Saturday, February 24, 2018

Scouting the Enemy: Clarkson Golden Knights

It's the final game of the regular season and Quinnipiac is in control of its destiny for a home playoff series. All they need is a win against a slumping Clarkson team that is 1-5-4 in its last ten games. These two teams played at the beginning of the month in which Quinnipiac raced to a 3-0 lead after two periods before winning 4-1. Clarkson is currently 3rd in the ECAC and needs either a win or tie or a Harvard loss or tie to clinch the #3 seed. A Quinnipiac win gives the Bobcats home ice as either the 6th or 7th seed depending on the result in the Colgate game. A loss by Quinnipiac could create chaos and send them on the road next weekend.

Clarkson Key Players: Sheldon Rempal (F), Nico Sturm (F), Devin Brosseau (F), Jack Jacome (F), Josh Dickinson (F), Terrance Amorosa (D), Kelly Summers (D), Jake Kielly (G)

The Golden Knights have fallen a bit recently especially on offense as in the last ten games of the season they are only scoring 2.3 goals per game. Collectively on the season they are scoring 3.12 goals per game but for much of the season they were in the top 5 in scoring. Did Clarkson peak too early offensively? Its possible. Sheldon Rempal (38 points) went through a seven games stretch with just two points has started to heat back up for Clarkson with 7 points (3 goals, 4 assists) in his last three games. Nico Sturm has been cold with only 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) in his last eight games while Devin Brosseau only has 3 points (2 goals, 1 assist) in his last eight games as well. For Clarkson to have any success moving forward they need that line to carry them going forward like they did earlier in the season. Freshman Jack Jacome (26 points) continues to push Quinnipiac's Odeen Tufto for ECAC rookie of the year as most of his points have come in conference play. The Clarkson power play is number one in the country at 27.74% (38-of-137) so playing disciplined and staying out of the box is key for Quinnipiac.

Clarkson has continued to excel defensively though the goals allowed has crept up to 1.91. When they met at the beginning of the month this number was at 1.54. The talent is strong but were they due to regress at some point as giving up just a goal and half plus seemed unsustainable all season long. Seniors Terrance Amorosa (plus 13) and Kelly Summers (plus 10) have been good and let a quality defensive core. The Golden Knights are strong on the penalty kill at almost 85.19% (115-of-135) good for 8th overall in the country. Quinnipiac showed that they can exploit the Golden Knights on defense putting four up on them at the beginning of the month. They will need to do it again if they want home ice next weekend.

Goaltender Jake Kielly has had a mini slump in the month of February. He has seen his goals against rise to 1.85 while his save percentage drop to .929 still impressive numbers. He has let in some goals he shouldn't which has contributed to some struggles. At this point you have to wonder if he is a bit fatigued playing in 32 games so far this season. Granted Clarkson will have a first round bye which should give him much needed rest but something has not been right for a month now and its not the time to have struggles with the playoffs set to commence.

Clarkson despite its struggles over the past month is still a tough team to beat at Cheel Arena as they have gone 8-2-5 there this season. However Quinnipiac is 5-1-1 in their last seven trips to Cheel Arena so the Bobcats have had a lot of success in the past in Potsdam.

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Friday, February 23, 2018

Quinnipiac inches closer to home playoff series with 3-2 win over St. Lawrence

Quinnipiac at St. Lawrence (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)

The Quinnipiac Bobcats went on the road Friday night and secured two massive ECAC points in their quest for a first round playoff series with a 3-2 win over the St. Lawrence Saints at Appleton Arena in Canton, New York. Coming into this weekend, Quinnipiac was on the outside looking in for a home playoff series but after the win tonight and some results that went its way its currently tied with Princeton in the 7th/8th spots in the conference.

Three Quinnipiac players recorded multi point games in Nick Jermain (2 goals), Brogan Rafferty (2 assists) and Odeen Tufto (2 assists). Tufto became just the 4th Quinnipiac freshman to have 30 assists in one season behind Brian Hebert (32 in 1999-00), Bryan Leitch (21, 2005-06) and Matthew Peca (31, 2011-12). Quinnipiac opened the scoring just 2:19 into the first period when Nick Jermain banged home a rebound from St. Lawrence goaltender Arthur Brey.

