No. 2/3 Quinnipiac fights off holiday rust, beats Holy Cross 4-1


Cameron Levasseur

Quinnipiac men’s hockey defeated Holy Cross 4-1 Friday night, the Bobcats’ 12th straight victory over the Crusaders, without a loss to their Atlantic Hockey opponent since 2005.

Cameron Levasseur, Sports Editor

20 days removed from its last game, No. 2/3 Quinnipiac men’s hockey battled rust and a gritty Holy Cross team in a 4-1 victory over the Crusaders Friday night. 

The Bobcats were missing both head coach Rand Pecknold and freshman forward Sam Lipkin in the game as the pair look to bring home the gold medal with Team USA at the IIHF World Junior Championships. That shakeup gave the Bobcats’ prolific top line a new look, with sophomore Cristophe Tellier slotting in on the left wing spot typically occupied by Lipkin. 

His absence proved no issue for Quinnipiac as that first line of Tellier and sophomores Jacob Quillan and Collin Graf tallied two of the Bobcats’ four goals on the evening, including the game winner. 

The opening period saw little action from either side as both teams shook off the holiday rust. 

After a brief early flurry that gave the Bobcats their only grade-A chance of the period – a two-on-zero that graduate student forward Desi Burgart rang off the crossbar – Holy Cross was able to settle into its game, clogging up the slot area and forcing Quinnipiac to shoot from wide, leading to five blocked shots for the Crusaders in the period. 

Holy Cross came out firing to start the second period. The Crusaders created several odd-man chances off Quinnipiac turnovers in the first minute and were eventually able to sneak one past Quinnipiac sophomore goaltender Yaniv Perets. 

A shot from the point created three rebound opportunities for Holy Cross, the last chance swatted home by junior forward Lucas Thorne as the Bobcats failed to clear the front of the net. 

Thorne’s opening goal seemed to serve as a wake up call for the Bobcats, who responded back on the scoreboard immediately. 

Tic-tac-toe passing from Quinnipiac’s first line turned the Crusaders’ defense inside out, leaving Quillan wide open as he cut across the crease and tucked one past junior goaltender Jason Grande. 

Quillan wasn’t done for the period, as more smooth passing from the top line ended with a one-timer from the Nova Scotia native into a wide-open right side of the net. 

The third period was a stagnant one until the waning minutes, neither team created many quality looks and the shots that did find the net were eaten up by Perets and Grande. 

That changed with just over five minutes to play. A dangerous open ice hit to the head by Holy Cross junior defenseman Jack Robilotti on Burgart left the Bobcat on the ice for several minutes. 

Robilotti received a five minute major and a game misconduct for the hit. Matching minors were also assessed to Quinnipiac graduate student forward Ethan de Jong and Holy Cross senior forward Bobby Young for the melee that ensued in the wake of the hit. 

Burgart has already missed three games with injury this season due to an awkward hit he took against Princeton in November. 

The Bobcats did themselves no favors early in the major power play, as an offensive zone penalty on senior forward Skyler Brind’Amour made the game four-on-four and then a five-on-four advantage for the Crusaders as they pulled their goaltender. 

Here Holy Cross generated some of its best offensive pressure of the game, creating several good looks, though none good enough to beat Perets. The Bobcats regained their footing as Brind’Amour exited the penalty box, a stretch pass from senior defenseman CJ McGee springing the 2017 Edmonton Oilers’ sixth round pick in the neutral zone, who then put the dagger into the empty net. 

Not quite done yet, Quinnipiac’s offense put on another surge in the last minute of play, as graduate student forward TJ Friedmann chipped home a bouncing puck in front of the net to extend the Bobcats’ lead to three – where it would stand at the final whistle. 

It was the 12th straight win for Quinnipiac over Holy Cross, as the Crusaders have only beaten the Bobcats three times in 30 meetings, their last victory coming in 2005. 

Quinnipiac now prepares for a vital weekend of conference play, facing Dartmouth Friday night before an ECAC Hockey title game rematch against No. 9 Harvard Saturday, the latter contest the biggest of the season for the Bobcats thus far. Puck drop for both games is set for 7 p.m.