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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Quinnipiac falls to Boston College in overtime thriller, ending title defense in regional final

Tripp Menhall
Quinnipiac players stand motionless after falling to Boston College 5-4 in overtime in the NCAA Regional Final at Amica Mutual Pavilion in Providence, Rhode Island on March 31.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Hockey is a game of inches. 

The one inch No. 9 Quinnipiac men’s hockey let up in the third period gave just enough room for No. 1 Boston College to tie the game. The one inch the puck trickled away from senior goaltender Vinny Duplessis in overtime was enough for the Eagles to win it, 5-4. 

“I’m really proud of these guys,” head coach Rand Pecknold said. “We wanted it … it’s disappointing right now. I love this group.”

Graduate student forward Jack Malone — who two hours earlier had his game-opening goal called back for a high stick — scored the winner. 

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Malone said. “If they want to take one away from us, that’s fine. We’ll just try to get it back.”

A scoreless first period devolved into a barnburner. Quinnipiac had the lead three times and BC fought back on each occasion. The Bobcats didn’t trail for a second of regulation, but left the ice heartbroken. 

“When you get into overtime, a lot of times it’s just a bounce or a break or this or that,” Pecknold said. “You can’t predict how it’s going to happen, we just got a bad break there.”

That’s the cruel reality of sports. Just shy of a year ago, Quinnipiac ripped a national championship from the grip of Minnesota, storming back from down 2-0 to win in overtime. Now the Bobcats have witnessed things from the other side, watching their dreams of a repeat disappear in a flash. 

“The goal from day one when we stepped on campus was (to) defend our crown,” graduate student defenseman Jayden Lee said. “Ultimately, we fell short, but like coach said, I’m just so proud of our group and how far we’ve come since the summer.” 

The game started just like Quinnipiac’s regional semifinal win over Wisconsin Friday — the Bobcats controlled the pace of play. They shut BC down in the neutral zone for much of the first period, limiting offensive chances until a surge from the Eagles in the final 10 minutes. 

From that point on, Duplessis and BC freshman goaltender Jacob Fowler were the only two forces stopping the game from divulging into full chaos. And less than two minutes into the second, it did. 

Still on the power play from a late first period call, sophomore forward Jacob Quillan tipped home a shot from senior forward Travis Treloar to give the underdog Bobcats the lead. 

Thirty seconds later, senior defenseman Iivari Rasanan rifled a point shot over Fowler’s left shoulder and brought the Quinnipiac advantage to two. 

But 30 seconds after they doubled their lead, the Bobcats watched BC cut it in half. Eagles sophomore forward Cutter Gauthier drew Duplessis out of position with a fake shot-pass and fed freshman forward Ryan Leonard atop the crease for a power-play goal. 

The Eagles tied the game midway through the period, sophomore forward Andre Gasseau beating Duplessis with a one-timer from above the left circle. But Quinnipiac struck right back. Senior forward Christophe Fillion put home a rebound — his second goal in as many games — to put the Bobcats up 3-2. 

That lead held for all of two minutes, when Leonard tucked his second power-play goal of the night after a questionable incidental head contact call on Quinnipiac junior forward Collin Graf. 

“I thought five-on-five we were the better team tonight,” Pecknold said. “But that’s not the whole game. Special teams are huge and that’s where they were better than us.”

The teams headed into the locker room tied at three, but Quillan — the 2023 Frozen Four hero — stepped up again when the lights were brightest, beating Fowler just 16 seconds into the third period to give Quinnipiac its third lead of the contest. 

The score held 4-3 for the next 15 minutes as the Bobcats put on a defensive clinic, denying any opportunities BC created.

Then with under five minutes remaining and St. Paul in sight, they slipped. It was only for a moment — leaving freshman defenseman Aram Minnetian open for an uncontested shot in the slot — but it was enough. Minnetian scored and the Eagles pushed the game to overtime. 

Quinnipiac put its foot back on the gas pedal in overtime, generating several chances that, if they were just a few inches left or right, would’ve sent the Bobcats to the Frozen Four. 

But they weren’t, and three minutes and six seconds into the extra period, a rebound slipped out of Duplessis’ pads and landed on the stick of Malone.

A game of inches ended with a wide open net, a Malone goal and top-seeded Eagles soaring into the history books. And the 26 motionless Quinnipiac players — on the ice, the bench and in the stands — were left with a phenomenal hockey game, and what could have been. 

“The passion was awesome this weekend,” Pecknold said. “They were bleeding navy and gold. I’m just proud of the effort.”

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About the Contributors
Cameron Levasseur
Cameron Levasseur, Sports Editor
Tripp Menhall
Tripp Menhall, Creative Director

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