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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Quinnipiac knocks out Wisconsin in overtime, advances to NCAA Regional Final

Peyton McKenzie
Quinnipiac sophomore forward Victor Czerneckianair is swarmed by his teammates after scoring the overtime game winner against Wisconsin in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Amica Mutual Pavilion in Providence, Rhode Island on March 29.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Quinnipiac men’s hockey went 1-5-2 in overtime in the regular season. After Friday night’s NCAA Tournament opening battle with Wisconsin, the Bobcats are 1-0 in the postseason. Sophomore forward Victor Czerneckianair found paydirt midway through the extra frame to seal a 3-2 victory. 

Junior defenseman Davis Pennington aired a stretch pass through two zones to senior forward Travis Treloar waiting on the offensive blue line. Treloar hit Czerneckianair cutting to the net, who beat Wisconsin senior goaltender Kyle McClellan shortside for the game winner. 

“I saw Trav lifting his stick to Penny, kind of alerting him that they made a bad change,” Czerneckianair said. “I think from there I just tried to stay onsides and find a lane to the net.”

The Bobcats advance to face No. 1 Boston College in the Providence Regional Final at 4 p.m. Sunday, looking to punch their ticket to a second-straight Frozen Four. 

“We just battled,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “There was no panic, there was no worry on the bench. We really felt like we were going to win.”

Coming off a disappointing shutout loss to St. Lawrence in the ECAC Semifinal last weekend, Quinnipiac had to come out of the gate firing. 

Badgers head coach Mike Hastings knew it. He predicted as much in a press conference the day prior. 

“They’re going to come out running downhill, so you’ve got to be able to withstand a punch,” Hastings said Thursday.

So Wisconsin was well aware of the game plan when it stepped into the ring Friday evening. The Badgers still got dropped on the first punch. 

Junior forward Cristophe Tellier collected the puck at the right faceoff dot and fed senior forward Christophe Fillion cutting backdoor to give the Bobcats the lead barely two minutes into the game. 

“We knew what we had to do coming into this game,” Fillion said. “We needed to hunt.”

Junior forward Christophe Fillion celebrates after scoring the opening goal for the Bobcats against Wisconsin. (Peyton McKenzie)

Quinnipiac played suffocating defense in the first period. Wisconsin struggled to get pucks through the neutral zone, and even when it did, it had more difficulty getting them on net. After 20 minutes, the Badgers had just four shots on goal. 

The second period was a different story. Wisconsin came out of the locker room swinging, equalling its first period shot total in the first four minutes of the middle frame. Two of those shots found twine and all of a sudden it was Quinnipiac on the mat, staring up a 2-1 deficit. 

“I think that first is huge, any game you play … that gave us a lot of confidence,” Pecknold said. “Then you flip the script and we’re down 2-1.”

The Bobcats’ near-perfect defense crumbled in response to the Badgers’ counterpunch. Senior defenseman Cooper Moore, under little pressure breaking the puck out of the zone, sent a muffin up the center of the ice that Wisconsin freshman forward Quinn Finley grabbed and stuffed past Duplessis. 

On the Badgers’ second tally, Quinnipiac failed to pick up freshman defenseman Joe Palodichuk as he swung around the net, following his own shot for a wrap-around goal. 

But in the minutes that followed, the Bobcats stood back up and kept fighting. Their defense kept things level, holding Wisconsin to just two shots in the final 16 minutes of the period as their offense searched for openings. 

“I liked our push back,” Pecknold said. “I thought we punched back hard and got back into it.”

Czerneckianair delivered a jab that just missed, beating Badgers senior goaltender Kyle McClellan, but not the post. 

Czerneckianair buries the game-winning shot past Wisconsin senior goaltender Kyle McClellan. (Peyton McKenzie)

His next swing connected. Czerneckianair cleaned up the rebound off a point shot to tie the game at two in the dying minutes of the second. 

The game opened up the third period, both teams throwing haymakers in transition trying to find a winner. No one did, so for its second-straight NCAA Tournament game, Quinnipiac headed to overtime. 

And for the second-straight game, a Bobcat played hero. This time it was Czerneckianair. One punch. Knockout.

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About the Contributors
Cameron Levasseur
Cameron Levasseur, Sports Editor
Peyton McKenzie
Peyton McKenzie, Creative Director

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