Monday, December 11, 2017

In the Pipeline: 12/11/2017

Quinnipiac ended the first half on a sour note getting swept at home by the Maine Black Bears to fall to 6-10-2 on the season which is the worst first half of a season in their Division 1 history and first losing first half of the season since the 2005-2006 season. The team now gets a much needed breather and doesn't play again until January 2nd. With the fact that the team is now 47th in the pairwise, the expectations now should be lowered due to the teams play as the only way into the NCAA tournament now at this point would be catching fire and winning the ECAC tournament. Let's take a look at how some of the future Bobcats did this past week.

William Fallstrom (photo by USHL)
USHL commits

It was a strong weekend for William Fällström of the Fargo Force as he had a goal and three assists in two games played for Fargo which resulted in a pair of wins over Waterloo. On the season Fällström has 15 points (4 goals, 11 assists) in 21 games played. He is expected to be one of the top 3 centers for the team next season.

Zach Metsa had one assist in two games played over the weekend for the Youngstown Phantoms in
a weekend split of two games against the Sioux Falls Stampede. On the season Metsa has 10 points (1 goal, 9 assists) from the blue line in 20 games played.

Justin Robbins picked up his first win of the season for the Chicago Steel on Saturday. He made 29 saves in a 7-3 win over the Madison Capitols. In 5 games played this season, Robbins is 1-2 with a 4.66 goals against average and an .864 save percentage.

NCDC Commits

While his consecutive point streak ended, Guus van Nes still had a 3 point weekend with 2 goals and an assist for the Junior Bruins in a pair of wins over the New Jersey Hitmen. He continues to lead the NCDC in scoring with 37 points (12 goals, 25 assists) in 27 games played. He is one point ahead of former Quinnipiac commit John DeRoche (36 points) who is now committed to the University of Vermont.

Photo by Dave Arnold photography

Prep Schools

Peter Diliberatore had an outstanding week for the Salisbury School. He had 5 points (1 goal, 4 assists) on the week and now leads both Salisbury and the Housatonic conference in scoring with 7 points (1 goal, 6 assists). The 2000 born Nova Scotian defenseman should get some serious NHL looks in the 2018 draft if his play continues at this pace.

AJHL Commits

Matt Cassidy had a strong week for the Brooks Bandits with 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) in three games played. The Medford, New Jersey native has points in 4 of his last 5 games for the Bandits. On the season in 25 games played he has 21 points (9 goals, 12 assists).

BCHL Commits
Ethan de Jong made the Canada West team for the 2017 World Junior A Challenge. In the preliminary exhibition game against Russia he had the game winning goal in a 4-2 win along with an assist in the game. In the opening game of the tournament he had one goal in Canada West's 5-2 loss to the Czech Republic. While he is currently committed for 2019-2020, there is a good chance that is is going to be bumped up to next years class due to the offensive struggles Quinnipiac has suffered this year.

Nick Kent is back healthy. After suffering a spleen injury, Kent has now joined the Wenatchee Wild. He has played 5 games but hasn't yet to record a point but this is a big step up for him in terms of competition being a 2001 born player in the BCHL.

Midget Commits

Ethan Phillips had a 3 point weekend (2 goals, 1 assist) as the Selects Academy at South Kent U-16 team split a pair of games against the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite. He now is 3rd on the team in scoring with 42 points (21 goals, 21 assists).

Victor Czerneckianair had a another solid weekend for the South Kent U-15 team with 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists). On the season he has 41 points (19 goals, 22 assists) which puts him second on the team in goals and 3rd on the team in overall scoring.

Jacob Quillan had a four point weekend (2 goals, 2 assists) for the Steele Subaru Major Midgets. On the season Quillan leads the team in scoring with 29 points (10 goals, 19 assists) in 25 games played.

Austin Spiridakis picked up another assist this past weekend for the St. Albert Tire Warehouse Raiders AAA team. In 21 games played, Spiridakis has 10 points (5 goals, 5 assists).

