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Quinnipiac goaltender Michael Garteig makes a save against North Dakota (photo: Jim Rosvold).

TAMPA, Fla. — Despite some similarities to 2013, it wasn’t a case of déjà vu for the Quinnipiac Bobcats, which fell to North Dakota 5-1 in Saturday’s national title game.

Yes, the game ended with a four-goal deficit, including three goals allowed in the third period, the same as in a 4-0 loss to Yale in Pittsburgh in 2013.

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And in both cases, the Bobcats came into the tournament as the top seed.

But Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said that, unlike 2013 when the Bobcats outshot and outplayed Yale for much of the game, this time there was no question that the better team on this night came out with a victory.

“It’s different,” he said. “Different circumstances. I think that year we had beaten Yale three times and beaten them three times easily. So, to me, I really felt we were the better team that year. I still do. I think we were. One and done, anybody can win.”

Not this time.

“I think what North Dakota showed tonight is they were the better team,” said Pecknold. “It doesn’t mean we couldn’t beat them. But that’s the best team in college hockey. They are just loaded with talent, they backcheck, the goalie was great, [Cam] Johnson was excellent.”

The Bobcats were able to gain some momentum after giving up a pair of goals midway through the first period but couldn’t manage the tying goal after Tim Clifton pulled Quinnipiac to within one late in the first.

“We hit a couple of bars, had a couple of great chances,” said Pecknold. “We certainly had our [shot], but we just didn’t defend well enough tonight. We didn’t play good enough defense. We struggled a little bit at times, and you’ve got to credit North Dakota for how well they played.”

And unlike 2013, Quinnipiac was hampered by injuries, especially leading scorer Sam Anas, who saw limited action. He was still feeling the effects of a shoulder injury suffered in the ECAC Hockey championship game on March 19.

Anas managed to hit two posts but was obviously hurting.

“Sam wanted to play but he was struggling,” said Pecknold. “He’s worse these two games than [he was] against [UMass-]Lowell and RIT.

“He was 50 percent and still made some plays tonight.”

And it wasn’t just Anas that was injured.

“Derek Smith was banged up and played hurt,” said Pecknold. “K.J. [Tiefenwerth] played hurt.

“We had three kids take elbows to the head. There was a one point we were down to nine guys [at forward] four players on [defense]. That’s hockey. You’ve got to battle through. We were kind of a M*A*S*H. unit.”

But Pecknold wasn’t making excuses.

“I think it was a combination of us not playing well and a combination of North Dakota being really good,” he said. “They really came after us.”

  • Alan Rosner

    Of course he was making excuses. When does he not when his team loses.

    • bob

      yeah right – there were blown calls against ND that any decent ref would have called even if the game were in triple OT

      • UofMGoldenChokers

        bob….Bob….BOB! Are you sure you even watched the game? Numerous….NUMEROUS missed calls on QU. Take your butthurt somewhere else.

        • bob

          i’ve noticed u like to use that word alot – i wonder what u folks like to do out there in your free time besides make illogical defensive and derogatory comments

          • UofMGoldenChokers

            I’ve noticed all you do is whine and complain. Go cry somewhere else

    • parkes

      Hard to say he made excuses when he gives full credit to the other team for being better in all facets of the game. His only point was that in a one and done, anything can happen. If they were 100% healthy, they may have been able to steal a win from the better team.

      • Alan Rosner

        He was talking out of both sides of his mouth. He said ND was the better team and then blamed the referees for missed calls, injuries, and just to let us know it wasn’t the coaching, he said he only had two drafted players and ND had more. The fact is that ND’s first line was racing through center ice unimpeded. Of course they looked fast. Why was the line playing against ND’s No. 1 trying to score? Why weren’t they waiting in center ice, clogging up the center ice area, making some other line beat them? Ask the coach.

        • parkes

          Look, if you acknowledge a team is better than you, it’s not making excuses. UND was clearly the better team. That doesn’t mean there weren’t other contributing factors to their win. Within the first few minutes of the game there were multiple missed calls on both teams. When that happened, the advantage tilted to the bigger team. I don’t see a problem with acknowledging dissapoinent with the officiating not being tighter, especially when it lead to 3 injuries within the game. If I were the coach, that would upset me too. So by bringing those points up, he is saying UND didn’t need any advantages to beat QU, but it doesn’t mean they didn’t have them.

