Game Previews

In top-five matchup with Quinnipiac, BU looks to ‘be ready for the challenge’

Photo by Gracie Davenport.

For a game in November, the stakes could not be much higher. 

Two of the nation’s best will face off when the Boston University men’s hockey team hosts Quinnipiac University Wednesday evening at Agganis Arena. The puck drops at 5 p.m.

“They’re a very structured team, very hard to play against,” BU head coach Jay Pandolfo said of the Bobcats after Saturday’s game against Maine. “So it’s another measuring stick game for our team.”

Quinnipiac (9-3-1, 5-0-1 ECAC), the defending national champion, ranks first in Pairwise, college hockey’s RPI system to determine seeding for the NCAA Tournament. The Terriers (8-3-1, 5-1-1 Hockey East) rank second. The game will also be the first top-five matchup at Agganis Arena since Nov. 6, 2010, according to BU Hockey Stats.

The Terriers have played a gauntlet of a schedule this month. In the span of seven days, BU will have played three nationally-ranked teams: No. 10 Maine (Nov. 18), No. 3 Quinnipiac (Nov. 22) and No. 16 Cornell (Nov. 25).

“The last three weekends for us have been pretty good, obviously we’re always looking to improve, and Quinnipiac is a very good team. So we have to be ready for the challenge,” Pandolfo said. 

After both teams had slow starts, BU and Quinnipiac are rolling. The Terriers are 7-1-1 in their last nine games, with five of the seven wins coming against nationally-ranked teams. 

Playing in front of some goaltender named Vinny Duplessis, the Bobcats are winners of five straight. They have torched their opposition for 31 goals in those five games. Duplessis, of course, was BU’s backup goaltender for the last two seasons, but he transferred to Quinnipiac over the offseason.

Photo by Gracie Davenport.

Our guys have a lot of respect for Vinny and clearly he never got a full opportunity here. He was playing behind Drew [Commesso] and he wanted to go somewhere and have an opportunity to play every night,” Pandolfo said.

I think it’s fun for our guys to play against him. I think they’re all happy for Vinny. He’s a great teammate. It’s just like the NHL nowadays in college where you play with a guy for a couple years and then they get traded and you have to play against them.”

The matchup will also be the first midweek game for either squad this year. Pandolfo emphasized that BU will need to come out strong, and keep its focus despite considering the unusual circumstances of the game.  

“We’re not used to playing midweek games, so we’ve got to make sure we’re ready for that. It’s going to be a 5 o’clock game the night before Thanksgiving, so we have to make sure we have good focus.” 

Pandolfo said he expects to roll out the same lineup as last Saturday’s matchup with Maine. He added that freshman defenseman Aiden Celebrini is “a little banged up” and will not be available, but the rest of the roster will be ready to go.

Five things to know about Quinnipiac

  • Duplessis has started every game for Quinnipiac this year, posting a 2.06 goals against average and a .914 save percentage. 
  • The Bobcats rely heavily on their top line of Jacob Quillan (19 points), Collin Graf (16) and Sam Lipkin (14). Pandolfo said BU is still deciding matchups for the game, but with BU owning the last change, the Terriers’ gritty fourth line of Sam Stevens, Doug Grimes and Shane Lachance could play a key role in shutting down Quillan, Graf and Lipkin. 
  • Quinnipiac’s penalty kill has been rock solid (93.5%). BU’s power play has been on fire (4 for its last 8). Special teams will be something to watch.
  • At 55.7%, the Bobcats are the best faceoff team in the country.
  • Per BU Hockey Stats, the matchup will be just the second time the Terriers have played the defending national champion in a non conference game since BU played Union College in 2015. It will also be the only non-conference game between teams that made the Frozen Four last year. 

The Boston Hockey Blog will have full, on-the-ground coverage, so follow along at and on Twitter (X) @BOShockeyblog and Instagram

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