Friday, October 19, 2018

Weekend Preview: Boston College Eagles

Quinnipiac at Boston College in the 2017-2018 season

Boston College Head Coach: Jerry York (25th season)

2018-2019 Boston College record: 0-2

All-time vs. Vermont: Quinnipiac leads series 2-0-1

Boston College Key Players: Oliver Wahlstrom (F), Jack McBain (F), David Cotton (F), Logan Hutsko (F), Christopher Brown (F), Graham McPhee (F), Julius Mattila (F), Michael Kim (D), Casey Fitzgerald (D), Joseph Woll (G)

The 18th ranked Boston College Eagles opened up their season last week with a pair of road losses to the Wisconsin Badgers 3-0 and 7-5. For the team that was ranked 12th in the USCHO preseason poll it was not the way they expected to start the season. It also extended its win less streak against non Hockey Teams. The last time Boston College won a game against a team other than Hockey East was on November 13, 2016 against Arizona State. That is an eternity for a Jerry York coached team. The Eagles feature 11 draft picks on this roster highlighted by star freshman Oliver Wahlstrom a first round pick of the New York Islanders.

Boston College returns 106 of 108 goals from last season as they had one lone senior on the roster. They add talented freshman Oliver Wahlstrom and Jack McBain into the mix. Quinnipiac may have caught a break as McBain is dealing with an illness and missed last weekends games against Wisconsin and reports are he may miss the game against Quinnipiac. Still this team has a lot of fire power across the board that Quinnipiac will have to worry about including the talented Wahlstrom. Quinnipiac needs to put a ton of focus on Wahlstrom as he has the ability to take over a game. You may remember Wahlstrom from his incredible goal in the Bruins mini one on one back when he was 9 years old. The team has more than just Wahlstrom as Hutsko, Cotton, Mattila and McPhee all posted more than 20 points a season ago and are primed for more this season.

The Eagles have some talented defenseman but this is a defense that just gave up 10 goals in two games against Wisconsin. Seniors Casey Fitzgerald and Michael Kim lead the way as good offensive defenseman. Its a defense that features five upperclassmen but not a ton of size. Jesper Mattila, Luke McInnis and Connor Moore bring a steady presence to the blue line for Jerry York's team. I wouldn't expect this defense to allow as many goals as they gave up last weekend but this could be an area of weakness for them. The lone freshman is Adam Samuelsson the son of former NHL player Ulf.

Junior goaltender Jospeh Woll a Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick has been the consistence presence in net for the Eagles for the past two seasons. He struggled last weekend against the Badgers but that should be a blip on the radar for him. The 6'4 Woll plays big in between the pipes and has the ability to make big time saves. He's won 17 games each the past two seasons and will carry the load again this season for the Eagles.

Fresh off a quality 4-2 win over UConn, Quinnipiac continues its tour of Hockey East teams in welcoming Boston College to Hamden for the first time ever. Quinnipiac beat Boston College in the 2016 National Semifinals in Tampa and in the Three Rivers Classic two years ago before tying them in Chestnut Hill, MA as year ago in the season opener. This is one of Jerry York's more talented teams in the past couple of years and much more experienced than they were a season ago when these two teams met. For Quinnipiac to win they will need to play sound defense and get strong goal-tending along with getting some puck luck and outworking the Eagles for loose pucks in all three zones.


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Thursday, October 18, 2018

Q&A with Quinnipiac commit Wyatt Head

Wyatt Head (photo by Lorne White, Kelowna Now)
The Quinnipiac connection to the BCHL has gone back many years with many talented players in Bobcats history arriving by way of the Junior A league in Western Canada. Its no surprise that Quinnipiac continues to recruit out there for many of their players. This past week the Bobcats picked up another commit out of the BCHL, this time in West Kelowna Warriors defenseman Wyatt Head. I had a chance to catch up with Wyatt for a Q&A on his recent commitment, his hockey development among other things. Thanks to Wyatt for taking the time out of his busy schedule to do this.


