Friday, March 16, 2018

Tanner MacMaster signs with AHL Utica Comets

Tanner MacMaster, left in game against Maine earlier this season

Quinnipiac University Men's Ice Hockey senior forward Tanner MacMaster has signed an amateur tryout contract with the Utica Comets of the AHL, as announced by the club in a press release. The Comets are the minor league affiliate of the NHL Vancouver Canucks. MacMaster completed the best season of his four-year collegiate career with 33 points (13 goals, 20 assists) and his 13 goals tied him for second on the team behind Alex Whelan's 16. He finished his career in Hamden with 84 points (30 goals, 54 assists) in 150 games played.

He was part of two Quinnipiac teams that won the Cleary Cup for the ECAC regular season champion in 2015 and 2016 along with winning the schools first ever Whitelaw Cup in 2016 as the champions of the ECAC tournament. He also played in the NCAA Tournament twice in 2015 and 2016 with the latter year making it all the way to the National Championship game in Tampa, FL before falling to North Dakota.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Chase Priskie & Odeen Tufto make All-ECAC teams

Chase Priskie, 2nd team All ECAC selection (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)

Junior defenseman Chase Priskie and freshman forward Odeen Tufto both made All-ECAC teams today as was announced by the league office. Priskie, Quinnipiac's captain made the Second Team All-ECAC after posting 25 points (11 goals, 14 assists) in 37 games played with a team leading 8 power play goals. His 25 points were good for third on the team in scoring behind freshman Odeen Tufto (41) and senior Tanner MacMaster (33). This is the third consecutive season that Priskie has amassed 25 or more points in a season. Priskie was a third team All-ECAC selection a season ago and as a freshman made the ECAC All-Rookie team.

Odeen Tufto's 41 points (9 goals, 32 assists) in 38 games played were the most points for a freshman in the country. His 32 assists tied him for third overall in that category but most for a freshman in the country and it broke the Quinnipiac Division I freshman record for assists which was 31 set by Brian Hebert back in the 1999-2000 season . He is the first Quinnipiac freshman to amass 40 plus points or more in a season since Sam Anas did it with 43 (20 goals, 23 assists) back in the 2013-2014. He also had 15 multi point games for the Bobcats this season.

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Monday, March 12, 2018

In the Pipeline: 3/12/2018

The 2017-2018 Quinnipiac season came to a conclusion on Saturday night. A night after getting blown out 9-1, the Bobcats showed a lot of character battling is strong Cornell team before falling short and losing 2-0. The team finished 16-18-4 which was its worst record since the 1995-1996 season when the school was still playing at the Division II level. While the season may be over that doesn't mean the content here at the blog stops. There is still recruits playing in junior leagues or below, some of the seniors may sign pro contracts or there could be an early departure to the pros from the Quinnipiac roster. We will cover it all and thank everyone that followed this season for the BobcatsHockeyBlog and hope you all continue reading. With that said there was a lot of great play by some of the Quinnipiac commits so lets get to that below.

Desi Burgart, center (photo by the Surrey Now-Leader)

BCHL commits

There isn't a hotter player in the BCHL right now than Desi Burgart over the last week. In 4 games played he had 7 goals and that was only in two of the four games. In Game 4 he had four goals while in the clinching Game 6 for Surrey he had a hat trick. He is third in the BCHL in playoff scoring with 9 points (8 goals, 1 assist). His 8 goals are the most in the BCHL playoffs to this point. Surrey now will have a second round series beginning at Prince George.

St. Louis, Missouri native T.J. Friedmann missed some time in the BCHL playoffs with a lower body injury but returned for the Victoria Grizzlies Game 7 win. He finished the first round series with 5 points (2 goals, 3 assists) in the four playoff games. Despite his team in an 0-2 hole he has been one of the bright spots early in the playoffs. Victoria begins the second round at home against Powell River.

Ethan De Jong had three goals in four games played with week for the Prince George Spruce Kings as they won a Game 7 at home to move into the second round. De Jong has 4 points (3 goals, 1 assist) in 7 playoff games. His team now will host fellow commit Desi Burgart and the Surrey Eagles in the second round.

