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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Once a Beanpot hero, Vinny Duplessis shows poise under pressure at CT Ice

Ethan Hurwitz
Senior goaltender Vinny Duplessis is 12-4-2 in 18 games played this season.

 HARTFORD — It certainly isn’t Boston and it most certainly isn’t the Beanpot.

But for Quinnipiac senior goaltender Vinny Duplessis, the Connecticut Ice Tournament felt just the same.

“I treat it the same … as any championship game,” Duplessis said after Saturday’s championship 4-3 victory over UConn. “It’s unreal to have the chance to play for a trophy.”

Unreal would be a mild way to describe Duplessis’ weekend in the most recent installment of CT Ice. Over a two-game stretch, the Bobcats’ newest netminder stopped 42 shots en route to a spot on the All-Tournament Team and the Most Outstanding Player award.

“Gotta give credit to Duplessis, he played really well,” UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh said Saturday. “He shut the door on us in the third … That’s hockey.”

Friday’s opener — a masterful 1-0 performance over rival Yale — was just an appetizer. Fourteen saves and Duplessis’ first shutout since Dec. 12 sent the Bobcats into the championship round for the third-straight season.

It wasn’t the flashiest game of hockey, as both sides struggled to muster up any offense. But in the end, the Bobcats defense stepped up and got the win.

“We made sure we were protecting the puck,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said Friday. “There’s no easy games and tonight was tough, that was a hard game.”

Not even 24 hours later, Duplessis gave fans the entire meal and then dessert. In a game which found Quinnipiac down 3-1 in the middle frame, he turned a corner and performed his magnum opus as a Bobcat netminder.

The former Boston University Terrier stopped 11 shots in the third period — including a frenzy in the final five minutes — helping the Bobcats to their third-straight championship win and Duplessis’ twelfth win of the year.

“There’s always that little extra desire to win towards the last couple minutes,” Duplessis said. “We want to show up every night and be the best we can.”

It’s been an off-and-on first half of the year for Duplessis, following national champion Yaniv Perets between the pipes and struggling at times late in games. But with the eyes of the state on him and a trophy on the line, he kicked his play into the next gear.

Duplessis’ play against the Huskies, combined with the stellar efforts of the Bobcats defensemen, shut down a UConn offense that was hard to shut down all weekend.

“I have a lot of trust in our defensemen, a big part of our game is to stay tight in the slot,” Duplessis said. “I made a lot of saves, I wasn’t really worried about it … Our team battled hard.”

He did make a lot of saves — 42 in two games. Not too shabby with a trophy in the balance.

“He just made saves,” Cavanaugh said. “I’m not a goaltending coach, but he made saves when he had to.”

Now with two in-season championships under his belt, including his 2022 Beanpot championship with the Terriers, the Quebec City native has bigger fish to fry as his first campaign in Hamden nears the postseason. A long road remains if the goaltender can help the Bobcats claim both the conference regular season and postseason titles, but if there’s award on the table, he will elevate his game.

“There’s a lot of bragging rights, being the champion in Connecticut is a little bit the same as being the champion in Boston,” Duplessis said. “We want to win trophies when they’re on the table.”

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Ethan Hurwitz, Sports Editor

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