a big win.

“We’ve just got to reset here, get ready for tomorrow, get those details back,” de Jong said. “It’s going to be a better game tomorrow.”