Quinnipiac defeats Yale 4-1 in game two, advances to quarterfinals


Kyle Levasseur

Written by: Jonathan Banks

The Quinnipiac Bobcats men’s ice hockey team was in unfamiliar territory when the end of the regular season hit. A 4-2 loss to the Clarkson Golden Knights landed Rand Pecknold’s men in unchartered waters – a playoff series on the road for the first time in 12 years.

Quinnipiac’s first round opponent turned out to be a short drive down Whitney Avenue. The Yale Bulldogs were waiting to get only their second win against the Bobcats at home since November 6, 2010. They were waiting to sink their teeth into a rival that had outscored them by 16 goals in 11 games since 2013.

The storyline was there for a Yale redemption story.

But that didn’t matter.

Quinnipiac painted the entirety of Whitney Avenue blue and gold after completing a sweep of in-state rival Yale at Ingalls Rink in New Haven on Saturday night.

The Bobcats rallied around freshman goaltender Keith Petruzzelli’s second playoff appearance in which he only gave up one goal, and freshman Odeen Tufto’s 15th multi-point game of the season to win 4-1 and advance to the next round.

The Detroit Red Wings prospect has only given up one goal in four of his last six starts.

“I thought he was great. He was confident. He handled the puck well,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said. “He does a really good job with helping our breakouts. Sometimes that’s a little underrated in the game of hockey.”

Petruzzelli was not the only freshman who played a starring role for the Bobcats. Odeen Tufto continued where he left off in his prolific regular season.

Tufto's snipe past Yale goaltender Corbin Kaczperski was more significant than just his ninth goal of the season. He is now the first freshman in a Bobcat sweater to tally over 40 points in a season since Sam Anas did it in his 2013-2014 campaign.

The Minnesota native attributes his success to the people who work with him day in and day out.

“It’s nice when you have good teammates and good coaches who give you opportunities like that,” Tufto said.

Tufto might be the golden boy with his name up in lights, but defensemen Chase Priskie and Brogan Rafferty also pitched into the offensive effort. They each tallied one goal apiece.

Rafferty is not a common name on the scoresheet, but he loves scoring against Yale. The sophomore now has 4 goals on the year, two of which have come against the team's in-state rivals.

“I always get fired up to play Yale,” Rafferty said. “We try to bring the same intensity every game but Yale is obviously a big one right down Whitney Avenue, and I think a couple bounces here and there have helped me a little bit.”

The Bobcats pounced on the Bulldogs with nine goals in two nights. However, their offense was not the only thing that was working.

Quinnipiac knew a sound defensive effort was essential to advancing to the ECAC hockey quarterfinals.

"We definitely were keying in on (Joe) Snively. We wanted to make sure we were gonna have layers with him and every time he beats a guy, there’s a second guy," the head coach said. "And when he beats him, there’s a third guy. I thought we frustrated him and did a good job both nights. He’s a great player, one of the best in the country."

Yale's offensive weapon came into the playoffs red hot. The junior had 14 points after the first three months of the season. In February alone, the Virginia native had 15 points.

Snively has 36 points on the year, currently good for fifth in the conference. But there is one achilles heel to his game.

The former Sioux City forward has 27 points in games the Bulldogs have won. In losses, he has only recorded 8.

When asked about his star man's contribution in tonight's tilt, Yale head coach Keith Allain was frank in his response.

"(He was) better than last night," he said.

With No. 11 RPI and No. 12 St. Lawrence both picking up wins against Colgate and Dartmouth respectively, the Bobcats will have to wait until tomorrow night to find out where they will travel for the quarterfinals.

All three scenarios will see the Bobcats travel somewhere in New York.

If RPI and St. Lawrence win tomorrow, the Bobcats will take on the No. 3 Clarkson Golden Knights.

If one of the aforementioned teams advances, Quinnipiac will take on the No. 2 Union Dutchmen.

If RPI and St. Lawrence are both eliminated, then Rand Pecknold will take his team up to Ithaca to battle the No. 1 seed Cornell Big Red.

Either way, Pecknold believes his squad is ready to play whoever it crosses paths with.

The quality characteristics of Quinnipiac hockey teams of the past are starting to resurface at the right time for this team.

"Our guys were ready. We were focused," Pecknold said. "We’ve been much better since Christmas and I thought our February was very good. I think our culture has come back."