New Faces, New Roles to Define Quinnipiac Men’s Hockey in 2021-22


Photo: Quinnipiac Athletics

Aiden Barrett and Ethan Logue

Wrap by Ethan Logue

Story by Aiden Barrett

The 2020-2021 Quinnipiac Bobcats men’s ice hockey team’s season came to an end at the hands of Minnesota State’s Ryan Sandelin in overtime of the West Regional Finals last spring. The 2021-2022 Bobcats will look to rewrite the script with a new look and one goal in mind: a national championship. 

 Here are three things to watch out for as Quinnipiac gets its season underway in a month.

The Power Play 

In 2020-21, Quinnipiac’s power play ranked sixth in the nation, mustering 32 goals on 131 attempts. Odeen Tufto was second in the country with 22 power-play points, while Ethan De Jong finished third in the nation in power-play goals with eight.  

With Tufto now gone and off that top power-play unit, questions were raised about which way head coach Rand Pecknold wanted to go. 

“Odeen was the key to [our success],” Pecknold said. “So we’ll have to adjust and adapt, find someone to slide into his spot. We’re just getting going right now so it’s a little early to tell. we’ll tinker with it… and if it doesn’t work and mesh we’ll blow it up and try something different.”  

Another player who excelled on the power play last season was first-year Ty Smilanic. The Florida Panthers draft pick netted six goals and placed 11th in the country in power-play goals. 

“Ty was one of the better bumpers in college hockey last year,” Pecknold said. “He’s really good at it, probably will leave him there and Wyatt’s (Bongiovanni) strength is that right flank spot so most likely we’ll leave everything as is but we’ll see how everything goes. Like I’ve said, we’ve used other units before, we don’t have to run a 1-3-1 if we don’t feel it’s our best but it might be but it’s a little early to figure that out yet.”  

Junior, now senior captain Wyatt Bongiovanni missed 20 games last season with an injury. Now he looks to add a new wrinkle/weapon to an already effective Quinnipiac power play. 

“I mean hopefully Wyatt’s healthy the whole year,” said Smilanic. “He has a deadly one-timer out on that dot so I mean I’ll probably be back in the bumper and we also have [Oliver] Chau who is probably going to be on the left side. I think we can have a deadly power play.”  

With the season approaching having an extra weapon on the man advantage is nothing Pecknold will take for granted.  

Oliver Chau  

In 28 years of being in charge of the Quinnipiac program, Pecknold has taken in six grad transfers. Five of those six will take the ice this year. Maybe none are more intriguing than former University of Massachusetts center Oliver Chau. 

Chau is a bonafide top-line center in college hockey, finishing second in scoring on a national championship-winning Minutemen team with five goals and 22 assists. Chau can do it all, whether it be the power play or 5-on-5 play, and is expected to fill in on that top line for Tufto.   

“It’s been great,” Chau said on creating chemistry with his new linemates. “It’s been very easy actually. Obviously, we have a great team here, everyone has just accepted me with full arms, allowing me to play my game. I’m just trying to get them the puck and let them do their thing.”   

And getting his linemates the puck is something Chau does with ease. With UMass last season, he was second on the team in points was one off the team assist lead.     

Chau will now look to bring his playmaking abilities to Hamden in the yellow in blue this winter.  


Last season the Bobcats had no questions in net. Senior Keith Petruzzelli had a stellar year, putting up a .926 save percentage and 1.89 goals against in 29 games, with 17 of those being placed in the win column.

Petruzzelli caught eye around the nation getting him a bid for the Hobey Baker Award and was added to the Mike Richter Award watch list. 

This season, Quinnipiac will turn to Notre Dame transfer Dylan St. Cyr, another one of Pecknold’s graduate student transfers. 

“I think for me always being an undersized goalie having to compete and playing the puck have been two things that have always kind of helped me move along with my game,” St. Cyr said. “Not most goalies have played at 5’8” so that’s kind of always been a chip on my shoulder. I think those are things I focus on in practice that I translate into those game situations.”  

St Cyr gives the Bobcats a new look in net. St Cyr put up solid numbers himself at Notre Dame with a .921 save percentage and 11 wins in 21 games.  

When asked about who he likes to model his game after, St. Cyr had a definitive answer.  

“Juuse Saros. An undersized goalie, an incredible skater I think one of the best in the league at skating, he’s someone that I like to really look up to.”    

Although St Cyr likes the style of the Finnish goaltender he also talked about how you have to “pick parts, here and there from different goalies and try to utilize that.” 

Sophomore Yaniv Perets is expected to back up St. Cyr for the 2021-2022 season. 

With the preseason wrapping up, Pecknold and the Bobcats will look to tighten up their play and make adjustments as their first game of the Ice Breaker tournament sits less than a month away.