Quinnipiac Bobcats Continue to Roll

Photo credit: QU Chronicle

Upon the release of the USCHO Poll on Monday morning, some Quinnipiac fans were disappointed to discover that Minnesota is in fact still ranked #1 in the country. Despite not having played this weekend, Minnesota received 30 first-place votes as opposed to Quinnipiac’s 20.

The Bobcats skated to a 1-1 tie with sixth-ranked Brown University on Friday, February 1st.  But the real test, the biggest and most anticipated matchup of the season belonged to the infamous battle of Connecticut: Quinnipiac vs. Yale. Quinnipiac rolled into Ingalls Rink for the first time this season looking to take down their bitter rival. Prior to the game, Yale was ranked 8th in the USCHO poll and sat right behind Quinnipiac in the ECAC.

The sold-out crowd at the Yale Whale was deafening as both teams took the ice. The tension in the air during the anthem was palpable.

Yale capitalized on an otherwise-effective Quinnipiac penalty kill by tallying two quick power play goals early in the first period at the hands of Trent Ruffolo and Stu Wilson. Ingalls Rink was alive as the Yale Bulldogs put arguably the best team in the nation and their biggest rival in a 0-2 hole in an impressive fashion.

But there’s no stopping this Quinnipiac Bobcats team. About 12 minutes into the first the Bobcats responded with 2 goals of their own from Mike Dalhuisen and Cory Hibbeler, erasing the deficit before the end of the period.

Photo credit: QU Chronicle

But the Bobcats offensive surge didn’t stop there. Sophomore Matthew Peca found the back of the net at 10:13 of the second on the power play, giving Quinnipiac their first lead of the night. Soon after, Ben Arnt tallied his fifth goal of the season in a scrum in front of Yale goaltender, Nick Maricic.

Photo credit: QU Chronicle

The third period was when the Bobcats truly put their foot on the gas and didn’t look back. Yale Coach Keith Allain pulled Maricic from the game and put in backup Connor Wilson. Wilson remained poised for the first half of the period, but things went south when a costly turnover put the puck on Kellen Jones’ stick. Jones snapped one past Wilson scoring a shorthanded goal and giving the Bobcats a 5-2 lead with less than 10 minutes left in the game.

At this point, Ingalls Rink was quiet save for the Quinnipiac band that made the trip and a few Bobcat fans in the crowd.

Zach Davies put the nail in the coffin scoring a 4-on-4 goal with just over 2 minutes left in the game. Yale was depleted and demoralized.

The Bobcats are now 12-0-2 in the ECAC and 19-3-4 overall, giving them the best record in college hockey.

“We’re thrilled with the victory tonight,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold told The Quinnipiac Chronicle following the game. “I thought the atmosphere in the rink was electric. Both teams competed and played hard tonight. For us, it’s all about the PairWise.”

While Quinnipiac isn’t the top team in the USCHO Poll, they are the #1 team in the PairWise rankings, the rankings that determine the seeding for the NCAA Tournament. If they can stay at the top, they will be the highest seeded team in the tournament.

The Bobcats are hitting the road this weekend as they’ll square off against Cornell and Colgate on Friday and Saturday. Quinnipiac will look to extend their 19-game unbeaten streak and continue their dominance in the world of men’s college hockey.

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