Despite getting out to an early lead and controlling play for much of the first two periods Quinnipiac found themselves down 2-1 after two periods. "We were resilient, said head coach Rand Pecknold. I think we had as many grade A's [chances] as we had all season in the first two periods and we had only one goal. Brey was playing well and he made a lot of save and we hit him a few times too when we should have buried it so it was frustrating, but we just stayed the course and found a way."

Trailing late in third period with the clock set to go under seven minutes Quinnipiac found itself on the power play. Just a minute in the man advantage Brogan Rafferty fed Chase Priskie who ripped a one timer from the lower left circle past Brey for the game tying goal. A little more than five minutes later Nick Jermain scored the game winning goal from a tough angle that even surprised coach Pecknold in the post game. "You know what I have no idea. I was talking to someone so I don't know how it went in."

Quinnipiac at St. Lawrence (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)

In between the Priskie and Jermain goal Quinnipiac had to kill off a slashing penalty to Devin Moore. "Chase had a big one to tie it up, added Pecknold and then we won it late. We had a big penalty kill late with some blocks. I thought the guys played well and deserved to win."

Andrew Shortridge (28 saves) was strong for Quinnipiac tonight who improved to 14-15-4 on the season (9-10-2 in ECAC play). They conclude the ECAC regular season tomorrow night against the Clarkson Golden Knights.

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Cameron Boudreau commits to Quinnipiac

Cameron Boudreau #22 with Central Catholic (photo by Julia Malakie)

The Quinnipiac Bobcats picked up another commitment for the future today as they received a verbal commitment from late 1999 born defenseman Cameron Boudreau of the Junior Bruins of the NCDC. Boudreau is a 6'0, 178 pound left shot defenseman from Salem, New Hampshire who is currently ranked #117 for North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting.

Proud to announce my commitment to play college hockey at Quinnipiac University! Thankful for my family, friends, and coaches that have supported me along the way!

In his first season in the NCDC with the Junior Bruins he has played in 37 games recording 10 points (1 goal, 9 assists). He is a two year alum of The Governor's Academy (MA) along with playing for the Neponset Valley River Rats short season U16 team in 2015-2016 and the Boch Militia short season U18 team in 2016-2017. Prior to attending the The Governor's Academy he played for Central Catholic High School (MA) in the 2014-2015 season.

He was drafted in the 2017 USHL Phase II draft in the 21st round by the Dubuque Fighting Saints and was a 2016 10th round pick by the Moncton Wildcats in the QMJHL draft. It's likely he will need another season of junior hockey so I have him projected for the 2019-2020 recruiting class. Congrats to Cameron and welcome to Bobcat Nation.


Eliteprospects Player Page
Junior Bruins Player Page

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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Scouting the Enemy: St. Lawrence Saints

The final weekend of the ECAC regular season is upon us. Quinnipiac now heads to North Country to take on St. Lawrence Friday and Clarkson Saturday. Playoff implications ride on the results for this weekend's games as Quinnipiac could finish anywhere from 5th (unlikely) to 9th (more probable than not). The Bobcats most recently played St. Lawrence three weeks ago beating them at home 5-2. The Saints ever since winning back to back games have lost five of six and have the most losses in program history with 23. Quinnipiac's last visit to Appleton Arena saw them come away with a three game win in the 2017 ECAC Quarterfinals. 

St. Lawrence Key Players: Jacob Pritchard (F), Mike Marnell (F), Joe Sullivan (F), Carson Gicewicz (F), Alex Gilmour (F), Nolan Gluchowksi (D), Jake Stevens (D),  Arthur Brey (G)

The St. Lawrence offense in the last three games has put up only one goal total. On the season they are averaging 2.16 goals per game which is 5th worst in college hockey and only the 3rd worst in the ECAC with RPI and Brown only worse in the conference. Jacob Pritchard (19 points) and Mike Marnell (18 points) along with sophomore Carson Gicewicz (18 points) fuel the limited offense for the Saints. Sophomore Alex Gilmour's 10 goals tie him for the team lead with Marnell. Senior Joe Sullivan has 14 points. The Saints power played is in the bottom third at just over 15% (18-of-118). This team is so starved for goals that three goals a game is an accomplishment.