Michael Lombardi had his first BCHL season come to an end. He had a goal in Game 4 as West Kelowna was swept out of the playoffs. He finished the postseason with two goals in four games. He's projected for the 2018-2019 recruiting class but also could be pushed a season for the 2019-2020 class.

Nick Kent and the Wenatchee Wild have moved into the second round against the Vernon Vipers. Kent played in 3 games in the first series but did not record a point.

Wyatt Bongiovanni (photo by

USHL commits

William Fallstrom had a pair of assists in two games played this weekend for the Fargo Force. In 47 games, the Sweden native has 34 points (10 goals, 24 assists). His team is currently 4th in the USHL Western Conference and fighting to stay in a playoff spot.

Wyatt Bongiovanni had a five point weekend (2 goals and 3 assists) in two games played for the Muskegon Lumberjacks over the weekend. The Michigan native has 32 points (15 goals, 17 assists) in 33 games played and averaging almost a point per game. He missed six weeks of the season with an undisclosed injury.

Zach Metsa had a pair of assists two games played for the Central Illinois Flying Aces. In 51 games played between Central Illinois and Youngstown, Metsa has 20 points (2 goals, 18 assists). Since his trade to Central Illinois he has 7 points (1 goal, 6 assists) in 14 games played.

NCDC commits

Cameron Boudreau had one goal in Saturday's 6-1 Jr. Bruins win over the South Shore Kings. The late 1999 born defenseman finished the regular season with 12 points (3 goals, 9 assists) in 42 games played on the blue line. The left shot defenseman is steady in his own zone, plays with physicality, retrieves pucks well and is solid at moving the puck. He is currently number 117 on the NHL Central Scouting mid term rankings.

NAHL commits

Marcus Chorney of the Amarillo Bulls had one assist in three games played this past weekend. In 52 games played, Chorney has 23 points (5 goals, 18 assists) with a minus 7 rating. He also recently took part in the NAHL Top Prospects game for Team South where in 2 games he had one assist. As a 1997 born player he is part of the 2018-2019 recruiting class.

AJHL commits

Matt Cassidy had a goal in 3 playoff games so far for the Brooks Bandits as they swept their best-of-five first round series with the Canmore Eagles. They now await their second round opponent. 

Prep Schools/High Schools commits

John Campomenosi's Don Bosco Prep team fell in the New Jersey Non-Public State Championship 4-2 to the Delbarton School who won their third straight title. Campomenosi will now head to juniors before attending Quinnipiac.

Jack Silich, left, celebrating his accomplishment with his family

Midget Commits

Jack Silich had one assist and dished out 7 hits as the Chicago Mission won the Illinois Bantam AAA Major State Championship. Silich was also invited to participate in the 2018 AHAI player development camp for midget and bantam players on March 23-25 of this year. The Mission will head to regionals this weekend followed by Nationals on April 5th.

Jacob Quillan of the Steele Subaru Major Midgets had two goals in yesterday's 5-3 win over the Cape Breton West Islanders. In 9 playoffs games, Quillan has 8 points (3 goals, 5 assists).

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Sunday, March 11, 2018

Quinnipiac season ends with 2-0 loss to Cornell

Quinnipiac at Cornell, ECAC QF Game 2 (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)

For the first time in the Division I history of the Quinnipiac Bobcats a season will end under .500. The 2017-2018 season came to a conclusion on Saturday night with 2-0 loss to the ECAC top seed and #2 ranked Cornell Big Red in Game Two of the best-of-three ECAC Quarterfinal series before a raucous crowd at Lynah Rink in Ithaca, NY. Quinnipiac finished the season 16-18-4 to finish with its first losing season since the 1995-1996 season when they finished 11-12-4 in the second season of the Rand Pecknold era when the program was still in Division II. “It’s disappointing, said Rand Pecknold. It’s been 22 years since we’ve had a losing season. It’s a pretty good streak that came to an end.”

A night after getting their doors blown off in a 9-1 rout, Quinnipiac was much more competitive in this game and showed a lot more fight than they did in Game One but fell short of forcing a decisive Game Three on Sunday. Keith Petruzzelli (13 saves) once again started for Quinnipiac. Sophomore goaltender Andrew Shortridge was sidelined due to an injury which forced him to miss the last two series against Yale and Cornell.