@QHockeyBlog: First off congratulations. What are your emotions like after making this decision to announce your college commitment to Quinnipiac?

Wyatt Head: Thank you. Obviously there’s a little stress off the back after a long time of working towards a college commitment to a great school. It is a lot of excitement in now knowing my future is set with a unbelievable program in Quinnipiac.

@QHockeyBlog: When was the first time Quinnipiac reached out to you in order to let them know of their interest? Have they been on for you for awhile?

Wyatt Head: I first talked to them early in this season at the BCHL showcase and talks continued after that.

@QHockeyBlog: What other NCAA schools showed interest in you before you decided on Quinnipiac?

Wyatt Head: I had talked to a hand full of schools early this season including UMass-Lowell, RIT, Bentley and a few others, but Quinnipiac had always been one of my favorite schools growing up so they immediately jumped out at me when talking with them.

@QHockeyBlog: You mentioned that Quinnipiac has been one of your favorite schools growing up. Have you been following Quinnipiac hockey for a long time?

Wyatt Head: I wouldn’t say a long time but since they’ve had those few real strong runs competing for the championship between 2013 and 2016. So I’ve definitely been following them for a few years.

@QHockeyBlog: You played with current Quinnipiac Bobcat Michael Lombardi last season with West Kelowna. Did you consult with him prior to making the decision on committing to Quinnipiac?

Wyatt Head: Yes for sure I talked to him about it. He told me how he was enjoying it and had lots of good things to say about the program. Just seeing the campus, facilities and talking with the coaches along with the winning culture they’ve created there made the decision to commit there one I felt very confident about.

@QHockeyBlog: Your in your second full season with West Kelowna and after having 21 points a season ago in 58 games played you already have 11 points in 14 games? What type of things did you work on this past summer in order to improve your game in order to see increased offensive production from the blue line?

Wyatt Head: Well I’m definitely trying to improve my strength and speed always which is a huge part of jumping up to college as well. I also did a lot of skill sessions such as power edge pro.

@QHockeyBlog: Your expected to enroll for the 2019-2020 season. What are some of things you want to work on in your game prior to making the jump to the college game?

Wyatt Head: I want to add some weight and get faster and stronger which is something you’ll hear from for a lot of guys making the jump to college. I’ll continue to develop my skills as well as there’s always a lot to work on.

@QHockeyBlog: What would you consider so of your strengths right now as a player?

Wyatt Head: I’d consider myself a very smart hockey player with a high hockey IQ and the ability to make plays. Offense is a big strength of mine for sure.

@QHockeyBlog: Is there any player that you try to model your game after?

Wyatt Head: A player I’ve grown to really like to watch is Drew Doughty. He plays with a lot of passion and always try’s to make something happen when he’s out there. Another player I try to model my game after would be Tyson Barrie from Colorado. I like his ability to make plays out there.

@QHockeyBlog: To this point in your life who has been your biggest influence or role model to help you get this opportunity to play Division 1 NCAA hockey?

Wyatt Head: I think the biggest influences so far in my life have been my parents. They both work extremely hard to give me opportunities to succeed.

@QHockeyBlog: Tell us what type of person the Quinnipiac community will get in Wyatt Head on and off the ice?

Wyatt Head: I believe they will get a hard working and passionate person. I also consider myself a very caring and selfless person.

@QHockeyBlog: Off the ice what do you enjoy doing when you are not playing hockey?

Wyatt Head: In the summer, I’m a big golf guy and also spend time with my friends and get out and do something. If there’s any opportunity to go hangout with my friends for the day or night I’m there. I’m a very social guy that loves to keep busy.


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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Fallstrom's two goals propel Quinnipiac to home opener win over UConn

Brogan Rafferty skates with the puck against UConn (photo by BobcatsHockeyBlog.com)

Freshman forward William Fallstrom scored two goals including the game winning goal and an empty net goal to lead Quinnipiac to a 4-2 win over UConn in the teams home opener at the Frank Perotti, Jr. Arena at the newly renamed People's United Bank Center. It was the first time since the 2015-2016 that Quinnipiac opened the season with two consecutive wins and that season ended with a Frozen Four appearance in Tampa.

