Quinnipiac Bobcats Beat Minnesota Golden Gophers in NCAA Frozen Four Final

Photo: Quinnipiac Men’s Hockey

Saturday night was the much-anticipated showdown between the #1 Minnesota Golden Gophers and the #2 Quinnipiac Bobcats in the final of the 2023 NCAA Frozen Four. The matchup included two Washington Capitals prospects, defenseman Ryan Chesley of the Golden Gophers, and goaltender Chase Clark of the Bobcats.

Clark, a 6’-6” freshman goaltender at Quinnipiac, was drafted by the Capitals in the sixth round (#183 overall) of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. Chesley, a 6’-0″ right-shot defenseman in his rookie season with the Golden Gophers, was the Capitals’ second-round pick (#37 overall) in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.


John Mittelstadt, older brother of Thursday night’s hero, Luke Mittelstadt, opened the scoring for Minnesota at 5:35 of the first period. Connor Furth intercepted a pass at center ice, entered the Bobcats zone, eventually dishing to Mittelstadt in the crease, who then buried the puck for a 1-0 Gophers lead.

The Gophers increased their lead to 2-0 at 4:24 of the second period when Jaxon Nelson dented the twine. Defenseman Brock Faber fired a shot off the end boards. The puck then caromed towards Nelson who finished for the Gophers second tally of the night.

Three minutes later, at 7:41, the Bobcats finally got on the board when Christoph Tellier dented the twine, getting an assist from Zach Metsa.

In the third period, Minnesota took a late penalty and just seconds after the penalty was killed and with Quinnipiac goaltender Yaniv Perets pulled for an extra attacker, Collin Graf of the Bobcats scored, tying the game 2-2 at 17:13.

Regulation ended in a 2-2 tie, sending the final to sudden death overtime.

Just ten seconds after the overtime period began, Jacob Quillen scored to give Quinnipiac their first ever National Championship. It is the school’s first NCAA national championship in any sport.

As for the Capitals prospects, Chesley was kept off the scoresheet in this game. He had one shot on goal, blocked two shots and was a +1.

Clark, backup goaltender for Quinnipiac, did not get in the game, as Yaniv Perets, one of the best goaltenders in the NCAA, played the entire game.

By Diane Doyle

Further Reading
Capitals Prospects Ryan Chesley, Chase Clark, Advance to Frozen Four Final
Capitals College Credits: March Madness on Ice
Capitals College Credits: Gucciardi Goals, Gibson Backstops Beanpot Finals, and Other February Happenings
Capitals Prospects Set To Do Battle In NCAA Tournament
Capitals College Credits: Ryan Chesley Wins Bronze, Mitchell Gibson Named to Richter Award Watch, and Other January Happenings
Capitals College Credits: Mitchell Gibson Continues Strong Play, Ryan Chesley Records First Goal
Capitals College Credits: Mitchell Gibson Remains Undefeated, Brent Johnson Scores First Of The Season
Capitals’ Collegiate Prospects Start Their 2022-23 Season

About Diane Doyle

Been a Caps fan since November 1975 when attending a game with my then boyfriend and now husband.
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13 Responses to Quinnipiac Bobcats Beat Minnesota Golden Gophers in NCAA Frozen Four Final

  1. Anonymous says:

    The Graf kid needs an NHL contract, the caps need young players…

  2. Chris says:

    How the heck did that goal happen? How did the RD end up so out of position?

    • Diane Doyle says:

      I know I’d be feeling annoyed if I were a Minnesota fan. To have a 2-0 lead in the final, blow it, and lose in OT.

      • GRin430 says:

        Minnesota was outplayed for the last half of the game. They were just hanging on, and couldn’t claim to be the better team.

        • Diane Doyle says:

          Some people might say that Minnesota was sitting on the lead and playing to hold on as opposed to trying to add to their lead. (That game sounded so much like Caps’ playoffs past.)

