Thursday, January 18, 2018

Scouting the Enemy: Arizona State Sun Devils

Quinnipiac now wraps up their non conference schedule this weekend with a trip out to the desert to face Arizona State for a pair of games. The Sun Devils this season are 7-13-4 but have wins over UMass Lowell, Northern Michigan, Michigan Tech and Massachusetts, all teams that are .500 or over. They have played competitively in a lot of their games this season but they still are not that talented a team. Quinnipiac has played Arizona State three times in their history and is 2-1 against them with all the game being played in Hamden. The Sun Devils lack a lot of talent and the fact that they have yet to finalize an arena or a conference to play in, will continue to hurt their future pipeline of recruits.

Arizona State Key Players: Brett Gruber (F), Tyler Busch (F), Johnny Walker (F), Anthony Croston (F), Brinson Pasichnuk (D), Jakob Stridsberg (D), Joey Daccord (G)

The Sun Devil offense has struggled this season to a tune of 2.21 goals per game which is 56th nationally. Arizona State's top four scorers are all underclassmen so there is a bit of a youth movement with this team as they have made a full transition to Division I players. Every player that scored in their win against Quinnipiac has returned including Anthony Croston (11 points). The leading scorer is defenseman Brinson Pasichnuk (16 points). Sophomore forwards Brett Gruber (15 points) and Tyler Busch (14 points) along with freshman Johnny Walker (12 points) round out the Sun Devils that have double digit points. Its a weak power play for Arizona State converting on just 10-of-92 chances (10.9%) good for 58th in the country. Quinnipiac has a very solid penalty kill which is probably one of the strengths of their team right now so this area of special teams will favor the Bobcats.

On defense Arizona State isn't very good giving up 3.38 goals per game which is tied for 51st in the country in that category. Brinson Pasichnuk is probably the teams best defensman as he brings some good offense to the blue line. Junior Jakob Stridsberg and freshman Jacob Wilson are a minus 17 and minus 13 respectively. The defense did play really well in their previous game against UMass Lowell shutting them out 4-0. They are a decent team at blocking shots as they block 13.5 shots per game. The strength is of the team in the penalty kill which is 12th best in the country at 84.8% (89-of-105). Quinnipiac has had struggles this season on the power play though the only two goals they scored against Harvard came way of the man advantage. However I would still take Arizona State in this category as they have been strong this season killing off penalties.

The man in between the pipes is sophomore Joey Daccord. You should remember Daccord as the goaltender who made 53 saves in a 4-2 win over Quinnipiac back on January 28, 2017 in Hamden. He was the big reason why Arizona State won that game that helped keep Quinnipiac out of the NCAA tournament last year. This season Daccord is 7-11-4 with a 3.20 goals against average and a .913 save percentage. He has shown he has the ability to come up big in games. Last week he shut out Lowell at home so he is definitely someone that can steal a game for Arizona State.

After an 0-1-1 weekend last week in ECAC play, Quinnipiac needs to wrap up the non conference play on a high note and come back from out west sweeping these games to build some confidence as they head down the stretch of conference play. Arizona State plays better at home with four of their seven wins coming in the desert of the sun. Quinnipiac needs to treat this trip as business more than a warm vacation out of the the northeast as they just need to play well.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Odeen Tufto named ECAC player and rookie of the week

Odeen Tufto, below right at Cornell (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)
Quinnipiac Bobcats freshman Odeen Tufto has been named the ECAC player and rookie of the week as announced in a press release from the league office. Tufto in two games played this past weekend had a goal and four assists for the Bobcats as they lost to Dartmouth and tied Harvard. This is the second ECAC rookie of the week for the Chaska, Minnesota native as he won the award back on October 17th and first player of the week honors for him. He is the first Quinnipiac player to win dual awards since former Bobcat Thomas Aldworth won player and rookie of the week honors back on October 20, 2015.

Tufto with 25 points (5 goals, 20 assists) is leading the ECAC in points for a freshman and only second in the country for rookie scoring behind Michigan State's Mitchell Lewandowski who has 27 points. He is only the Quinnipiac player currently averaging more than a point per game (1.09) and is also leading the team in plus/minus at a plus nine. He has one game winning goal this season back on October 14th when his overtime winner gave Quinnipiac a 3-2 win over Vermont.