Quinnipiac had 60 shot attempts in the game but what has been the story of this season they really struggled to find the back of the net. Cornell had 23 shot blocks which thwarted a lot of Quinnipiac chances. The Bobcats in the first period really tightened up on defense and out shot the Big Red 8-1 which was a big contrast from the night before when they were thoroughly dominated throughout the majority of the first period.

Just 2:01 into the second period Alex Rauter's (11th goal) hard work effort gave the Big Red the lead which they would relinquish. He took a rebound in the offensive fired a shot which was blocked and he took the loose puck and put the puck past a sliding Petruzzelli. In the third, Cornell's Anthony Angello got a five minute major and a game misconduct for a hit from behind on Scott Davidson. The Bobcats had a golden chance with a wide open net but the puck hit iron.

Quinnipiac at Cornell, ECAC QF Game 2 (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)

A turnover in the Quinnipiac defensive zone gave Cornell the insurance goal by Mitch Vanderlaan (7th goal) at the 8:46 mark of the third period. Quinnipiac had another late five minute major that they could not convert on after a Mitch Vanderlaan contact to the head penalty gave him a game misconduct as well. Matthew Galajda (22 saves) recorded his 9th shutout of the season as Cornell moves on to Lake Placid for the second consecutive season while Quinnipiac's streak of five consecutive ECAC championship weekend appearances comes to an end.

Seniors Kevin McKernan, Kevin Duane, Bo Pieper, Tanner MacMaster and Landon Smith (who was injured) helped lead the program to 94 wins and two trips to the NCAA tournament and a Frozen Four berth in their time in Hamden. Quinnipiac now has seven months to prepare for the next season as they try to get back to the NCAA tournament after now having missed it in consecutive seasons after a string of four straight appearances from 2013-2016.

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Friday, March 9, 2018

Quinnipiac blown out in Game One by Cornell 9-1

Quinnipiac at Cornell in Game 1 of the ECAC QF (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)

The Quinnipiac Bobcats men's ice hockey season is officially on the brink of extinction. The Bobcats suffered their second worst ECAC playoff loss since entering the league in the 2005-2006 season with a 9-1 loss at the hands of the top seed and #2 ranked Cornell Big Red at Lynah Rink on Friday night in Game One of the best-of-three ECAC Quarterfinal series. The only worse loss suffered by Quinnipiac was in the 2008 ECAC Quarterfinals when they lost 11-0 in Game One to Harvard before winning 7-4 the following night.

This game was a bit of a reminiscent of Game Two of the 2013 ECAC Quarterfinals when Quinnipiac blew out Cornell 10-0 on its home ice. Cornell clearly returned the favor tonight and they didn't let up trying to score either until into the third period. I wouldn't have expected anything less after the beating that Mike Schafer and his program took five years ago at the hands of Quinnipiac. After the game it was reported that head coach Rand Pecknold nor any of the players were made available for comment to the media in Ithaca.

Cornell got on the board not even two minutes into the game. After an interference penalty by sophomore Alex Whelan, Cornell's Alec McCrea blasted a one-timer from the point from a feed by Brendan Locke. Quinnipiac goaltender Keith Petruzzelli (18 saves) was screened on the shot and had zero chance to save it. Cornell continued to dominate the first 10 plus minutes of the game.

Quinnipiac at Cornell in Game 1 of the ECAC QF (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)

Quinnipiac evened the score on the power play when a Karlis Cukste shot was tipped in past Cornell's Matthew Galajda (12 saves) by Tanner MacMaster (13th goal). Late in the period Cornell grabbed the momentum and the lead for good when the puck after coming off the end wall bounced off Keith Petruzzelli's stick and right to Alex Rauter who put it in on an empty net. A little more than a minute later Jeff Malott gave the Big Red a 3-1 lead and from there the flood gates opened.

