Quinnipiac’s Rand Pecknold drew the ire of Cornell bench boss Mike Schafer after a hit from behind was called into question by the Bobcats coach. Was Pecknold just doing his job, or did he step over the line?
The Quinnipiac Bobcats stonewalled Cornell 1-0 on the weekend and even though Big Red coach Mike Schafer did touch on the lack of scoring from his team in the loss, it was far from his first topic of conversation in the post-game interview. No, Schafer was much more fired up about Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold:
“I want to be loud and clear,” Schafer said. “I thought what their coach did…(he) was a #$%^ing classless #@!hole.”
As noted by Chris Dilks on SBNation, the anger stemmed from a hit from behind on Cornell’s Cole Bardreau by Quinnipiac’s Matthew Peca, a Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick and one of the Bobcat’s best players. Peca was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct on the play, though according to Schafer, Pecknold lobbied the refs and alleged that Bardreau embellished the severity of the hit. Bardreau was not hurt on the play, but the 21-year-old did break a vertebrae in his neck two seasons ago after he was hit from behind in a game against R.P.I., forcing him to wear a neck brace for three months.
If what Schafer alleges is true, did Pecknold do anything wrong? Should he have recalled, in the heat of the moment, what Bardreau’s injury history was? And if he did, would he also have the duty to back off from defending his own player to the officials? Or is Pecknold’s only job in this situation to do what is best for his team, which is to hopefully prevent one of his top players from getting booted out of a closely contested match with a conference opponent? Or was Schafer right in citing the integrity of the game and a general empathy toward all players on the ice in his condemnation of Pecknold?
Edited to reflect the fact Bardreau was hurt two years ago, not last year