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Saturday, December 9, 2017

Quinnipiac ends disappointing first half of season with 5-3 loss to Maine

Quinnipiac vs Maine (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)
A disappointing first half of the season for Quinnipiac ended on an ugly note. A night after blowing a 3-0 lead before falling 7-4, Quinnipiac gave up a late goal with 24 seconds left giving Maine a 4-3 lead. They would add an empty net goal to win 5-3 ending the worst first half of a season in Quinnipiac's Division 1 history under head coach Rand Pecknold as they fell to 6-10-2 on the season. This was the 5th time in the last six games that Quinnipiac has taken at least 43 shots and has failed to win a game. "In my 24 years here, I've never been apart of this many bad bounces, but we got to fight our way out of it. A lot of times, I think you create your good bounces if you work hard and compete, said head coach Rand Pecknold following his teams loss."

The Bobcats took a lead in this game in the first period once again when Logan Mick ripped a wrist shot off a Scott Davidson face-off win for this third goal of the season, a night after serving his one game suspension for his hit in the Dartmouth game. Just as they did the previous night when they out shot Maine at a high clip in the first period they did it once again with a 20-5 shot differential in the opening frame. 

Despite Quinnipiac out shooting Maine 18-11 in the the second period, it was the Black Bears who controlled the scoreboard as they put three past Andrew Shortridge in the period. Emil Westerlund scored 8:44 into the second frame followed seven plus minutes later when Ryan Smith re-directed a shot past Shortridge. Exactly two minutes later Tim Doherty scored on a great passing sequence with Brendan Robbins extending the Maine lead to 3-1. 
Craig Martin & Quinnipiac fell to Maine 5-3 tonight (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)

Quinnipiac got back within one in the third period when Landon Smith's hard work to beat an icing call paved the way for a pass to Odeen Tufto who found a wide open Tanner MacMaster who scored through a screen past Jeremy Swayman. Just under 15 minutes into the period Quinnipiac tied it up when Brogan Rafferty sent a cross ice pass from the half way where Tanner MacMaster was sitting wide open on the door step with plenty of open net in his vicinity tying the game. With 24 seconds left in the game, Nolan Vesey shot turned up a big rebound off of Andrew Shortridge and right to Patrick Shea who fired home the game winning goal high past the Bobcat netminder. Cedric Lacroix added an empty net goal with one second left to give the Black Bears a sweep on the weekend series in Hamden.

Andrew Shortridge gave up four goals on 25 shots for Quinnipiac while Jeremy Swayman made 45 saves for Maine and on the weekend in two victories made a total of 95 saves. Quinnipiac doesn't return to action until Tuesday January 2nd when they play UConn and they don't return to Hamden for a home game until January 30th against Princeton as their first seven games in the second half of the season are on the road which is not ideal for a team struggling with consistency and goal scoring this year.

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Friday, December 8, 2017

Third period Quinnipiac collapse leads to 7-4 Maine win

Quinnipiac vs. Maine (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)

Two things were accomplished by the Quinnipiac Bobcats men's ice hockey tonight in a 7-4 defeat that had not happened in a long time and they were not something to be proud of. The loss by Quinnipiac ensures the team will head into a first semester break under .500 for the first time since the 2005-2006 season and second they gave up seven goals in a game since February 20, 2010 in a 7-3 loss to Union College.

It was a stunning collapse for a team that raced to a 3-0 lead not even ten minutes into the game. Goals by Scott Davidson, Bo Pieper and Tanner MacMaster capped a four and half minute spurt by the Bobcats. It was Davidson's first goal since the East Regional final against UMass Lowell back on March 27, 2016 when Davidson was a freshman. Senior Bo Pieper scored his 3rd goal of the season three and a half minutes later when he buried a strong wrist shot past Jeremy Swayman. Less than a minute later Tanner MacMaster had a beauty of a toe drag goal past Swayman. Maine cut the Quinnipiac lead less than three minutes later to 3-1. Quinnipiac was really good for the first 13 minutes of the the first period and finished with a 23-4 shot differential.

