Bobcats Tip Badgers in OT

by | Mar 30, 2024

Bobcats Tip Badgers in OT

by | Mar 30, 2024

Providence, RI – The defending National Champion Quinnipiac Bobcats are no strangers to overtime. They only needed twelve seconds of it last year to defeat the Big Ten’s Minnesota Golden Gophers in the title game. They needed 11 minutes and four seconds on Friday to dispatch another Big Ten team, the Wisconsin Badgers, 3-2 into overtime. Victor Czerneckianair‘s second goal of the game was the difference maker as the Bobcats’ reign lives on for another day.

All Czerneckianair could think about in the euphoria of victory was, “The boys are moving on.” Plain and simple.

“I don’t think there’s really stress for our group. I think we take it to [opponents] and don’t worry about what happens,” Czerneckianair said of the Bobcats’ success in OT. “When you do worry about that, you make mistakes. We’ve been there before, obviously, and we handle adversity so well. We just try to take it to them.”

“[Wisconsin] was really good tonight. I did think we controlled the play at times,” said Rand Pecknold about the Badgers’ effort against his squad. “[Kyle] McClellan was great. They blocked a ton of shots. Sometimes, it felt like there were six goalies out there. They were all in.”

“In terms of us, I thought our guys really battled and competed in one of our better games of the year,” added the QU bench boss. “They way we hunted, sprinted, and the compete level was excellent. I thought the guys had a lot of blind faith in the coaching staff regarding what we had to do to win tonight. We came through and found a way to win. We move on.”

Quinnipiac scored at the 2:12 mark of the first when Christophe Fillion beat Badger goalie Kyle McClellan (29 saves) with a tip-in at the back post. Christophe Tellier picked up the puck behind the Badgers’ net, as linemate Zach Tupker’s check on a Badger defenseman dislodged the puck and fired off a cross-ice pass to Fillion.

Wisconsin pulled even at 1:46 of the second when Quinn Finley beat Bobcats’ goalie Vinny Duplessis (18 saves) with a snapshot glove-side high. Finley intercepted a CJ McGee outlet pass inside the Bobcats’ blue line before walking in on Duplessis. The Badgers had just successfully killed a tripping penalty on Anthony Kehrer, which carried over from the first period.

The Badgers pulled ahead at 3:01 when defenseman Joe Palodichuk went out wide before firing off a shot on Duplessis; Palodichuk corralled the rebound, looped around the Quinnipiac net, and beat Duplessis with a shot from the bottom of the right circle for his third goal of the year.

“Dex (Ben Dexheimer) made a good play to bring the guy to him,” said Palodichuk on how his goal transpired. “I was available up top, he gave a little fake and put it back to me. I knew they like to block shots, so for [QU defender] to go down on a knee, I knew I could be a little poised and skate around him. He bit, and I was thankful to get the rebound off [Duplessis] pad and stuff it in.”

Quinnipiac tied it 2-2 at 18:28 of the second on a shot from Czerneckianair just below the right circle. The Bobcats had sustained pressure during a Wisconsin penalty on Mike Volicky. The Badgers held firm until the five-on-four was over, only to give up the even-strength goal. It wouldn’t be the last time.

The Badgers had a chance to end it early in the overtime when William Whitelaw had a mini breakaway and beat Duplessis. The Bobcats’ goalie slowed the puck down before a QU defenseman, Davis Pennington, could swoop it away from the goal line.

“I was like, ‘Oh my God. ‘ I thought it was in. I thought it was going in,” said Pecknold of the Whitelaw bid.

Wisconsin again weathered a Quinnipiac power play, but Czerneckianair and Travis Treloar caught them out on a bad line change for the game-winning goal. Pennington fired a pass from the QU zone to Treloar at the far side of the Wisconsin blueline before Treloar feathered a pass into a streaking Czerneckianair for the wrister past McClellan.

“I saw Trav lifting his stick to Pennington, kind of alerting him that [Wisconsin] made a bad change,” said Czerneckian. “From there, I just tried to stay onside and find a lane to the net.”

“It’s tough to put into words,” said Wisconsin fifth-year senior Captain Mike Vorlicky. “You have to give Quinnipiac credit. They played a good game. It’s hard to really describe. The season’s over. It’s tough. I love all those guys in [the locker room]. Wisconsin’s, for me, the best place to play. It’s tough to end a season like that.”

The Bobcats will face off against the #1 overall seed Boston College Eagles on Sunday at 4:00 pm EST to advance to the Frozen Four. The two schools opened the 2023-24 season with a 2-1 BC OT win at M&T Bank Arena in Hamden, CT., on October 7.

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