Quinnipiac Men's Hockey Close Out 2018 With Big Milestone - NBC Connecticut

Quinnipiac Men's Hockey Close Out 2018 With Big Milestone

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    Quinnipiac Men's Hockey Close Out 2018 With Milestone

    On December 29, head coach Rand Pecknold earned his 500th career win, but it's how he shared the victory that tells you most about his legacy with the Bobcats. (Published Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019)

    On December 29, head coach Rand Pecknold earned his 500th career win, but it's how he shared the victory that tells you most about his legacy with the Bobcats.

    Pecknold never set out for a number.

    "I knew we were going to get it...for me a lot of it was let's just get it out of the way, I didn't want it to be an issue, a distraction for our team,” Pecknold said of the looming milestone.

    "I didn't focus a lot on winning 500 that night or even so much now."

    So when the goals kept coming Saturday night before the new year on the road at Colgate, players couldn’t have predicted his reaction. His team surprised him with their "player of the game" hard hat.

    “For 499 I'd never gotten picked,” said Pecknold of their team honor. “So I was a little shocked."

    He went 499 games without the hard hat, and he would go one more, quickly passing it off to the goaltender who closed down the game - third stringer Josh Mayanja.

    "He's just an awesome kid, he's an awesome teammate, he works his tail off in practice,” said Pecknold. “He doesn't get to play, it was a great moment to get him in there."

    "I come here, work hard every day,” Mayanja said. “I haven't been in the net that much but just to have him recognize that I come here and work hard every day means a lot."

    It's not hard for Pecknold to know what it means to show up every day. He took over the Bobcats at 27. In 1994, it was then a Division II program without a locker room and midnight practice time.

    "By the time we got to January, February of that season, we played a couple games with like 10 skaters."

    By year five, the Bobcats, now with a full roster, made the transition to Division I.

    "We played Maine,” said Pecknold of his first true Division I contest. “We were actually up 4-3 in the third… going into the third and they were way better than us. And then they just turned it on the third. They switched goalies, turned it on in the third… we ended up losing 7-4."

    Pecknold won't soon forget that first loss, after all, that’s what has led him to 500 wins.

    "Quinnipiac's not my job, it's a passion,” said Pecknold. “I know a lot of people can't say that about life and I feel very lucky to be able to do that."

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