Two Quinnipiac penalties in the second period led to two Maine power play goals. First a Tanner MacMaster cross checking penalty led to a goal just 2:46 into the second period by Maine's Tim Doherty. Midway through the period a Matt Forchuk hooking penalty led to a Maine goal by Patrick Holway to tie the game at three after two periods.

Quinnipiac took the lead back early in the third period when Karlis Cukste cleaned up a rebound in front off Thomas Aldworth's initial chance giving the Bobcats the lead once again. However Maine would tie the game back up on an unbelievable individual effort by freshman Eduards Tralmaks highlight reel goal as he used great stick work getting around Quinnipiac's Brandon Fortunato and then back handing one past Andrew Shortridge.
Quinnipiac's Bo Pieper and Maine's Canon Pieper battle in action (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)

The Black Bears took the lead five minutes later on Cedric Lacroix's first goal of the season and then the Bobcats saw the flood gates open up with two more Maine goals in less than two minutes. Keith Petruzzelli replaced Shortridge for the final three minutes of the game as Quinnipiac dropped to 6-9-2 with the loss and giving Maine its first ever win in Hamden against Quinnipiac.

Despite getting out to an early lead, Quinnipiac could not keep the momentum along with not being able to play a full 60 minute game. There was defensive lapses, poor fore-checking and back-checking along with giving Maine easy access into the offensive zone on the night. After the first 13 minutes Maine took control of the game with strong play at the end of the first period and into the second period leading to this come from behind win so give the Black Bears all the credit for staying in this game not getting down on themselves when Quinnipiac got off to a fast start. Quinnipiac put an astounding 54 shots on Swayman who made 50 saves while Maine scored 7 goals off 30 shots. The two teams close out the first half of the season tomorrow night in Hamden where Quinnipiac looks to end the first half on a winning note.

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Scouting the Enemy: Maine Black Bears

Quinnipiac is limping into the end the of the first semester having only gotten one point last weekend after losing to Harvard and having an embarrassing tie to Dartmouth on Saturday night. To close out the first half of the season the Bobcats welcome the Maine Black Bears to Hamden where it will be a Pieper brothers reunion with Bo's brother Canon a former Quinnipiac player now on the Maine side. Quinnipiac will be without Logan Mick on Friday night as he was suspended by ECAC Hockey for his hit on Dartmouth's Joey Matthews.  All-time Quinnipiac is 4-4-1 against Maine with a 2-0 record against the Black Bears in Hamden. 

Maine Key Players: Mitchell Fossier (F), Eduards Tralmaks (F), Tim Doherty (F), Chase Pearson (F), Nolan Vesey (F), Patrick Shea (F), Brady Keeper (D), Patrick Holway (D), Rob Michel (D), Jeremy Swayman (G)

While Maine is averaging three goals per game this season (21st nationally), they have been Jekyll and Hyde a times. In 7 games which led to 6 wins they scored 4 or more goals. In those other 7 games they are averaging 1.14 goals per game and have been shutout 3 times this season. The question is which Maine offense will show up this weekend against Quinnipiac. The teams top five scorers are all underclassmen led by Mitchell Fossier (11 points), Eduards Tralmaks (9 points), Tim Doherty (9 points) and Chase Pearson (9 points). Two defenseman in Patrick Holway and Rob Michel have 8 points apiece. Former Quinnipiac forward Canon Pieper has 7 points and will play against his brother Bo in a reunion this weekend. The Maine power play is 34th in the country at 17.54% (10-of-57) and if there is one thing that Quinnipiac does fairly well its kill penalties at a clip of 84.1% (53-of-63) which ties them at 15th in the country.