The Bobcats scored the first two goals less than two minutes apart. Senior defenseman Brandon Fortunato got the scoring started when he took a pass from freshman Desi Burgart and found himself wide open and beat UConn goaltender Adam Huska short side just 4:22 into the opening frame.
Less than two minutes later Wyatt Bongionvanni fed Odeen Tufto in front who corralled the puck on his stick faked out Huska and put a back-hander past him for his second goal of the season. UConn got one back late in the first period on freshman Jonny Evans first collegiate goal.

Fallstrom scored the eventual game winner in the second period when Alex Whelan fed him cross ice and Fallstrom beat a diving Huska. Quinnipiac only allowed two UConn shots on goal the entire second period. "The whole month of September and into this month we have been stressing good defense, Fortunato said." Quinnipiac continued its strong defense allowing only five shots in third period and just 13 for the entire game. "Shot blocking is one of the big parts of our culture here, Fortunato added. I think our freshman have done a good job adapting to our culture and it showed tonight."

Quinnipiac vs. UConn (photo by BobcatsHockeyBlog.com)

An ugly hit in happened early in the third period where Brogan Rafferty knocked out Ruslan Iskhakov who lost the puck in the offensive zone and looked down to find it only for Rafferty to run into him. Rafferty never launched or left his feet and the hit was clean in my opinion but he was still given a five minute charging penalty and a game misconduct. UConn never scored on the major penalty but added a power play goal later on in the game by Carter Turnball. Fallstrom added an empty net goal while Keith Petruzzelli made 11 saves for his second consecutive win.

Quinnipiac returns to action on Friday night when they welcome 18th ranked Boston College (0-2) and 11th overall pick Oliver Wahlstrom who is one of 11 draft picks on the Eagles roster into Hamden for the first time ever. Gametime is set for 7 pm at the People's United Bank Center.


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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Weekday Preview: UConn Huskies

Quinnipiac at UConn in the 2017-2018 season

UConn Head Coach: Mike Cavanaugh (6th season) 67-89-25

2018-2019 UConn record: 1-0

All-time vs. Vermont: Quinnipiac leads series 18-11-2

University of Connecticut Key Players: Alexander Payusov (F), Benjamin Freeman (F), Jachym Kondelik (F), Kale Howarth (F), Ruslan Iskhakov (F), Miles Gendron (D), Philip Nyberg (D), Adam Huska (G)

The Connecticut Huskies opened their season with a 5-2 win over the United States Military Academy this past Friday. Mike Cavanaugh's team is very young with 11 new freshman into the fold and 17 underclassmen on the roster. While they may be young and have inexperience they do have some talent on the roster in the form of 7 NHL draft picks including four of them who are freshman. The Huskies were picked 8th in the preseason Hockey East coaches poll.

UConn lost its top two scorers from a season ago when Max Letunov signed professionally and Spencer Naas graduated. That is 52 points of offense they will have to replace. Juniors Benjamin Freeman and Alexander Payusov are the top two returning scorers for the Huskies who had 21 and 20 points respectively as season ago. Seniors Karl El-Mir and Max Kalter need to provide more offense as well. Three impact freshman NHL draft picks arrive on campus in Jachym Kondelik, Kale Howarth and Ruslan Iskhakov. Kondelik and Iskhakov have four points already on the young season.  One other freshman to watch for is Jonny Evans (1 assist) who had 190 points in 194 games in the BCHL.

The Huskies have a very tall defense led by captain Miles Gendron and Philip Nyberg the two lone draft picks on the blue line. Five of the seven defenseman stand 6'2 or taller but of the seven defenseman four of them are underclassmen so there is some youth and inexperience back there. This might be an area where UConn is vulnerable and where Quinnipiac could take advantage.