Petruzzelli gave up three more goals including a pair to Mitch Vanderlaan and one to Beau Starrett before being pulled in favor of fellow freshman Josh Mayanja (5 saves) who was making his collegiate debut. He proceeded to give up three more goals to Alex Rauter, Starrett and Cody Haiskanen before Rand Pecknold turned back to Petruzzelli for the third period. 

Quinnipiac will look to rebound on Saturday night at Lynah Rink in order to force a Game Three on Sunday afternoon.

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Thursday, March 8, 2018

Odeen Tufto named finalist for ECAC Rookie of the Year

Odeen Tufto, bottom left (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)

Quinnipiac men's ice hockey freshman Odeen Tufto has been named a finalist for ECAC Rookie of the Year as announced by the league office in a press release. The other finalists are Cornell goaltender Matthew Galajda and Clarkson forward Jack Jacome. The award will be announced next week prior to the start of championship weekend in Lake Placid

The Chaska, Minnesota native has exploded onto the scene in Hamden with a team leading 41 points (9 goals, 32 assists) in 36 games played. His 32 assists lead Quinnipiac and are most among freshman in NCAA Division I play. He has 15 multi point games which includes last week's Game 2 victory against Yale. He is the 11th Quinnipiac freshman to reach 30 or more points as a freshman and the first Quinnipiac freshman to reach the 40 point plateau since Sam Anas had 43 points back in the 2013-2014 season.

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Playoff Preview: Quinnipiac Bobcats at Cornell Big Red

Quinnipiac vs Cornell in match up earlier this season (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)

A week after dispatching their Whitney Avenue rival in the Yale Bulldogs, Quinnipiac faces another familiar foe in the #2 ranked Cornell Big Red a team that Quinnipiac has faced more than any other team in the ECAC playoffs since moving to the conference back in the 2005-2006 season. This will be the teams 5th meeting in the quarterfinals with Quinnipiac winning three of the prior four meetings with the last three series going to a decisive Game 3. It's a bit of a role reversal as back in 2013 and 2016 Cornell was the #9 and #8 seeds in the ECAC tournament while Quinnipiac was the #1 seed both times and got pushed to the distance. Now with Cornell as the #1 seed and Quinnipiac the #9 seed will we see history repeat itself?

Broadcast Information: Via Cornell Athletics

Tale of the Tape:

#9 Quinnipiac Bobcats 16-16-4 (9-11-12 ECAC)
2.89 Goals scored per game (22nd nationally)
2.64 Goals allowed per game (17th nationally)
18.18% Power Play (30th nationally)
83.94% Penalty Kill (10th nationally)
Cleary Cup Championships: (3) 2016, 2015, 2013
Whitelaw Cup Championships: (1) 2016
NCAA Tournament Appearances: (5) 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2002
NCAA Frozen Four Appearances: (2) 2016, 2013

#1 Cornell Big Red (#2 ranked) 23-4-2 (17-3-2 ECAC)
3.07 Goals scored per game (18th nationally)
1.51 Goals allowed per game (1st nationally)
16.81% Power Play (40th nationally)
82.35% Penalty Kill (17th nationally)
Cleary Cup Championships: (4) 2018, 2005, 2003, 2002
Whitelaw Cup Championships: (12) 2010, 2005, 2003, 1997, 1996, 1986, 1980, 1973, 1970, 1969, 1968, 1967
NCAA Tournament Appearances: (20) 2017, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2006, 2005, 2003, 2002, 1997, 1996, 1991, 1986, 1981, 1980, 1973, 1972, 1970, 1969, 1968, 1967
NCAA Frozen Four Appearances: (8) 2003, 1980, 1973, 1972, 1970, 1969, 1968, 1967
NCAA National Championships: (2) 1970, 1967

Key Players:

QuinnipiacOdeen Tufto, F (41 points), Tanner MacMaster, F (32 points), Chase Priskie, D (25 points, 8 PPG), Alex Whelan, F (19 points, team leading 16 goals), Bo Pieper, F (18 points), Brogan Rafferty, D (17 points), Nick Jermain, F (14 points), Karlis Cukste, D (12 points), Andrew Shortridge, G (2.36 GAA & .906 save %, 5 shutouts), Keith Petruzzelli, G (2-0, 1.01 GAA , .953 save % in 2 ECAC playoff games)