Maine's defense has been a mixed bag this season. While they give up 3.21 goals per game (tied for 42nd nationally) there have been a handful of games they have looked good keeping the goals allowed down while there have been others where they have given up five plus goals (BU, UConn and Miami games). They do a good job at blocking shots with 14 blocked shots per game. They struggle with puck possession and that has lead to lapses on the defense. Granted they are lucky to have Jeremy Swayman back there or things could be worse. Maine has a lot of youth on the defense with four of their six defenseman to play in 10 games or more either freshman or sophomores. When this team struggles it takes bad penalties. Maine is averaging 17.50 penalty minutes per game which is by far most in the country and it has killed them this year putting the defense in vulnerable positions. They have the worst penalty kill in the country at 69.1% so for Quinnipiac to be successful it would be smart to get Maine to take a slew of penalties this weekend to get on the power play where they could potentially do damage.

Jeremy Swayman has been very good as a freshman in goal for the Black Bears. The Boston Bruins 4th round draft pick in 2017 has taken the starting job away from junior Rob McGovern and has a 5-3-1 record with a 2.38 goals against average and a .925 save percentage. At 6'2 he brings size in between the pipes but is active and will move out from the crease to cut off angles. He recently was named to the preliminary roster for the United States World Junior team. He will present a challenge to Quinnipiac that has had massive issues scoring goals this season.

Quinnipiac needs go into the first semester break with some momentum against a team that is pretty mirage image to them in terms of being Jekyll and Hyde on the season. In order to avoid being under .500 at the end of a first semester since the 2005-2006 season, Quinnipiac will need to sweep Maine this weekend.

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Ethan de Jong named to Canada West team for World Junior A Challenge

Ethan de Jong (photo by James Doyle, Prince George Citizen)

Quinnipiac commit Ethan de Jong has been named to the Canada West team for the 2017 World Junior A Hockey Challenge that begins on December 10th in Nova Scotia. The tournament features teams from the United States, Russia, Czech Republic, Switzerland and two teams from Canada.

The 5'10 175 pound de Jong has been one of the hottest players in the BCHL in the last month. He is currently riding a six game point streak (3 goals, 9 assists) and also has points in 10 of his last 11 games played (5 goals, 12 assists). He is currently tied for 6th in scoring in the BCHL with 38 points (12 goals, 26 assists) in 30 games played and is averaging 1.27 points per game this season. The BobcatsHockeyBlog and all of BobcatNation would like to congratulate Ethan on this great accomplishment in his hockey career.

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Logan Mick suspended one game by ECAC Hockey

Logan Mick (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog
Quinnipiac forward Logan Mick has been issued a one game suspension by ECAC Hockey for his check on Dartmouth's Joey Matthews in Saturday's 0-0 tie with the Big Green. The play happened at the 2:40 mark of the third period where Mick hit Matthews into the boards as both were going for the puck. No initial call on the ice was made and only after a conference between the four officials and the fact that Matthews had to be taken off the ice was a major interference call assessed. The hit was nothing like the one he dished out a season ago on the road against Boston University when he launched into a Terriers player. He will miss Friday's game against the University of Maine.

Logan Mick hit on Dartmouth's Joey Matthews (video by Justin Cait, QU Chronicle)

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Monday, December 4, 2017

In the Pipeline: 12/4/17

Quinnipiac is heading down the closing stretch of the first half of the season with only two games remaining next weekend against Maine before winter break. Standing at 6-8-2 the first half of the season has not gone as expected for a team that was picked second in the league in the ECAC preseason poll. Too much inconsistent play has hurt the Bobcats through the first half coupled with a struggling offense that is only averaging 2.86 goals per game placing them in the bottom third of college hockey. For a team that was 8th one month ago in the pairwise rankings now sits at #42, a massive fall for a team with big expectations of returning to the NCAA tournament. They have time to figure it out but an at-large is looking like its going to be washed away unless they ran the table the rest of the way. Quinnipiac needs a sweep next weekend just to avoid being under .500 at the end of a 1st half of a season since the 2005-2006 campaign. With that said let's take a look at what some of the future Bobcats did over the past week.
Guus van Nes, recent Quinnipiac commit has been on fire recently for the Jr. Bruins

