Sports, Top Story, Hockey, Men's Hockey

Eagles Narrowly Defeat Quinnipiac 5–4 in Overtime, Advance to Frozen Four

As a graduate transfer from Cornell, Jack Malone is playing his final season of college hockey. His final season could have ended in defeat at the hands of his old ECAC rival Quinnipiac if Boston College men’s hockey lost its regional final matchup. 

That was certainly a possibility given that BC never led in the game and needed a freshman defenseman’s third goal of the season to even get to overtime.

But when Bobcat goaltender Vinny Duplessis couldn’t handle the puck in overtime and it bounced out to Malone’s stick with just an empty net in front of him, there was only one thing for him to do: put the puck in the net.

And that is exactly what he did, extending his college career and sending BC to its first Frozen Four since 2016.

“I thought [Drew Fortescue] did a great job of creating a lane and getting it to the net,” Malone said. “Colby obviously did a great job of getting a piece of it creating some chaos in front, and I just tried to follow on from that and pick up the change and the show went out, so I just tried to rip it, and luckily it went in.”

No. 1-seed Boston College (33–5–1, 20–3–1 Hockey East) defeated No. 3-seed Quinnipiac (27–10–2, 17–4–1 ECAC) in overtime by a score of 5–4 thanks to a third period game-tying goal from Aram Minnetian and the overtime winner from Malone.

“All in all we beat a very good team, and our guys played hard right from the start,” BC head coach Greg Brown said. “We didn’t have a tough start like we did on Friday. Pretty excited to be going to St Paul.”

Other than a big glove save by Duplessis on a Will Smith breakaway attempt with 7:13 left in the frame, the first period featured few high danger chances.

The second period, on the other hand, was an up-and-down 20 minutes of hockey that saw three goals for each team.

Jacob Quillan got it started for Quinnipiac, tipping in a shot from Jacob Treloar shot just 1:19 into the frame. 35 seconds later, Iivari Räsänen doubled the Bobcat lead, putting the Eagles into a scramble with no timeout left after Greg Brown used his challenge in the first period.

Just 26 seconds after Räsänen’s goal, Ryan Leonard tipped in a pass to the slot from Cutter Gauthier on the power play to get one back for BC and make it 2–1 just 2:20 into the period.

“You don’t like to be down two goals,” Fowler said. “But I’m really happy with the response we had to get one back, and it didn’t stop there.”

Andre Gasseau tied the game up with a one-time snipe past Duplessis with 8:25 left in the period off a crisp feed from Oskar Jellvik, making it a tie game.

But after Ryan Leonard iced the puck just after killing off a Will Smith hooking penalty, Quinnipiac’s Zach Tupker won an offensive zone faceoff, allowing his team to cycle the puck around, eventually culminating in a goal for Christophe Fillion, retaking the lead for his team with 4:01 left in the period.

“Quinnipiac kept taking the lead on us,” Brown said. “I thought our guys did a great job of not getting down and staying very positive on the bench.”

Leonard was the man of the hour for the Eagles, however, scoring on the wraparound on a power play stemming from a penalty that he drew on Colin Graf, tying the game at three with 2:05 left in the period. 

A cross-checking call on Drew Fortescue proved costly for BC, as Quillan scored with two seconds remaining on the ensuing power play, bouncing the puck off of Fowler and in from below the goal line to give Quinnipiac the lead 16 seconds into the third period.

The Bobcats used a 1-3-1 neutral zone formation to stifle any potential BC attack for the remainder of the period. That was until Minnetian beat Duplessis from the high slot on a wrist shot with 4:44 remaining in the third, sending the game to overtime tied at four.

“We were able to break through with Aram’s goal,” Brown said. “Which got us jumping again and finish out the third very solidly” 

Malone scored 3:06 into the overtime period to win the game for the Eagles.

“I think we’re really proud of what we’ve accomplished so far,” Malone said. “and just want to continue that to add on to [BC’s] tradition.”

March 31, 2024

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