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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Late collapse plays spoiler in Duplessis’ return to BU, Bobcats fall 3-2

Quinnipiac+senior+goaltender+Vinny+Duplessis+looks+for+the+puck+in+a+3-2+loss+to+the+BU+Terriers+on+Nov.+22%2C+2023.
Ethan Hurwitz
Quinnipiac senior goaltender Vinny Duplessis looks for the puck in a 3-2 loss to the BU Terriers on Nov. 22, 2023.

BOSTON — For Quinnipiac men’s hockey senior goaltender Vinny Duplessis, it was more than a normal regular season game. His return to Agganis Arena — where he spent three seasons as part of the Boston University Terriers – began with the netminder passing with flying colors. 

Yet, with seven minutes left in regulation and the Bobcats nursing a two-goal lead, his dream performance turned into a nightmare as the Bobcats imploded to drop a 3-2 stunner to BU Wednesday night.

“I’m frustrated,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “We need to put that game away. We gotta be better than that.”

Despite Pecknold calling his goaltender’s performance “really good,” Duplessis’ late struggles just compounded a heartbreaking loss that could have major postseason implications. 

“It’s a big win for us,” BU sophomore winger Ryan Greene said. “They’re the No. 1 team in the country, we’re No. 2 (in the Pairwise) … Being a comeback, it’s something we can build off of.”

Periods one and two were all goaltending. Both Duplessis and Terriers junior Mathieu Caron went back and forth for the first 40 minutes, trading impressive pad stops for sprawling glove saves.

“(Caron) was excellent tonight,” BU head coach Jay Pandolfo said. “Both goalies played very well.” 

The two goaltenders combined for 52 saves during the game, yet Caron made big ones down the stretch to limit the Bobcats’ powerplay attack. Quinnipiac’s man-advantage, which had scored seven times last weekend, went 0-for-5 against the Terriers’ penalty kill unit.

“I thought the penalty kill was great,” Pandolfo said. “At the end of the day, (Caron) was there anytime they had any quality chances.”

For Quinnipiac, those quality chances began to bounce its way to open the third period.

Just two and a half minutes into the final frame, freshman winger Andon Cerbone found a net-front puck — thanks to a perfect pass from graduate forward Zach Tupker — and placed it home for his fourth of the season. Moments later, sophomore defender Charles Alexis Legault launched a shot from the blue line, grazing a BU defender and sneaking it past Caron to double the lead. 

BU got one back with 13 to play — sophomore winger Jeremy Wilmer finished on what was a phenomenal passing attack — and the crowd began to pick up the energy.

For the next eight minutes and change, the Bobcats and Terriers would skate with the scoreboard showing the visitor’s slim lead. The game appeared decided, Duplessis yet to make any costly errors.

“We’re a great defensive hockey team, we got to put them away,” Pecknold said. “That was frustrating.”

With the time dwindling down, Greene put the game on his stick — not once, but twice.

His first goal was on a rebound that Duplessis lost sight of, evening the game with over four minutes left in the period. This was the goal that seemed to break the Bobcats’ spirit, as graduate defender and captain Jayden Lee fell to a knee in disbelief.

A few shifts later, Greene sniped the puck past Lee and Quinnipiac’s defense for the game-winning goal.

“Once we were able to tie it, I think from there, we just had so much momentum and energy that we were able to bury that last one,” Greene said. 

A tough ending for a Bobcats team who had played solid, winnable hockey for all of 50 minutes. Duplessis’ rebounds were costly for a team holding onto the top ranking in the Pairwise. 

“It’s a work in progress,” Pecknold said. “We’re trying to build, we’re trying to instill our culture.”

That Quinnipiac culture – which has raced out to a 9-4-1 record to begin its title defense – will be tested after an upcoming week off. The Bobcats will head back into their conference slate with games against RPI and Union to open up the December month.

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Ethan Hurwitz, Sports Editor

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    Brian SullivanNov 23, 2023 at 7:56 am

    The officials attendance is listed at 5,296; not sure where the “1,500” figure came from.

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