It's been a tough year defensively for St. Lawrence. At 3.41 goals allowed per game they rank 51st in the country in that category and really haven't made a huge improvement. Freshman Jake Stevens has probably been the teams best defender to this point with 12 points along with being a plus 2. Senior Nolan Gluchowksi has 18 points and is a minus seven. Inexperience is a major issue back there and it has shown this season. The St. Lawrence penalty kill is dead last in college hockey at 74.32% (110-of-148). With Quinnipiac's power play showing signs of life in the second half of the season drawing penalties against the Saints will be key.

Goaltender Arthur Brey has shown slight improvement from the last time these two teams played. His goals against average has dropped to 3.50 while his save percentage has risen to .902. His win/loss record is not very good at 4-21-1 but not all the blame can go on Brey. They can't score goals and the inexperience on defense has played a large role. Brey and the rest of the team are still playing hard and that is all you can ask for at this point if you are fan of St. Lawrence hockey.

Quinnipiac needs this game if it has any chance of getting a home playoff series. Lose this one and while they aren't officially eliminated from home ice they would need to win against Clarkson along with getting some serious help from other ECAC teams.

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Monday, February 19, 2018

In the Pipeline: 2/19/2018

Quinnipiac wrapped up its regular season home slate with a split of the weekend. They lost on Friday to Union 5-2 before rebounding with a 4-1 win on Saturday night against RPI in what could be the team's final home game of the regular season. Currently in the 9th spot in the ECAC standings, Quinnipiac would play a road first round playoff series for the first time since the 2006 season which was the Bobcats first in the ECAC. Quinnipiac needs to win and get some help if it wants to return home for a playoff series on York Hill. Tiebreakers could come into factor in the final weekend with so many teams bunched up in the middle. Quinnipiac is on to North Country for games against St. Lawrence and Clarkson to wrap up the regular season. In one week we will know where the Bobcats are heading for the playoffs but for now lets take a look at how some of the future Bobcats did this past week.

T.J. Friedmann, photo by Darren Stone, Times Colonist

BCHL Commits

Ethan De Jong had two more assists in three games this past week for the Prince George Spruce Kings. In 49 games played on the season he has 62 points (17 goals, 45 assists). He is currently 5th in scoring in the BCHL and averaging 1.27 points per game.

T.J. Friedmann had 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists) in three games played for the Victoria Grizzlies. The St. Louis, Missouri native has had points in 11 of his last 12 games. On the season in 56 games played he has 54 points (21 goals, 33 assists).

Desi Burgart of the Surrey Eagles had two points this past week (1 goal, 1 assist) in three games played for the Surrey Eagles. In 50 games played he has 47 points (22 goals, 25 assists).

National Developmental Program

Dom Fensore was part of the 2017 U-17 5 Nation Tournament Champions. In four games played with the United States going undefeated Fensore had a goal and three assists. It's the third tournament win for the U-17's this season following the World Hockey Challenge in Canada and another tournament Russia.

USHL commits

William Fallstrom had one assist this week for the Fargo Force in two games played. In 41 games, the Sweden native has 27 points (8 goals, 19 assists).

Zach Metsa picked up two assists in three games played for the Central Illinois Flying Aces. In 43 games played between Central Illinois and Youngstown, Metsa has 15 points (1 goal, 14 assists).

Justin Robbins made 26 saves in a 3-2 loss for the Chicago Steel to the Des Moines Buccaneers. On the season he is 4-4 with a 4.04 goals against average and an .869 save percentage in 12 games played.

AJHL commits

Matt Cassidy had a goal and an assists for the Brooks Bandits in three games played over the past week. On the season, Cassidy has 38 points (16 goals, 22 assists) in 46 games played.