  • Trevor Verkuehlen

    Pecknold mentions elbows to the head when his team probably played the dirtier game (tackling players, checking from behind on more than one instance) not the most professional comment on his part but I understand his emotions were probably running high at the moment

    • bob

      r u blind – ND is the dirtiest team i ever saw

      • stod_2

        You must have been watching a different game than the rest of us. I don’t think either team was dirty, both played a hard physical style and both could have been called for some more penalties for sure. There were at least two more hits from behind that qu should have been called for. And I can think of at least one that UND should have been called for. But qu was clutching and grabbing as they were just getting out worked. Their coach said the better team won and he was right. His guys just couldn’t keep up with the speed and size of UND.

        • bob

          i watched on TV – maybe if you were there you saw things i didn’t – one thing that stood out was the cross check from behind that an ND player gave to gartieg while he was was in his crease – absolutely a low down dirty move – and that was only one of many – both teams may have been grabbing but ND’s was blatant – with that said, ND was clearly the better team – congrats to them – a little payback for the whoopin union put on minn 2yrs ago

          • UofMGoldenChokers

            Hey bobby boy, if you think that wasnt one sided reffing, you’re an idiot.

          • UofMGoldenChokers

            You must have changed the channel when the QU guy clearly hit Poganski right in the head. No call. Holding our guy down on the ice when the play is already going the other way, must have been another miss by you. Plenty of interference going on. Take your blinders off.

  • MNGoldenShowers

    That was a through azz kicking!

    • bob

      the better team def won!

  • colonialparker

    Rand has a serious mental block about the butt kicking Yale gave his team in 2013. At least QU scored a goal in this final.

    • parkes

      He has a point though. Until the final game, QU had outscored Yale 13-3 through 3 games. Hard not to expect better from the 2013 team.

      • Blckmgc

        Many people forget – Yale’s best goalie, Jeff Malcolm, was out with injury for a long stretch in the middle of the season, including each of the first three games against Quinnipiac.

        Malcolm was back in time for the NCAA Final and posted a shutout. Sometimes, one great player can make all the difference.

        • parkes

          Thats true, but he played in the ecac consolation game which QU won 3-0 about 3 weeks prior to the championship game. Heading into the finals, its easy to understand why QU had high expectations. To your point, Malcolm was absolutely a difference maker in the final game.

          • colonialparker

            As I stated in another post, Yale peaked at the right time in 2013, knocked out 3 number one seeds and a number two to win the championship. No team has ever had a harder road to the ultimate prize. I think QU and their coach get tight on the big stage , seems to be a trend.

          • parkes

            That conclusion is a bit unfair. 2013 was a much closer game than the score would indicate. This year they got their butts handed to them from the drop of the puck. In 2013, Hartzell had one soft goal (GWG), one that seemed to defy the laws of physics (his leg pad being flat to the ice and it still passed through??) And one legitimately well executed goal. The 4th was an ENG. QU like this year, hit many posts, but unlike this year controlled most of the game. Thats why Malcolm ended up with 36 saves! Anyway, it’s in the past. A season to remember by both squads for sure.

  • critsports

    Reading all the comments………..those of us who have been ECAC fans for years know Pecknolds act. Always looking to put the blame elsewhere; refs, injuries, etc. It’s always the officials didn’t get the calls right. Heaven forbid he should ever shoulder some of the blame and admit to being out coached once in a while. ND was the better team all night long. They had a significant injury too and no one is mentioning that! And as far as his lament about ND having more skilled players, more draft picks, etc. How does it feel Rand??? The team with the biggest recruiting advantage in the ECAC got a taste of their own medicine.
    Q Pac had a great team, a great season…….but, on that night ND was head and shoulders the better team and Pecknold seemed to do little to make any changes or adjustments between periods to stop ND from skating through center ice with impunity. ND flew by Q players all night long. Outplayed, out coached….out everything. They should start every one of his press conferences with a recording to save time….. Here’s how it always starts: “There were some missed calls and well, I can’t comment on the officiating!” Let’s also not forget that Q Pac was the higher ranked team and they had last change and Pecknold did little to take advantage of the first line match up.

    • Alan Rosner

      Exactly.

  • Siouxforever

    it wasn’t one sided reffing everyone should know at this high of a level of play refs are required to make the right calls in their best judgement or they are suspended and these refs were not suspended they let the boys play