By Warren Kozireski —
Some college coaches have a fourth line that might see the ice three or four times per period. That is definitely not the case for the Bobcats of Quinnipiac as they used their depth to defeat favored Michigan in the NCAA national semi-final and he University of Minnesota in the national championship game 3-2 in overtime.
“Honestly it doesn’t feel real,” Joey Cipollone said in the postgame locker room. “It will hit me in another week or so, but that’s another culture win. Down 2-0 with our backs against the wall and we just consistently grind and find a way to make plays.”
On that key fourth line is Purchase-born Joey Cipollone, who is in his third year with the program after leaving the University of Vermont midway through the 2019-20 campaign.
“It was a long journey, but it all comes down to my parents and my family,” Cipollone said after the semi-final. “There has been a lot of hard work and sacrifices that go into being here that no one really sees, but all those days where my parents were willing to give up weekends to travel, not only for me, but for my brother and my sister. Those are the little things that add up and result in me being here.
“Being from New York and close to home was obviously something that stood out, but also coming here and having an opportunity to play for a national championship is something that everyone wants to be a part of, and culture here really sold me. All these guys are so invested in team and for each other; we’re such a selfless group and you learn a lot of lessons from that that…that I’ll take with me.”
Cipollone piled up impressive offensive numbers playing for the Connecticut Wolf Pack 16U squad before joining the Loomis Chaffee School for two seasons.
Then in 2017-18, he went west to the Tri-City Storm before heading to Vermont as an 18-year-old freshman.
Since arriving at Quinnipiac, the 5’11”, 185 lb. right wing has scored 19 goals with 19 assists over three seasons. You will most often find him standing near the net in the offensive zone.
“That’s the strength of our team—guy one through 26 can make an impact when called upon and that’s been proven this year. And I think that brings the cohesiveness of the group together.
“For me it’s playing a simple game and being a guy that’s hard to play against. A big thing that we talk about is taking the goalies eyes away, being around the net, causing chaos and, for a guy like me, just being around the net is something I’ve always been good at and that’s where the goals are scored.”
It’s a bit of all-in-the-family as his brother Anthony is a freshman with the Bobcats and their cousin, Joe, just finished his fourth year at the University of New Hampshire. Their sister, Paris, was also a college athlete playing field hockey at Wesleyan.
“Forever grateful to Rand (head coach Pecknold) and the staff for believing in him and letting him come in this year. It’s been a dream come true for me and probably more for my parents. We’ve had some amazing experiences this year playing together, going to Ireland and having my while family out for senior night. Little things like that are stuff that you can’t take away.”
(Quinnipiac Athletic Hockey Photos)