Prep Schools/High Schools

Matthew Fawcett had another very good week for the Winchendon School. In two games played he had 6 points (3 goals, 3 assists). He is now second in scoring with 66 points (27 goals, 39 assists) behind Thayer Academy's Jay O'Brien (Providence commit) who has been the best player all season in New England Prep School hockey.

Salisbury defenseman Peter Dilberatore has a goal and an assist this past week. He has 15 points (3 goals, 12 assists) on one of the top prep teams in New England that has only lost one game this season and is expected to be one of the favorites for the New England Prep School elite title. The Nova Scotian native is expected to be a 2018 NHL draft this June.

John Campomenosi of Don Bosco Prep had two goals and one assist in two games played this week. He has 23 points (7 goals, 16 assists) for a Don Bosco team that is 24-1-1 this season.

P.J Fletcher (photo by the South Kent School)

Midget Commits

Victor Czerneckianair had one goal this past weekend for the U-15 Selects team at South Kent. In 49 games played this season he had 67 points (30 goals, 37 assists). The Southington, CT native is 3rd on the team in scoring and a possible tryout candidate for the NDTP program.

Ethan Phillips and P.J Fletcher both helped the South Kent Selects U-16 team to two blowout wins in the USPHL playoffs outscoring their opponents 20-2. Phillips had two goals and two assists while Fletcher had three goals and two assists.

Jack Silich had one assist this weekend for the Chicago Mission in three games played. On the season he has 82 points (30 goals, 52 assists).

Austin Spiridakis had a goal and two assists in a 5-2 win for the St. Albert Tire Warehouse Raiders. He finished the season with 16 points (7 goals, 9 assists) as now he heads to the playoffs. He also got a call-up for the Drumheller Dragons in the AJHL on Friday night.

Jacob Quillan finished the regular season for the Steele Subaru Major Midgets with 44 points (14 goals, 30 assists) in 35 games played. His team is in the playoffs right now and in two playoff games he has 5 points (1 goal, 4 assists).

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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Quinnipiac ends home slate with 4-1 win over RPI

Quinnipiac vs. RPI (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)

If this was the final home game of the 2017-2018 season, then the Quinnipiac Bobcats went out in style defeating the RPI Engineers 4-1 on Saturday night at the Frank J. Perrotti, Jr. Arena in Hamden, Conn. Prior to the game, the university honored its five soon to be graduating seniors in Kevin McKernan, Tanner MacMaster, Bo Pieper, Landon Smith and Kevin Duane. With Quinnipiac currently not in the top 8 of the ECAC with two games to play and needing help to get home ice, it's possible these five seniors might have played their final home game on York Hill.

Four different players scored for Quinnipiac who also got multi point games from both Odeen Tufto (2 assists) and Tanner MacMaster (2 assists) which was their 13th and 9th multi point games respectively this season en route it the victory. "I thought it was a good effort, said head coach Rand Pecknold. I thought Keith was great in net. The power play had three goals. We were disciplined, played hard and had a lot of passion." 

Quinnipiac took control of the game just under the five minute mark in the first period when Craig Martin ripped a shot high past Lindell Marshall on a cross ice feed from Tanner MacMaster. The Bobcats headed into the intermission up a goal and having out shot RPI 15-4. Just under the nine minute mark of the second period RPI's Jared Wilson boarded Nick Jermain on a vicious hit. Wilson stayed in the game but was assessed a five minute major penalty. A little under four minutes into the power play Quinnipiac struck when Matt Forchuk's vision set up a cross ice pass to Scott Davidson who sent a one-timer past Marshall. "It feels great when I score, said Scott Davidson. It doesn't happen very often but when it does it's awesome."

Just a minute later Quinnipiac struck again on the power play when Brandon Fortunato cleaned up a rebound off Brogan Rafferty's shot from the point for his 5th goal of the season and 4th in the last six games. "I think Brandon has been great, said Pecknold. He's been eating up a lot of minutes and doing a great job with the breakouts. He's getting better and better as a defender and it was only a matter of time before the points were going to come. He's set up a lot of players and we just haven't finished those goals so his points should be a lot higher than it is."

