‘This is an opportunity for us to win something special’: Quinnipiac, Michigan analyze Frozen Four matchup


Aidan Sheedy

Quinnipiac captain and graduate student defenseman Zach Metsa was third on the Bobcats this season with 25 assists.

Colin Kennedy, Staff Writer

TAMPA, Fla. – Before the puck drops in Tampa, members of the Quinnipiac and Michigan men’s hockey teams discussed Thursday’s NCAA Division I semifinal matchup with the media. 

Despite the two teams’ different playing styles and approach, they both echoed a similar sentiment — they can’t wait until Thursday night. 

“We’re really just anxious to get the game going,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “Can we move the game up?” 

Although the Bobcats are anxious to get the game going, they will also be anxious having to defend the Wolverines’ potent offensive attack. Led by freshman forward and Hobey Baker hat-trick finalist Adam Fantilli, Quinnipiac is well aware that to advance to the national championship it will have to slow down Fantilli. 

“He’s a thoroughbred,” Pecknold said. “He’s going to beat people, it’s gonna happen, we know that.” 

For the Bobcats, they know Michigan might have more talent on paper, but they believe their culture sets them apart from the other teams in Tampa. 

“We always hear teams are more talented than us,” graduate student defenseman Zach Metsa said. “As a cohesive unit I’d put us up there against any other team in the country”

Senior defenseman Jayden Lee echoed Metsa’s sentiments. 

“We might not necessarily out-skill a team, but we’ll grind other teams down,” Lee said. “When everyone’s going we can beat anyone.” 

Michigan, on the other hand, has out-skilled teams all year, with this year marking its second consecutive Frozen Four appearance, and third in the past five seasons. 

“We’re here on a business trip,” sophomore forward Dylan Duke said.  “We’re enjoying it but we’re also preparing for (the game).” 

Not only are the Wolverines familiar with the biggest stage in college hockey, but they are also familiar with facing off against the Bobcats under the bright lights. In last year’s regional final in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Michigan defeated Quinnipiac 7-4. 

“We respect Quinnipiac, they’re a well coached team, very predictable in what they do,” Michigan head coach Brandon Naurato said. ”We played them last year so there is some familiarity there.” 

For the Wolverines, it isn’t as much as who is across the ice, but how they perform with things in their control. 

“It’s about what we do and how Michigan plays,” Duke said.  “We are just going to prepare like it is any other team and be ready to go.”

Michigan is known nationally for its elite offense, but another elite factor in its team is its confidence level. 

“You can’t really explain it, we’re jacked up,” freshman forward Gavin Brindley said. “It’s gonna be a battle, they’re a really good team, but we’re a really good team too.” 

It’s clear both teams believe they’ll be on the right side of history, but by Friday morning, one team will be heading to the national championship and the other will be on a plane home. 

“This is an opportunity for us to win something special,” Metsa said. “It would mean the world to bring a national championship back to Quinnipiac.”