Quinnipiac crowned
Bobcats’ quick OT strike secures first NCAA title

Quinnipiac celebrates its first national championship (Photo: Matt Dewkett).

TAMPA, Fla. – For the Quinnipiac Bobcats, the third time was the charm.

Playing in the NCAA Frozen Four title game for the third time in a decade, Quinnipiac secured the first national championship in program history with a stunning 3-2 overtime win over top-seeded Minnesota.

Sophomore forward Jacob Quillan (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia) scored just 10 seconds into the extra period, driving to the net to receive a Sam Lipkin (Fr., Philadelphia, Pa.) backhand feed before tucking it past Minnesota goalie Justen Close (Sr., Kindersley, Saskatchewan). It was the fastest OT goal in championship game history.

The goal also punctuated the Bobcats’ rally from a 2-0 second-period deficit, including Collin Graf’s (So., Lincoln, Mass.) game-tying goal with 2:47 left in regulation while QU goalie Yaniv Perets (So., Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Quebec) on the bench for an extra attacker.

QU captain Zach Metsa (Gr., Delafield, Wis.), who assisted on all three Bobcat goals, said the goal was the result of a set play off the opening faceoff.

“It’s a neutral-zone faceoff play, and we just attack the middle,” said Metsa. “’Lipper’ made an unbelievable pass back to ‘Quills’ and it was a crazy finish. I had a great view of it. It was awesome to watch.”

Quillan’s game-winner was his third tally of the Frozen Four and school-record fifth of the tournament. He was named the tournament’s most valuable player.

“It’s unreal,” said Quillan. “We’re such a close group of guys. Everyone is best friends on the team. I love every single one of these guys. We put in our sweat and tears every day working at the rink. It feels unbelievable.”

The game tilted when QU sophomore forward Christophe Tellier (Sherbrooke, Quebec) got the Bobcats on the board 7:41 into the second period. Tellier crashed the net and redirected Metsa’s seeing-eye centering feed from the corner, cutting Minnesota’s lead to 2-1.

Prior to that tally, the Golden Gophers, who built their two-goal cushion on goals by John Mittelstadt (Fr., Eden Prairie, Minn.) in the first period and Jaxon Nelson (Sr., Magnolia, Minn.) in the middle frame, had effectively limited QU’s scoring opportunities and time with the puck.

But Tellier’s strike gave the Bobcats new life. QU outshot Minnesota 25-8 over the final 40 minutes, including a 14-2 margin in the third period. Still, the scoreboard after two periods read 2-1 in favor of the Gophers, who had come into the night a perfect 22-0-0 when leading at the second intermission.

A high-sticking penalty on Minnesota’s Logan Cooley (Fr., Pittsburgh, Pa.) with 4:52 left in regulation set in motion the events that led to Graf’s tying goal. Late in the QU power play, head coach Rand Pecknold called a timeout and brought Perets to the bench for the extra attacker. The Bobcats did not convert with the man advantage but still had a 6-on-5 advantage with Graf, a first-team All-American, beat Close five-hole from the left circle to tie the game.

“As we all know, I like to pull the goalie,” said Pecknold with a laugh. “I just feel like, if you’re going to wait a little bit and go 6-on-5, why not do it 6-on-4? Especially with an O-zone draw, you’re probably going to get possession, as we got.”

Perets had needed to make just 13 stops; his teammates held Minnesota to its fewest shots total of the entire season. Close stopped 27 of 30 shots for Minnesota.

Both teams were 0-for-2 on the power play.

“I don’t know if it’s really sunk in yet. It’s been a crazy journey,” said Metsa. “For it to be our goal at the beginning of the year and for us to come through…I’m happy for all the alums and the guys who came before us and set the foundation. A bunch of them were in the stands today. We had amazing fans here. I’m happy for everyone…all the students back at Quinnipiac and all of our supporters.

“It’s a dream come true.”


  • Quinnipiac finished the year with a 34-4-3 record, the fewest losses by a national champ since the Paul Kariya-led Maine Black Bears went 40-1-2 in 1992-93.
  • The Bobcats became the 23rd different school to win the NCAA Division I men’s hockey championship.
  • Quillan’s goal was the fastest OT goal in title game history. The previous record was 23 seconds by Wisconsin’s Steve Alley in the 1977 championship versus Michigan.
  • The last time a championship game required overtime was 2011, when Minnesota Duluth defeated Michigan in St. Paul.
  • Tonight’s attendance of 19,444 at Amalie Arena was the third-largest crowd ever to witness a national title game.
  • Quillan was joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Graf, Perets and Metsa, as well as Minnesota’s Cooley and Luke Mittelstadt (Fr., Eden Prairie, Minn.).