Jacob Quillan shines in Frozen Four semifinal, rewrites Quinnipiac’s record book


Aidan Sheedy

Quinnipiac sophomore forward Jacob Quillan scores a goal on a breakaway during the first period of Thursday’s Frozen Four semifinal against Michigan.

Colin Kennedy, Staff Writer

TAMPA, Fla. — Every classic playoff run has that one player that stands out. The New England Patriots and Tom Brady in 2017. The Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant in 2009. The St. Louis Blues and Jordan Binnington in 2019. For the 2023 Quinnipiac men’s hockey team, that playoff hero is turning out to be sophomore forward Jacob Quillan. 

“Probably hasn’t really sunk in, probably will sink in in the next couple hours or so, maybe tomorrow,” Quillan said after the Bobcats’ 5-2 win over Michigan Thursday. “We’re excited.”   

Quillan has proven throughout the NCAA tournament that he isn’t afraid of the bright lights, tallying four goals in three games, including two against the Wolverines.  His four goals tie the program record for most in an NCAA Tournament, matching Matthew Peca’s mark from Quinnipiac’s run to the national championship game in 2013.   

“We play fast, we play north, that’s how we want to operate,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “I thought our culture came through.” 

Quillan certainly brought the Quinnipiac culture down to Tampa. Early in the first period he fired a shot from behind the net that redirected off Michigan junior goaltender Erik Portillo’s back. 

“Creating scrums in front of the net is part of the emphasis we had going into the game,” Quillan said. 

Sometimes players just have a knack for performing in big games; Quillan’s playoff magic was on full display throughout the first period. Only six minutes after his first goal, Quillan found himself all alone in the Michigan zone following a pass from freshman forward Sam Lipkin. Quillan buried the goal through Portillo’s five-hole, cementing his name in the Quinnipiac playoff record books. 

“Part of the keys we had going into the game was puck management, we want to take care of the puck and limit their chances,” Quillan said. “At the same time we want to pounce on offense.” 

Although the Nova Scotia native didn’t complete the hat trick, his breakout pass early in the third period led to the eventual game-winning goal from Lipkin, his 37th point on the year.

Heading into the semifinal matchup against Michigan the storylines painted the Wolverines as the more talented team on paper. Quillan’s performance was the perfect example that sometimes it’s better to be the underdog. 

“If you look at the talent Minnesota and Michigan have, a bunch of draft picks,” Quillan said. “Even though we’re defensive, we’ve got offensive guns too.” 

Despite the performance of a lifetime, Quillan has his eyes on the ultimate prize, a national championship. 

“Today is Michigan, tomorrow we’ll start focusing on Minnesota,” Quillan said. “Take it one step at a time from there.” 

When the Bobcats take the ice Saturday night against Minnesota, the lights will only be brighter and the stage will only be bigger. If Thursday showed anything, Jacob Quillan will be ready to go when the bell rings.