TAMPA, Fla. — Six Quinnipiac seniors will play their final college hockey game on Saturday, ending their careers with a chance to be national champions.
Most had that opportunity three seasons ago when, as freshmen, they saw their team come up just short in a 4-0 loss to Yale in the title game in Pittsburgh.
Only Travis St. Denis participated in that game, but fellow seniors Alex Miner-Barron, Soren Jonzzon, Tom Hilbrich, Michael Garteig and Jacob Meyers took away the same lesson: Don’t take it for granted.
“Freshman year was an unbelievable step,” said Jonzzon. “We were happy to be there.”
But after the loss, the Bobcats realized two things: It takes more than a “happy to be here” mindset to win, and even as the No. 1 seed, you can’t take anything for granted.
“In the national championship, anything can happen,” said Garteig. “We learned that in our game against Yale. We learned from our mistakes and the seniors that were there are hungry to get back at it this year.”
“I think the program has now gotten to the point where we don’t think getting here is [enough],” said Jonzzon. “It’s great that we got here, but we’re here to win the national championship. So I think winning tomorrow would be kind of the next step in the progression of the program itself.”
It’s taken Quinnipiac three years to get back to this point: one more shot for the seniors that have led the Bobcats to four straight NCAA tournament appearances.
Just one goal remains, and expect this senior class to keep the Bobcats focused on the prize.
“You can’t take anything for granted,” said Garteig. “We’re not. We have to seize the opportunity.”