Bobcats dominate Battle of the Whitney Avenue, silence Yale with 5-1 victory


Peyton McKenzie

Freshman forward Sam Lipkin scored his eighth and ninth goals of the season in Friday’s 5-1 victory over Yale.

Alexandra Martinakova, Staff Writer

No. 1 Quinnipiac men’s hockey keeps the Heroes Hat after beating Yale 5-1 Friday, spurred on by a sold-out home crowd.

Sporting navy and gold, many Bobcats’ fans stood out hours before the doors opened, enduring freezing rain.

“Pulling up I thought they were crazy,” graduate student defenseman Zach Metsa said. “I didn’t expect them to be out in the rain, but that’s why we appreciate them. I mean, they bring this building alive and we wouldn’t have had the success we had over the years without them.”

With a crowd and energy that big, it’s easy to get lost in it and lose focus. Which is just about the best summary of the opening period.

Despite Quinnipiac typically outskating opponents, tonight the game started out slow for the Bobcats. Beautiful shots on goal from graduate student defenseman Jacob Nordqvist, sophomore forward Cristophe Tellier and freshman forward Anthony Cipollone kept Yale’s sophomore goaltender Luke Pearson on his toes, but the Bobcats left the first period goalless.

The same, however, cannot be said about the Bulldogs. Seven minutes in, Yale freshman forward David Chen picked up the puck just inside the Bobcats’ blue line, cutting to the net and besting Quinnipiac’s sophomore goaltender Yaniv Perets. Chen netted his sixth goal of the season and became the first Yale player to score against the Bobcats since 2020.

The second period opened in a similar manner: Slow. Not even a power play on either side was able to alter the flow. It wasn’t until with five minutes remaining  that the score finally changed. Quinnipiac freshman forward Sam Lipkin electrified his team and the arena with two goals in 37 seconds.  

“I came out of the box, I got the puck pretty quick and that’s my go to move, the low blocker.” Lipkin said. “It happened pretty quick, but you know, right place and right time.”

Lipkin’s goals changed the game instantly. The crowd got their second breath, just as the Bobcats  did on the ice. It didn’t take long for senior defenseman CJ McGee to follow Lipkin’s lead, catching a pass from sophomore forward Collin Graf and beating Pearson to raise the score to 3-1. Before the end of the second period, Perets made the most famous play of the night. Diving into a risky but an effective save, Perets caused the whole crowd to get so loud that the roof might’ve caved in.

“You don’t see that a lot,” head coach Rand Pecknold said. “[Perets is] a great goalie and he caught the Yale kid with his head down and it was a great save. It’s old school, but it worked.”

“It might’ve been the loudest I ever heard them, on the play from Yaniv. I don’t think I ever heard the crowd so loud before.” Metsa said.

Graf, who is breaking out in his sophomore season, netted his 18th goal of the campaign six minutes into the final period after tipping a Lipkin pass between Pearson’s pads. Tellier followed him two minutes later with a similar play, bringing the score to its final: 5-1 for the Bobcats.

Managing the four-goal advantage, Pecknold switched out Perets for freshman goaltender Chase Clark. Before this game, the first-year goalie only saw 50 minutes on ice in the five games he was put in. Tonight, however, his five minutes went untested, as Yale failed to record a shot on Clark. 

Naturally, a game with such high tensions is bound to bubble over at some point. Three minutes before the final buzzer, four penalties were called. Yale senior defenseman Ryan Carmichael got two minutes for a hit after the whistle on Quinnipiac  senior forward Joey Cipollone, who’s retaliation earned him an equal infraction. Yale senior forward Cole Donhauser got 12 minutes for the same penalty, eventually exiting the ice after escalating the conflict between Carmichael and Cipollone .

The unsuccessful power plays did not matter, as the final buzzer ended the game, 5-1 for the Bobcats over the Bulldogs in the Battle of Whitney Avenue.

Quinnipiac also clinched its third-straight Cleary Cup with the win, and No. 11 Cornell’s 4-3 loss to Clarkson. 

“It’s always our favorite game, it’s the game we circle on our calendars.” Metsa said. “It’s a great game, the fans are awesome and this is exactly how I’d want to end my career for a Yale game.”

Tonight’s game against Yale was Quinnipiac’s seventh win in a row in this season and the tenth consecutive win over the Bulldogs.

“I thought it was an interesting game tonight. Yale was really good, for about the first half they were all over us and we were struggling,” Pecknold said. “Then we got the Lipkin goal, we got some energy and then the game kind of flipped. It was a big win, we’ll take it and get ready for Brown tomorrow.”

Quinnipiac will face Brown Saturday at 7 p.m. for the team’s senior day and a celebration of its Cleary Cup win.