Quinnipiac getting ready to salute fans after 4-1 win over RPI (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)

RPI broke the shutout on goaltender Keith Petruzzelli (21 saves) when Donovan Ott scored on the power play for the Engineers. A little less than five minutes later just past the 16 minute mark of the third period Quinnipiac scored on the power play on Bo Pieper's 11th goal of the season to cap the scoring and seal the win. "We bought in for 60 minutes, Pecknold added. Last night we were good for 42 or 44 minutes, whatever it was. I think we were more focused tonight with the bench real good tonight and positive and showed a lot of passion and energy." 

Quinnipiac now concludes the regular season with a trip to North Country where they will take on St. Lawrence Friday night before facing Clarkson on Saturday night. Currently in 9th place, Quinnipiac will need to win likely both games along with getting some help in the form of both Princeton and Yale both losing to get into the top 8. With only one win and two losses by both Yale or Princeton will get Quinnipiac into a top 8 spot and home ice advantage. 

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Saturday, February 17, 2018

Scouting the Enemy: RPI Engineers

The last time these two teams met Quinnipiac was a ranked team and had expectations of being one of the top teams in the ECAC this season. Fast forward three plus months and Quinnipiac is currently in a fight to just get home ice in the ECAC playoffs not something that anyone thought would happen when the season begun. RPI has really struggled at times under first year coach Dave Smith and they might not reach the win total they had a season ago under former coach Seth Appert. They have had wins over a ranked Quinnipiac team at the time, Yale and recently upset #1 Cornell on the road and started the season with two ties against current national ranked team Ohio State so there are steps in the right direction. Quinnipiac and RPI are both coming off loses on Friday night to Union and Princeton respectively. 

RPI Key Players: Jacob Hayhurst (F), Evan Tironese (F), Todd Burgess (F), Viktor Liljegren (F), Billy Jerry (F), Mike Prapavessis (D), Will Reilly (D), Chase Perry (G)

The Engineer has been really bad for pretty much the entire season though they did score five times in a win over Quinnipiac earlier this season. At 2.13 goals per game they are the third worst scoring team in the country. 31 games into the season and they don't have a single player with double digit goals scored. The two best forward for RPI are Jacob Hayhurst (19 points) and Evan Tironese (15 points). They have a couple of freshman in Emil Ohrvall and Billy Jerry who each have 11 points. RPI has three defenseman in their top six in scoring which shows how much they lack at the forward position. The RPI power play is not a strength converting on just 12.8% of its chances (16-of-125)

Defensively they are the third worst defense in the country at 3.58 goals per game. The last two games have seen them give up 14 goals. Collectively the team is a minus 65 on the blue line. Not one defender is a plus player. They started out the season pretty good on defense as well in the first month of the season highlighted by a pair of 1-1 ties against nationally ranked Ohio State. Things have come apart since then where they have been many games where they haven't defended anyone. The senior captains on defense in Mike Prapavessis and Jared Wilson have contributed offensively but really have struggled defensively. I wonder if the lack of scoring by the RPI forwards is contributing to the struggles defensively as it forces the defenseman to play more offensively to make up for the lack of scoring. This is similar to what Quinnipiac has gone through this year as well. On the penalty kill, RPI also has not done its job killing off just under 77.5% (96-of-124) of penalties.

Freshman Linden Marshall has supplemented Chase Perry as the starting goaltender. The Victoria, British Columbia native has a 3.32 goals against average and a .903 save percentage in 23 games played sporting a 4-15-2 record. He's got good size in net at 6'3, 195 pounds. Marshall had his best start of the season February 3rd when he gave up one goal in a stunning upset of then #1 Cornell on the road at Lynah Rink. In his last two starts he has given up a total of 14 goals. He didn't face Quinnipiac in their last meeting so it will be up to Quinnipiac to watch the film on studying Marshall should he start again.

For Quinnipiac this is a must win if they want to finish in the top 8 of the ECAC for home ice. A win by RPI not only dampers senior night but would pretty much keep Quinnipiac out of the top 8 depending on other results around the league.

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