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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Sharks don’t swim in the Bank: Quinnipiac downs LIU 4-2

Sophomore+forward+Victor+Czerneckianair+watches+the+puck+against+LIU+on+December+8%2C+2023.
Tripp Menhall
Sophomore forward Victor Czerneckianair watches the puck against LIU on December 8, 2023.

HAMDEN — Quinnipiac men’s hockey delivered an early holiday gift Saturday in its second-to-last game of 2023, claiming a 4-2 win over LIU.

But the win did not come easily.

“You win a national championship, you think it’s going to be easy,” head coach Rand Pecknold said. “It’s not easy. You got to find a way to grind it out every night.”

In the 2022-23 season, the Sharks were the only team to defeat the reigning champions on their home ice. This time, the end result was different. And yet, the Bobcats still struggled. 

Quinnipiac jumped out aggressively on offense, but LIU proved to be tougher than expected. 

It took not one, not two, but three goals for the Bobcats to get on the board. 

“It’s more mental than physical,” junior forward Collin Graf said. “If you keep getting frustrated then (opponents) take you out of the game.”

With 14:27 remaining in the first period, Graf slipped the puck past LIU graduate student goaltender Brandon Perrone. The Sharks challenged the goal for offsides, stripping the Bobcats of a quick 1-0 lead.

A long shot to the back of the net from junior defender Davis Pennington shook the arena, only to be challenged yet again for goaltender interference. 

“We were getting good chances,” Graf said. “We just need to keep getting pucks on net, especially with traffic.”

Quinnipiac finally caught a break on the power play, as junior forward Jacob Quillan netted the Bobcats’ first goal of the night. 

But the Sharks bit back. Immediately after returning to full strength, LIU went on the power play and senior forward Nolan Welsh secured the equalizer to end the first period at one.

LIU capitalized early into the second period when sophomore forward Isiah Fox received a pass in front of the net. Fox lifted the puck above Quinnipiac’s freshman goaltender Matej Marinov to take a 2-1 lead.

Quinnipiac went on the penalty kill at 15 minutes, eyeing the tying goal. Thanks to a zinger to the lower left-hand side of the net from Graf, the Bobcats evened the game 2-2.

Both teams remained scoreless for the remainder of the second period. It wasn’t until 15:31 in the third that Quinnipiac made some noise. Graduate student forward Zach Tupker tipped in the go-ahead goal for the Bobcats, but the job wasn’t finished.

“We treat it like any other game,” captain and graduate student defender Jayden Lee said. “We protect our home ice. We come in with the same attitude.”

The Sharks were awarded a power play with less than four minutes in regulation. LIU emptied its net for a six-on-four matchup that nearly snapped Quinnipiac’s lead. 

Marinov had cleared the puck, essentially leaving an empty net for LIU to tie the game. Sophomore defender Cade Mason took an open shot, but it was Tupker who instinctively stuck his stick in the air to deflect the puck and avoid overtime.

“We had to be strong,” Pecknold said. “It’s unfortunate. We had to be six-on-four and not six-on-five.”

For the icing on the cake, Graf earned his third point of the game with an unassisted empty-net goal with 1.2 seconds to go. 

“When he’s in there it changes everything,” Pecknold said of Graf. “He just makes everybody better.”

Ultimately, the Bobcats pulled out the 4-2 win, but it wasn’t pretty. Quinnipiac had 26 blocked shots and was plagued by unpolished passing and a lack of execution on offense. 

“We weren’t perfect tonight,” Pecknold said. “But we did what we needed to (do).” 

Quinnipiac takes the ice again Dec. 30 against Holy Cross. Puck drop is at 7 p.m.

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Amanda Dronzek, Associate Sports Editor
Tripp Menhall, Associate Photography Editor

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