Quinnipiac gave Yaniv Perets a chance, and it paid off


Aidan Sheedy

Quinnipiac sophomore goaltender Yaniv Perets has recorded 21 career shutouts in two years with the Bobcats, putting him in a tie for third in the NCAA all time.

Cameron Levasseur, Sports Editor

 TAMPA, Fla. – Two and a half years ago, Yaniv Perets was unknown. 

The now-sophomore goaltender joined Quinnipiac men’s hockey halfway through the 2020-21 season, appeared in two games and only saw nine shots. 

“My first priority when I got here two years ago was just to play,” Perets said. “I was just trying to hopefully get a start.”

Now, he’s a Hobey Baker and Mike Richter Award finalist, NCAA record holder and most importantly, a national champion. 

As “Party in the U.S.A.” by Miley Cyrus blasted through the Bobcats locker room and shouts from teammates rang out on all sides, Perets sat in his stall and stared at the trophy. He couldn’t believe it. 

Quinnipiac sophomore goaltender Yaniv Perets admires the NCAA championship trophy after the Bobcats beat Minnesota 3-2 in the title game on April 8 at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. (Aidan Sheedy)

“I know (the trophy is) right in front of me, but I don’t think it’s hit me yet,” Perets said. “I feel like I’d be in tears … but just the way you have to be on the ice, so even keel that emotions can’t get to you, so when it’s done, it doesn’t feel real.”

The title was certainly real, as was Perets’ unbelievable play in the run up to it. 

The Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec, native posted a nation-leading 34 wins and 1.49 goals against average this season, along with a .931 save percentage, which was two hundredths off the top mark in the NCAA.

He also won the ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Year (for the second-straight year), was named Second Team All-American East (for the second-straight year) and was named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team. 

Not that any of those things matter to Perets, a man who doesn’t know, nor care to know his own stats. 

“You kind of just quiet out all that extra stuff on the outside and just play,” Perets said. “It’s really just a game at the end of the day … I just try to keep it light. It’s still hockey, right?”

He follows a lineage of great goaltenders at Quinnipiac, including Eric Hartzell and Michael Garteig, who manned the net for the Bobcats on their runs to the title game in 2013 and 2016, respectively. 

“There’s a lot of similarities with the last two teams,” head coach Rand Pecknold said on March 26. “In all three of them, we have a goalie. You’ve got Hartzell, Garteig and now Yaniv, three special goaltenders at this level.”

In the national championship game, Quinnipiac allowed two goals in what was a rough opening 25 minutes – one off a poor turnover, the other off an inexplicable bounce off the end boards. But the Bobcats found their game, holding Minnesota to just seven shots in the final 35 minutes and 10 seconds. 

“The guys were going to work, the guys weren’t going anywhere,” Perets said. “It wasn’t our best first period, but … no one in this room doubted it for a second. Everyone was just like ‘hey, let’s just keep going, let’s just keep going,’ that’s all we know. The guys work so hard in practice and it comes out in a game, and that’s all we know, just keep going, keep going, keep going.”

When sophomore forward Jacob Quillan scored the winner 10 seconds into overtime, Perets was on the opposite end of the ice. He played no part in the play itself, but was every part of the reason the Bobcats got there. 

“(When it) went in, my heart dropped and I started skating, I was like ‘oh my god,’ just freaking out,” Perets said. “It was just crazy, but I had no doubt in the guys. I knew we had it.”

Quinnipiac was the only school to offer Perets a chance to play college hockey. He came to Hamden just looking to for a start, and has now written his name into history. But, as anyone would expect, the Bobcats humble netminder continued to deflect the praise. 

“Hats off to the guys, the staff, everyone who was part of this, man,” Perets said. “Everyone deserves it, this is absolutely nuts.”