Bridgeport, CT- On January 27th, 2020, Sacred Heart notched the biggest win to date in their program history by defeating a ranked Quinnipiac team for the first Connecticut Ice Tournament. The Bobcats had to wait two years to get a chance in the tournament again, due to the effects of the Covid pandemic. After a long wait, the Bobcats and Pioneers staged an excellent game in Bridgeport.
Quinnipiac got the scoring started with a rebound goal by Joey Cipollone 6:47 into the game. SHU did outshoot the Bobcats for the frame 10-8 but Dylan St. Cyr stood up to the pressure and kept the lead 1-0 into the intermission.
The Notre Dame transfer kept Sacred Heart goalless through the second as well. Quinnipiac tilted the shot counter in their favor, 10-7 this time, but couldn’t extend the lead. Arizona State transfer Justin Robbins kept Sacred Heart in striking distance for the third period.
The Pioneers offense finally helped their goalie with offensive support when former Northeastern Husky Neil Shea potted his 6th goal of the season on an excellent solo effort 6:49 into the final frame. The Pioneers fans let out a louder cheer when Michigan transfer Dakota Raabe potted a goal to take the lead 10:15 into the third.
Quinnipiac sought to avoid an upset and cranked up the offense. The Bobcats ultimately outshot Sacred Heart 11-5 in the final frame and tied the game with 1:19 left in regulation when Joey Cipollone cleaned up a mad scramble for his second goal of the game.
The game entered a five minute 3on3 overtime period. Both teams got looks and chances in the extra session. But the final tally went on thanks to Zach Metsa tipping in an Oliver Chau shot with 1:09 left in regulation. The Bobcats secured a 3-2 win with the goal.
Sacred Heart drops to 9-12-3.
Justin Robbins stopped 28 of 31 shots faced.
“I’m on record saying this event is terrific,” commented Sacred Heart Head Coach CJ Marottolo. “This is how rivalries start. This is how you create tradition in your state. People come and look forward to these games… This is how you build hockey in your state. Games like this will inspire a lot of young kids to be hockey players.”
Sacred Heart faces Yale in the consolation game tomorrow. Puck drops at 1PM at Webster Bank Arena.
Quinnipiac improves to 20-2-3. The Bobcats are the first Eastern college hockey team to reach 20 wins this year. Minnesota State-Mankato and Michigan are the only other teams who’ve cleared the 20 win plateau.
“I thought Sacred Heart was really good,” commented QU Head Coach Rand Pecknold. “It wasn’t really our best effort. We were flat at times, losing battles, losing races, but we were resilient.”
Joey Cipollone’s two goal night was his first collegiate multi-goal game.
Dylan St. Cyr stopped 20 of 22 shots in the game.
Quinnipiac faces UConn for the Connecticut Ice Tournament Championship Saturday afternoon. Puck drops at 4:30 PM at Webster Bank Arena.