Quinnipiac punches ticket to Frozen Four with 4-1 win over Ohio State


Aidan Sheedy

Quinnipiac men’s hockey advances to its third Frozen Four in program history (2013, 2016) with a 4-1 win over Ohio State Sunday.

Cameron Levasseur, Sports Editor

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Nearly one year ago to the day, Quinnipiac men’s hockey’s season ended in heartbreaking fashion to Michigan in the NCAA Regional Final. This time around, with the Bobcats up against another Big Ten foe and a trip to the Frozen Four on the line, Quinnipiac seized the opportunity, stopping Ohio State 4-1 Sunday. 

It’s the Bobcats first berth to college hockey’s biggest stage since 2016. They will travel to Tampa, Florida, to face Michigan in the national semifinal at Amalie Arena on April 6. 

“We’re ecstatic to go back to the Frozen Four,” head coach Rand Pecknold said. “I’m just thrilled for these guys, I thought our culture came through tonight.”

The game got off to a poor start for Quinnipiac, as the Bobcats fell behind less than two minutes in.

An ill-timed pass across the top of the zone by graduate student defenseman Jacob Nordqvist sprung Buckeyes junior forward Joe Dunlap on a breakaway. Bobcats sophomore goaltender Yaniv Perets made the initial save, but momentum propelled the puck just over the goal line. 

When Quinnipiac fell into an early hole against Michigan in 2022, an onslaught of Wolverines pressure dug the team deeper and deeper until the score was 4-0. The Bobcats didn’t let that happen Sunday, roaring back in the late stages of the first period to score two goals within 15 seconds to take the lead. 

“I just was like, ‘Hey, it’s fine, we have adversity, we talk all the time about it,’” Pecknold said. “I thought we reloaded really well and the boys handled it very well.”

Quinnipiac’s first goal came off the stick of sophomore forward Christophe Fillion, who put home a rebound off a shot from freshman forward Victor Czerneckianair to equalize the game. 

Rebounds proved fatal for Buckeyes sophomore goaltender Jakub Dobeš. The Czech Republic native gave up another on the Bobcats’ next zone entry and they capitalized. Senior forward Skyler Brind’Amour found the back of the net to give his team a lead it would not relinquish. 

Ohio State tried its best to even the game in the second period, outshooting Quinnipiac 15-3 in the frame. But outstanding play from Perets and a Bobcats’ defense that limited opportunities close to the net maintained their lead at one. 

“It’s frustrating,” Buckeyes fifth-year forward Jake Wise said. “You outshoot them 2-to-1 and nothing’s going in. We had the puck almost the whole period and nothing’s going in … (Perets) played well. He’s a great goalie. There’s a reason he’s a finalist for the Richter.”

Still unable to crack stout defensive play by its opponent, Ohio State had a golden opportunity to finally break through in the third period when Quinnipiac freshman forward Sam Lipkin was called for cross-checking. The penalty was reviewed for a major penalty for head contact, but ultimately deemed a two-minute minor, giving the Bobcats’ penalty kill a sign of relief. 

Quinnipiac killed the penalty off and then killed any hope of a Buckeyes’ comeback by scoring the dagger with under five minutes to play. 

Sophomore forward Cristophe Tellier batted the puck out of midair over Dobeš to himself, finishing the self-alley oop to sink Ohio State. 

Officials called the play no goal on the ice to the surprise of an incredulous Tellier, who had already celebrated halfway down the ice. After review it was deemed the puck crossed the line and the Bobcats took a two-goal advantage. 

“I didn’t see much to be honest,” Tellier said. “I just flipped the puck up and it came back to my backhand and I just tried to whack at it and it went in.”

Senior defenseman Jayden Lee added an empty net tally in the minutes that followed and Quinnipiac skated into the Frozen Four with a resounding 4-1 win.

It’s the third Frozen Four appearance in program history for the Bobcats (2013, 2016), who will return to the site of the 2016 national title game that they lost to North Dakota. 

“It’s exciting,” Pecknold said. “The third one’s as good as the first two. Just happy for the guys in the room … thrilled for them, happy for Bobcat nation and everybody at Quinnipiac to get to experience this.”