    • GRin430 says:

      I replayed that goal many times last night and several more times this morning to try to figure out what happened. Quinnipiac ran a face-off play where if/when they win the draw back to the RD, the LW skates a crossing route in front of the defense to create confusion among the defenders and open up a passing lane. The RD then fires a stretch pass to the LW with the center doing a center-lane net drive.

      The Minnesota defense did not switch on the cross — the left defense picked up the right wing who drifted to the center of the ice, the right defense picked up the left wing and followed him crossing over — which was not really a huge problem except the left wing ended up with too much space, and the Minnesota center (Nelson, #24) blew the coverage on the Quinnipiac center who finished the LW’s backhand crossing pass. So the coverage did not end up getting completely broken, but it was so loose — particularly on the center, that Quinnipiac could easily execute their play. If either Minnie’s RD or the C had played their guy better, they probably stop that play. But they didn’t.

      Quinnipiac dominated the last half of the game in any case, and deserved the win.

  3. GRin430 says:

    In my view this was a classic case of the younger, more talented skating team with “meh” goaltending getting beaten by a better disciplined, better conditioned team with higher quality goaltending. Sort of like the Caps against Montreal in the playoffs years ago…

    Pretty much every player on Minnesota will play in the NHL at some point and several will be stars, while Quinnipiac might get a few guys to the big leagues but most will not make it past the AHL, if they play pro at all. But Quinnipiac has built a system from the net out, and they play it extremely well.

    Yaniv Perets is listed at 6’1″, but probably measures several inches smaller than that (he might be 6’1 on skates with 2″ lifts in the boots) — which is probably why he was not drafted by an NHL team. However, he is extremely quick and keeps the puck out of his net, which I believe is the job… right?

    Minnesota’s goalie, Close — who is listed smaller than Perets (5’10”) but looks bigger, was not nearly as good, and the second goal in particular was pretty soft.

    The bobcats build on their goalie’s abilities and play a very disciplined trap, enabled in part by their maturity — they play mostly upperclassmen who have years of experience in the system. They frustrate more talented, younger teams like Minnesota and force turnovers. Even when the opposition gets into the offensive zone, Quinnipiac protects the net better than most college teams I’ve seen. They know how they have to play to win. They just don’t let teams like Minnesota — with lots of young, talented stars but little experience against disciplined systems– play the freewheeling game they want to play.

    The reason I’m going into this diatribe is that Quinnipiac’s success is really due in large part to their fine coaching… and the Caps might be looking for a coach soon… One who can win with a less-talented roster… I don’t know that Coach Pecknold would be interested in coaching the Caps, but if I were GMBM I’d certainly make that phone call…

    • KimRB says:

      I just wish Perets would turn pro, so Caps property Chase Clark would get a chance as Quinnipiac’s starter. Perets redshirted, so he’s still got two more years of eligibility left. Meaning Clark might not get a chance till his senior year.

      • GRin430 says:

        I was thinking the same thing last night. You would think that some goaltending-hungry NHL team would make Peretz an offer he can’t refuse — an opportunity to start in the NHL next season.

        Otherwise Clark needs to think about transferring. Having watched significant amounts of college hockey this year, one thing that struck me is how many of the high-powered teams in the Big 10 and NCHC had marginal goaltending. If Clark is any good at all he should be able to at least contend for some starts in one of those programs. If he isn’t good enough to beat out some of those guys, we should pretty much write him off as an NHL prospect.

  4. GRin430 says:

    Despite the loss, Ryan Chesley played very well in this game. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t stay at Minnesota at least another year, as he should get a lot more playing time in the future as several of Minnie’s D-corps leave after this year to go to the NHL, but as soon as he decides to leave he should be in the Caps line-up.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Q-coach Pecknold should get a look to replace PL in Washington

  6. Jon Sorensen says:

    Greetings folks! Just a quick note, if you haven’t done so already, please consider subscribing to NoVa Caps posts in the “subscribe” box located in the upper right corner. Thank you!

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