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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Quinnipiac, top-seeded Boston College set for regional final bout

Peyton McKenzie
Quinnipiac senior goaltender Vinny Duplessis reaches up to grab a puck during the second period of the Bobcats’ win over Wisconsin in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Amica Mutual Pavilion in Providence, Rhode Island on March 29.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Survive and advance, that’s the motto. And that’s exactly what No. 9 Quinnipiac men’s hockey did in its NCAA Tournament opener Friday night, outlasting Wisconsin in overtime to set up a date with No. 1 Boston College in the regional final Sunday. 

It’s the third-straight season the Bobcats will play for the right to advance to the Frozen Four and the second time that road will run through the tournament’s overall top seed. 

In 2022, Quinnipiac met a high-flying Michigan team with an NCAA-record seven NHL first round draft picks. The Wolverines overwhelmed the Bobcats early and late comeback attempt fell short in a 7-4 loss. Sunday’s contest against BC will be an eerily similar clash of styles. 

The Hockey East champion Eagles (35-4-1) have the most electric line in college hockey, featuring 2024 first round picks Will Smith, Gabe Perreault and Ryan Leonard. Combined, the trio boasts an impressive 182 points this season. Smith’s 68 points leads the NCAA. 

If that wasn’t enough, BC also has the nation’s leading goal scorer — sophomore Cutter Gauthier — who’s 37 tallies in 38 games is already the most of any player since Ryan Poltuny in 2005-06. 

Gauthier began his phenomenal season in Hamden, scoring the overtime winner to spoil Quinnipiac’s banner raising night in October. 

Now, as the Bobcats and Eagles meet again in the NCAA Tournament, Quinnipiac is hoping to be the one to end it. 

On paper, the Bobcats are BC’s perfect counter. Their commitment to puck management and controlling the neutral zone is the key to slowing down the Eagles’ transition reliant attack. But that was the same message ahead of the bout with Michigan two years ago, and the Wolverines dominated the first two periods of the game. 

Quinnipiac’s systems have to be near perfect in order to win this game. They were in stretches against Wisconsin Friday. The Bobcats allowed just four shots in the first period and two in the final 16 minutes of the second, playing some of their most sound defensive hockey of the season. 

“We were all in,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said Friday. “The guys had blind faith. We put a specific plan in place: this is how we need to win this hockey game … we asked them to have some blind faith in us and just accept it and do it, and they did it. We’ve had times this year where the buy in’s been good, but not all in, and that’s probably the difference. Today they were all in.”

But in that four-minute stretch to start the second period, Quinnipiac crumbled. It collapsed in on itself in the wake of a poor turnover and went from a one-goal lead to a one-goal deficit in the blink of an eye. 

That cannot happen Sunday. In BC’s first round matchup against No. 16 Michigan Tech, the Huskies managed to hang around for two periods because they committed to a physical, play-driving brand of hockey that the Eagles were woefully unprepared to face. 

But the Huskies stumbled in the third period and BC took advantage, breaking through in transition four times in seven minutes to stretch a 2-1 lead to 6-1.   

The reigning national champion has failed to reach the Frozen Four in every year but one in the last decade. That lone team, 2019 Minnesota Duluth, repeated as king of college hockey. 

Quinnipiac has a chance to be the second. The odds are against the Bobcats, but they’re no stranger to being the underdog against a heavyweight. Ask Minnesota how that worked out. 

Puck drop for Sunday’s game at Amica Mutual Pavilion is set for 4 p.m.

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

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