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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Quinnipiac handles business, wins Game 1 of ECAC Quarterfinals 5-1

Nicholas Pestritto
Senior forward, Travis Treloar, attempts to avoid an opponent in a rush toward the net during Game 1 of the ECAC Quarterfinals against RPI on March 15, 2024, at the M&T Bank Arena.

HAMDEN — It may have not been Quinnipiac men’s hockey’s best showing, but it was good enough. The Bobcats handled RPI 5-1 en route to a Game 1 win in the ECAC Hockey quarterfinals Friday night. 

“I thought we were a little dishonest … I thought we cheated the game,” head coach Rand Pecknold said. “We got in a little bit of a track meet there, and we don’t need to do that.” 

Quinnipiac — coming off nearly two weeks rest — bolted out of the gates to start. Just over a minute into the game the sophomore forwards went to work. Victor Czerneckianair fired a shot that RPI junior goaltender Jack Watson couldn’t squeeze and Anthony Cipollone crashed the net to give the Bobcats an early lead. 

“Anthony, I thought, was one of our better players,” Pecknold said. “(The fourth line) has been good all year. You want to win in the playoffs, you have to have four lines.” 

After that the Engineers turned the opening period into a grinding playoff matchup. 

Once RPI settled down — coming off a 3-2 upset win over No. 5 Clarkson — its pesky playstyle got to Quinnipiac. The visitors were throwing their bodies at any and all shots and weren’t afraid of messing around in the faceoff circle. 

“I got frustrated a little bit … I thought there was some faceoff interference … But give them credit, they were getting away with it,” Pecknold said. “We have to be better at fighting through picks, slash on the hands and interference. We have to adapt to how the officials are calling the game.” 

While the Bobcats may have struggled to adapt, their skill outshined it. Much like in the first, they came out hot in the second. Junior forward Jacob Quillan took advantage of a downed Engineer to find a loose puck and slam it home for his 14th of the season. 

“He was a beast … It’s so different playing with him than anyone else,” freshman forward Mason Marcellus said. “It’s like a Greek god out there.” 

RPI didn’t shrink back down to size though. Sophomore defenseman Nick Ardanaz used an extra effort to collect his own rebound and light the lamp to cut the lead in half. 

“We had a little mishap defensively,” Marcellus said. “Rand was just saying ‘be hard, stick to your details.’” 

The goal was the only one of the night for the Engineer’s, a large part in thanks to senior goaltender Vinnny Duplessis, who had 20 saves. 

“I thought he was excellent … I thought he was locked in,” Pecknold said. “He’s a veteran, he’s played in this type of environment before.” 

The Bobcats bounced back less than three minutes later with their own bid to appear on “SportsCenter” tonight. Freshman forward Andon Cerbone sent Marcellus a give-and-go pass that was beautifully executed as Cerbone tapped in Marcellus’ feed. 

“Mason and I have pretty good chemistry together,” Cerbone said. “We locked eyes so I knew it was coming back so I just went to the net and he put it right on the tape.” 

The third period was clean-up duty for Quinnipiac. Junior forwards Sam Lipkin and Collin Graf both added to the late-game onslaught to secure the win. 

“The higher the pace the better it is for us,” Cerbone said. “Because nobody can play at the pace we play at.”

Now, the Bobcats have a chance to punch their ticket to Lake Placid, New York, and the ECAC Hockey Championship weekend with a win Saturday. 

Puck drop in Hamden is set for 7 p.m.

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Colin Kennedy
Colin Kennedy, Managing Editor

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