Cornell: Anthony Angello, F (25 points), Trevor Yates, F (24 points), Mitch Vanderlaan, F (17 points), Alex Rauter, F (16 points), Yanni Kaldis, D (15 points, +9), Matthew Nuttle, D (11 points, +19), Brendan Smith, D (10 points, +20), Alec McCrea, D (10 points, +20), Matthew Galajda, G (19-3-2, 1.49 GAA, .941 Save %, 8 Shutouts)

Playoff History:

2007 ECAC Quaterfinals - Quinnipiac won series 2-0 at Lynah Rink
2011 ECAC Quarterfinals - Cornell won series 2-1 at Lynah Rink
2013 ECAC Quarterfinals - Quinnipiac won series 2-1 at High Point Solutions Arena
2016 ECAC Quarterfinals - Quinnipiac won series 2-1 at High Point Solutions Arena

The Skinny:

Despite losing two games to Cornell this season, Quinnipiac played very well against the Big Red and could have won either games especially the one at Lynah. The Bobcats have played better at times on the road than they have at home this season so this might be a good thing for them to be away from home the rest of the way. While Cornell's record at 27-4-3 is very impressive along with their defense and goal-tending, I tend to think their record has been inflated a bit due to the down year of the ECAC and a soft as Charmin non-conference schedule. The best non-conference win is an average Boston University team that has underachieved massively. Their best conference win is probably against Union who is not even in the top 16 of the pairwise. While Quinnipiac isn't close to the top 16 of the pairwise they have three wins against the top 10 of the pairwise in Northeastern (2) and Clarkson.

By far this will be the toughest defensive team that Quinnipiac sees the rest of the way. Talent wise they don't match up with all the draft picks that a Boston University has on the blue line but as a collective group there has been no one better than Cornell which has been a trademark of great Cornell teams of the past. Throw in Matthew Galajda who likely will win the league goaltender of the year and possibly the rookie of the year (though I think Tufto should win ROY) and they are very strong in their own zone. Cornell has rarely blown a team out in a game this year and when they do its usually a team that isn't very good so expect this series to be low scoring and probably pretty close. While this isn't the Quinnipiac teams of the past half decade it's still a team that shouldn't be overlooked and is capable of playing with anyone on any given night.

If Quinnipiac plays to it's identity like it did last week it has a very good chance of winning this series. They are going to need to consistently hunt the puck which is a patented Rand Pecknold term. They need to bring a heavy fore-check in the neutral to force Cornell into bad decisions and turnovers which can create additional chances. Quinnipiac's depth is expected to be tested against a deeper Cornell team that is can be very physical at times. The Bobcats will need to be able to sustain that physicality along with keeping their emotions in check because these teams have a history of getting into scrums in the ECAC playoffs.

They will again need more than just the Tufto line to step up in this series if they are going to win. Contributions from up and down the roster are going to be a key. Quinnipiac will also need to play strong defense with excellent gap control in this series. Goal-tending for the Bobcats will be a key and its likely we will see Keith Petruzzelli back in between the pipes again this series. He needs to play as well as he did against Yale because if he does that will be huge for Quinnipiac in which they can maybe use the defense (Priskie, Rafferty and even Fortunato) in a more aggressive role offensively.

The Prediction:

This is a very interesting match-up because you can make a case Quinnipiac could have swept the Big Red this season and definitely should have won the game at Lynah this year. No team other than Union and Yale played the Big Red tougher without a win or tie to show for it. Quinnipiac has had a ton of past success at Lynah Rink especially in the past five plus years along with a lot of success against the Big Red in the ECAC Tournament. They also have a renewed confidence and have played well in the second half of the season and I think they will play really well against a good Cornell team on the road at hostile Lynah Rink which is a big home ice advantage for the Big Red. Its really hard to beat a team three to four times in a season especially if you have played them extremely close the prior two times. This was the best match up in my opinion for Quinnipiac more than any other higher seed remaining for them to play due to how well they play against them historically especially in the playoffs.

Qunnipiac in 3

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