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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Graf’s two goals, Duplessis’ near shutout author Quinnipiac’s 3-1 win over Princeton

Michael LaRocca
Quinnipiac senior Zach Tupker lines up to take a face-off in a game against Princeton on Jan. 13.

PRINCETON, NJ – After a 9-2 victory against Princeton in Hamden on Friday, the Bobcats traveled south to tussle with the Tigers again, prevailing 3-1 in a much more defensively sound game on Saturday.

Quinnipiac’s Vinny Duplessis, who was named to the Richter Award watchlist Friday, faced off against Princeton junior goaltender Ethan Pearson, both bringing out some of their best work this season. Pearson reached a season-high 35 saves in his first game since Dec. 9 and Duplessis kept the Tigers off the board for almost 59 minutes, nearly recording his third shutout as a Bobcat.

The quick turnaround for both sides after Friday’s game played a role in Saturday’s matchup, forcing them to adjust on the fly, but also reinforce what worked best originally.

“We made a ton (of adjustments) tonight,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “I think our game plan for the Friday game was pretty good. And we set the standard for us … (Princeton’s) well coached. They have a lot of pride. I knew it was going to be a different game. I knew they were going to be good tonight.”

Pearson stonewalled Quinnipiac to start the game as he recorded 14 saves in the first period, stopping quality chances from Bobcat junior forwards Collin Graf and Jacob Quillan. 

The Quinnipiac offense was hampered even further near the end of the frame when two quick penalties put Princeton on the 5-on-3. But it was the Bobcats who came the closest to scoring during that power play. Graduate student forward Zach Tupker intercepted a Tiger pass, but Pearson denied the short-handed breakaway with just seconds remaining in the period.

If the first period was just a taste of penalties, then the second period was the main course. Five combined penalties were assessed in the span of four minutes.

To this point, Pearson had kept the Bobcats off the scoreboard for more than 36 minutes, standing on his head against the defending national champions. But in the midst of a 4-on-3 power play for Quinnipiac, Graf broke the deadlock with a snipe from the point to make the score 1-0 Bobcats.

While the second period wasn’t clean by any means, Quinnipiac made the most of it.

“You just have to adapt as it goes,” Pecknold said. “Sometimes you get lots of penalties, sometimes you don’t and I thought we did a good job. I thought the second period was our best period today.”

There was life in Princeton at the end of the second period, but it was the start of the third when Quinnipiac robbed the Tigers of their soul. 

Off the opening draw, Quinnipiac ran a set play, graduate student defenseman Jayden Lee to sophomore forward Sam Lipkin to Quillan to Graf. The Bobcats scored just nine seconds into the period. Quillan even fought through a hold on the play, giving Quinnipiac a power play on top of the goal. 

For those watching live, the play may have seemed reminiscent of “The Jet,” the play that won Quinnipiac the national title against Minnesota. That’s because it was. 

“We obviously ran that faceoff play last year in the national championship game and it worked out again for the second time ever,” Graf said.

Lipkin later confirmed that the play was indeed “The Jet” and that the team has tried to run it several times this year.

“I think teams are able to catch onto it a little bit,” he said. “But obviously it still works.”

After several more minutes of fairly even skating, Princeton freshman defenseman Ian Devlin got sent off for roughing. On the ensuing power play, Quinnipiac made the score 3-0 after junior forward Christophe Fillion deflected a shot from senior defenseman Cooper Moore for his seventh goal of the season. 

The last remaining bit of action came with less than 90 seconds remaining in regulation. Princeton had the opportunity to break Duplessis’ shutout after a Quillan tripping minor, a facemask major from graduate student defenseman CJ McGee. Princeton head coach Ron Fogarty chose to pull Pearson, putting the Tiger offense on a rare 6-on-3. Princeton junior defenseman Noah de la Durantaye put the Tigers on the board and after a valiant rush, the buzzer sounded leaving Quinnipiac victorious 3-1. 

With the win, the Bobcats improve to 9-0-1 in conference play ahead of next weekend’s series in central New York against Colgate and Cornell. Quinnipiac has not won in that region since Jan. 21, 2022, when it defeated Colgate 5-1. 

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Michael LaRocca
Michael LaRocca, Opinion Editor

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