Junior goaltender Adam Huska a New York Rangers draft pick has played the majority of the games the past two season got the start against Army and was strong giving up two goals and finishing the game with a .941 save percentage. Last season Huska finished with a 2.59 goals against average and a .912 save percentage. The Huskies also have a talented freshman in Tomas Vomacka a 5th round draft pick of the Nashville Predators who will push Huska this season to be better in net.

Fresh off a thrilling 3-2 come from behind win over Vermont, Quinnipiac now plays it home opener with instate rival UConn. Its another good chance for the Quinnipiac freshman to continue to improve and contribute and for the Bobcats, a chance to pick up another win against a Hockey East program and to build confidence going into Friday nights premiere match-up at home against Boston College. 


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Monday, October 15, 2018

In the Pipeline: 10/15/2018

Quinnipiac is off and running for the 2018-2019 season. A thrilling 3-2 come from behind win over the Vermont Catamounts gave the Bobcats the type of the start this team needed as it looks to have a bounce back season. Chase Priskie and Odeen Tufto saved the day with big time goals and many of the young players stepped up with points in this effort. Quinnipiac next plays Tuesday against UConn for the home opener. It was also a solid week for some of the future Bobcats so let's take a look at how they have done over the past week.

Logan Britt


USHL commits

Quinnipiac picked up its most recent commit in goaltender Evan Fear from the Green Bay Gamblers. The Illinois native picked up a 5-4 overtime win over Waterloo on Saturday in which he made 37 saves. On the season, Head is 2-2 with a 3.23 goals against average and a .899 save percentage.

Logan Britt picked up a goal over the weekend for the Lincoln Stars. The defenseman has a goal and two assists in six games played so far this season.

Justin Robbins went 1-1 in the last week for the Chicago Steel. He had a very solid game when he gave up two goals in a win against Madison but gave up five goals in loss on Saturday against Muskegon. On the season he is 2-2 with a 4.35 goals against average and a .829 save percentage.

Skyler Brind'Amour (photo by the Chilliwack Chiefs)


BCHL commits

Quinnipiac picked up a new commit out of the BCHL last week with 1999 born defenseman Wyatt Head of the West Kelowna Warriors. The blue liner has gotten off to a strong start with 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) in 13 games played. Stay tuned for a Q&A coming up with Wyatt Head.

Matthew Fawcett has gotten off to a hot start for the Powell River Kings as a rookie with 10 points in his first 10 games played on 3 goals and 7 asssists.

Tyler Ghirardosi has a five game point streak for the Trail Smoke Eaters with three goals and three assists in his last five games played. He had a pair of goals over the weekend and now has 9 points (5 goals, 4 assists) in 13 games played.

Skyler Brind'Amour won the BCHL player of the week last week. The Chilliwack Chiefs forward picked up two points this week on a goal and an assist to bring his totals to 10 points (3 goals, 7 assists) in 15 games played.

Corey Clifton picked up an assist this week bring his totals to 5 points (1 goal, 4 assists) in 15 games played for the Surrey Eagles.

OJHL commits

Nick Kent picked up two assists in three games played for the Buffalo Jr. Sabres this past week. On the season Kent has 8 points (1 goal, 7 assists) in 14 games played. 

Midget Commits

Victor Czerneckianair continues to tally the points for the Selects at South Kent U-16 team. He has 26 points (14 goals and 12 assists) in 20 games played this season.

Oscar Plandowski continues to pile up points from the blue line for the Selects at South Kent U-15 team. In 18 games played he has 22 points (4 goals, 18 assists).


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Saturday, October 13, 2018

Tufto, Priskie late goals propel Quinnipiac to season opening win

Alex Whelan and the Bobcats got off on a strong note for the 2018-2019 season

Trailing 2-1 late in their season opener, Quinnipiac turned to its two most consistent players from a season ago to steal a road win late. Senior captain Chase Priskie blasted the tying goal from the edge of the top left circle to tie the game at two at the 17:41 mark of the third period. Tufto, Quinnipiac's leading scorer from a season ago took a loose puck and sniped a shot from the slot past Vermont goaltender Stefanos Lekkas with 15.2 seconds remaining to help the Bobcats get the 2018-2019 season off on the right foot.