USHL commits

Wyatt Bongiovanni had a strong weekend for the Muskegon Lumberjacks with 2 goals and 1 assist. He now has goals in his last 3 games and 4 of his last 5. In his last 5 games played Bongiovanni has 7 points (4 goals, 3 assists). On the season he has 14 points (8 goals, 6 assists) in 18 games played. 3 of his 8 goals have come via the power play.

William Fällström had one assist over the weekend for the Fargo Force in two games played. In 19 games played the Sweden native has 11 points (3 goals, 8 assists).

Domenick Fensore had one assist in two games played over the weekend as the U-17 US Developmental team played Fargo and Youngstown in USHL play. In 9 USHL games played he has 2 assists.

Justin Robbins had his best start of the season for the Chicago Steel. The New Jersey native made 35 saves giving up 2 goals in a 3-0 loss to the Des Moines Buccaneers. He has shown improvement in each of the four games he has played as he adjusts to the play of the USHL.

NCDC Commits

Guus van Nes has been on fire since committing to Quinnipiac. Over the weekend he had 5 points (2 goals, 3 assists) in 2 games played for the Junior Bruins. He is riding a 7 game point streak (5 goals, 10 assists) to take over the scoring lead in the NCDC.

Daniel Winslow picked up a goal and an assist in two games played for the New Jersey Hitmen over the weekend. The Connecticut native in 20 games played has 19 points (7 goals, 12 assists).

AJHL Commits

Matt Cassidy had two points over the past week in two games (1 goal, 1 assist). The New Jersey native has 16 points (7 goals, 9 assists) in 22 games played for the Brooks Bandits.

BCHL Commits

Ethan de Jong of the Prince George Spruce Kings picked up one goal this past weekend. He only played in one game due to going to the WJAC Canada West evaluation camp. He's been well over a point per game player this year in the BCHL with 38 points (12 goals, 26 assists) in 30 games played. While he is committed for the 2019-2020 season and already signed his NLI it wouldn't shock me to see him accelerated to the 2018-2019 season depending on how Quinnipiac finishes this season and depending on if they can bring in additional talent for next season in order to hold de Jong back another season for development.

Prep Schools

Peter Diliberatore had two assists in two games played for the Salisbury School as they opened their season with two wins. Diliberatore is good puck mover and someone who has the ability to play the point and contribute offensively.

Matt Fawcett returned from Sioux City in the USHL to play with Wincendon again this season. In the opening game for his team he scored the game winning goal in Saturday's game against St. Marks. He had 3 assists in 10 games for Sioux City before returning back east.

Midget Commits

Both Ethan Phillips and PJ Fletcher had good weekends for the South Kent Selects U-16 team. On Friday the team took part in a charity game with the #4 national ranked North Jersey Avalanche U-16 team. Combined the teams raised $80,000 for the American Cancer Society so great work for both programs doing good for people off the ice as well. Phillips had a goal and an assist Friday and his assist set up Fletcher for his goal. Both players played on Saturday against Skipjacks U-16 and Phillips had two goals while Fletcher had one assist.

Victor Czerneckianair had a strong weekend for the South Kent U-15 team. Last weekend he had 34 points for the season now up to 38 points (18 goals, 20 assists) which puts him second on the team in goals and 3rd on the team in overall scoring.

Jacob Quillan added 1 assist this past weekend in two games played for the Steele Subaru Major Midgets. On the season Quillan now has 25 points (8 goals, 17 assists) in 23 games played.

Austin Spiridakis picked up another two points (1 goal, 1 assist) this past weekend for the St. Albert Tire Warehouse Raiders AAA team. In 19 games played, Spiridakis has 9 points (5 goals, 4 assists).

You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.