Quinnipiac stuns Minnesota in overtime for first National Championship

The NCAA Men’s Hockey National Championship game in Tampa Bay, Fla was an instant classic. The  No. 1Minnesota Golden Gophers were looking to break a 20 year title drought and add another piece of hardware to the trophy case… A sixth trophy to be exact. As for the No. 2 Quinnipiac Bobcats, they had previously been in the title game only twice before, and were in search of the first championship in program history.

Minnesota’s John Mittelstadt began the scoring at the 14:25 mark of the opening period, giving the Golden Gophers a 1-0 lead. Minnesota would hold that lead heading into the first intermission.

Then with 15:36 remaining in the second period Jaxon Nelson found the back of the net extending Minnesota’s lead to 2-0. The Bobcats would strike back at the 12:19 mark on a goal by Cristophe Tellier cutting the lead to 2-1 for the Gophers. The two teams would head into the locker room for the second period intermission with Minnesota holding onto that one goal lead.

The two foes would stalemate the majority of the third period until Quinnipiac pulled its goaltender with about 3:30 to go in regulation to bring in an extra attacker. And… It worked! With the Bobcats season hanging in the balance Collin Graf would beat Minnesota goaltender Justen Close with 2:47 remaining! The game was tied at 2-2 and would stay that way until the clock hit 0:00.

For the first time since 2011 the championship game was heading to overtime. Both teams had an opportunity to regroup while the ice was resurfaced.

Back to the action with a fresh sheet of ice and 20 minutes on the clock for overtime. The Bobcats would win the opening faceoff, kick a pass down the right side of the neutral zone. Sam Lipkin took the puck into the offensive zone, made a pass to the left and Jacob Quillan took a shot… Lighting the lamp, making the Bobcats National Champions for the first time in school history! Only 10 seconds into overtime Quinnipiac scores and upsets Minnesota 3-2 for the title.

Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold has been leading the program since 1994. He helped the team transition from Division II to Division I and in his 29th season they are National Champions.