A season after posting its worst record in over two decades when they went 16-18-4, Quinnipiac saw a handful of newcomers contribute to the opening night victory. Vermont took the lead towards the end of the first period on a Derek Lodermeier goal. The Bobcats were held scoreless throughout the second period and it wasn't until just under four minutes into the third that freshman Wyatt Bongiovanni redirected a pass from Alex Whelan past Lekkas to tie the game.

Vermont re-took the lead less than five minutes later when Joey Cipollone found the net past Quinnipic starter Keith Petruzzelli. Just when it looked the Bobcats offense was going to stall and they would fall on opening night, Rand Pecknold pulled his goaltender with an offensive zone face-off and his captain delivered with the tying goal. With the game appearing to head to overtime, Tufto sent the Bobcats home to Hamden with a winning feeling.

Freshman William Fallstrom, Desi Burgart and Ethan de Jong all recorded their first collegiate points with assists tonight. Craig Martin also had an assist for the Bobcats while sophomore goaltender Keith Petruzzelli made 22 saves in the win. Quinnipiac returns to the ice on Tuesday night for the home opener against UConn at the People's United Bank Center in Hamden.




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Weekend Preview: Vermont Catamounts

Quinnipiac vs. Vermont in 2017-2018 season

Vermont Head Coach: Kevin Sneddon (16th season)

2018-2019 Vermont record: 1-0

All-time vs. Vermont: Quinnipiac leads series 2-1

University of Vermont Key Players: Liam Coughlin (F), Alex Esposito (F), Matt Alvaro (F), Vlad Dzhioshvili (F), Derek Lodermeier (F), Bryce Misley (F), Liam Coughlin (F), Matt O'Donnell (D), Jake Massie (D), Stefanos Lekkas (G)

The Catamounts are coming off an impressive 5-2 win over pre-season #4 Michigan in Ann Arbor last weekend despite being out shot 50-24. Four different Catamounts scored goals and three players had multi point games to get Vermont off on the right foot. Quinnipiac had its final tune-up last weekend with a 5-2 exhibition win over the University of Prince Edward Island. With the dress rehearsal in the books, its now time to take to the stage of the 2018-2019 season.

Vermont lost its top scorer from a season ago when Ross Colton gave up the final two seasons of his college eligibility to turn pro. A team that scored just 79 goals last season has to replace the 16 goals along with 8 on the power play that Colton provided. Our friends over at the UVM Hockey Blog believe it will have to be a collective effort in order to replace Colton as discussed in our Q&A. The top line of Coughlin, Esposito and Alvaro all recorded points on the first two goals against Michigan. That will be the line to watch. Vermont doesn't look like it has a ton of offensive depth but its still early in the season. Former Quinnipiac commit John DeRoche is a freshman on this Catamount team. Bryce Misley and Liam Coughlin are the lone draft picks at forward.

Despite a win last week over Michigan, the Vermont defense might be one of the teams weaknesses according to the UVM Hockey Blog. Its a defense that features no seniors on the blue line. Junior captain Matt O'Donnell and fellow junior Jake Massie provide the veteran experience on the blue line but the majority of the players are sophomores and freshman. They gave up a lot of shots and shot attempts in the Michigan game and that can't continue for Vermont if they want to have success. Massie is the lone draft pick on the blue line for Vermont.

Junior goaltender Stefanos Lekkas is between the pipes as the starter for the third consecutive season. He has won 29 games in two seasons plus one game this season during his time with Vermont. While not overly big he is a steady presence in between the pipes and capable of playing at a high level for Vermont. Lekkas has two career games played against Quinnipiac winning in Belfast Friendship Four championship two years ago before losing to the Bobcats in overtime in Hamden a season ago.

Coming off the programs first losing season in 22 years it is important for Quinnipiac with 12 new freshman on this roster to get off to a good start and build momentum for the 2018-2019 campaign. Quinnipiac will need its young players to step up and the veterans to have better seasons in the past if it wants to return to the heights of the teams between 2013-2016.


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