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Monday, January 15, 2018

In the Pipeline: 1/15/2018

Quinnipiac was back on the road in ECAC play this past weekend losing in gut wrenching fashion on Friday night to Dartmouth in the final 10 seconds before tying Harvard 2-2 the next afternoon. The Bobcats played well enough to win against the Crimson but Harvard star Ryan Donato showed why he is probably the best player in college hockey with a game tying goal with less than three and half minutes left in the game. Quinnipiac now heads out to the desert next weekend for a pair of games against Arizona State. Let's take a look a how some of the future Bobcats did over the past week.

Matt Cassidy (photo by Ryan Kiedrowski)

BCHL Commits

Desi Burgart of the Surrey Eagles had a goal and an assist in Sunday's 7-0 win for the Surrey Eagles. In 38 games played, Burgart has 36 points (17 goals, 19 assists). Checkout this highlight reel goal by Burgart. He will be part of the 2018-2019 recruiting class.

Michael Lombardi had one assist this weekend for the West Kelowna Warriors in two games played. In 41 games played this season, Lombardi has 27 points (12 goals, 15 assists).

T.J. Friedmann picked up one assist in 3 games played this past week for the Victoria Grizzlies. The 1998 born center out of St. Louis, Missouri has 34 points (13 goals, 21 assists) in 43 games played. We recently had a Q&A with Friedmann.

AJHL Commits

Matt Cassidy had a strong week for the Brooks Bandits with 5 points (3 goals, 2 assists) which includes a hat trick on January 9th. In 35 games played this season, Cassidy has 32 points (14 goals, 18 assists) and is for 5th on the team in scoring.

USHL commits

Wyatt Bongiovanni has been out of the lineup for Muskegon due to a an undisclosed injury.

Dom Fensore picked up 2 assists for the U-17 team in USHL action over the weekend. In 15 USHL games played, Fensore has 6 assists. In other game action this season for the NTDP he has 18 assists. He was also featured in the NY Hockey Journal in an article by Jeff Cox.

Justin Robbins gave up 5 goals in 2 periods of action for the Chicago Steel against the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders. He was pulled after the second period and Chicago ended up winning 6-5 in a shootout. On the season he is 2-3 with a 4.63 goals against average and a .857 save percentage.

Matt Fawcett (photo by Winchendon School)

Prep Schools/High Schools

Matt Fawcett of the Winchendon School had a big week on the score-sheet. In 2 games played he had 3 goals, 4 assists as his team split a pair of games. He continues to lead all of New England Prep in scoring with 35 points (14 goals, 21 assists). He is averaging 2.50 points per game which also leads prep hockey.

Peter Diliberatore had one assist this past week for the Salisbury School. He played two games but the box score is not in from the second game yet. In 11 games played this season, he has 9 points (1 goal, 8 assists).

John Campomenosi had 2 goals for Don Bosco Prep in an 6-1 win over Morristown-Beard. On the season he has 13 points (4 goals, 9 assists).

NCDC commits

Gus Van Nes had 2 assists in one game played for the Junior Bruins this past week. The Netherlands born power forward has 45 points (13 goals, 32 assists) in 34 games played on the season. He will be the second ever Dutch born forward to play for Quinnipiac. This week he will take part in the NCDC all star game.

Daniel Winslow had one assist in two games played for the New Jersey Hitmen as his team split a pair of games this past weekend. In 29 games played he has 25 points (9 goals, 16 assists).

Midget Commits

Victor Czerneckianair took part in the HPHL tournament this weekend for the Selects U-15 team. No box scores are yet available.

Both Ethan Phillips and P.J. Fletcher took part in the U-16 part of the HPHL tournament but the box scores are also not yet available.

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Sunday, January 14, 2018

Quinnipiac, Harvard skate to 2-2 tie

Quinnipiac at Harvard (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)
Quinnipiac and Harvard skated to a 2-2 tie on Saturday afternoon at Bright Hockey Center in Allston, MA. Harvard star and newly minted United States Olympian, Ryan Donato scored the equalizer with 3:27 to play in the third period salvaging a tie for the home team. Less than 24 hours after getting stunned in the final 10 seconds in a 4-3 loss to Dartmouth, Quinnipiac played tough against a Harvard squad that is starting to find its stride.

Quinnipiac goaltender Keith Petruzzelli (31 saves) saw his first start since November 25th against UMass Amherst. His last appearance was in late game action on December 8th against Maine. The freshman turned in his best effort of the season making many big saves especially late in overtime. Quinnipiac entered this game with one of the worst power plays in the country yet scored its first goal via the man advantage. 12:29 into the first period Bo Pieper cleaned up a rebound off Chase Priskie's initial shot in front of the net for his 6th goal of the season.

Harvard evened the score when freshman Jack Badini ripped a shot past Petruzzelli just 6:43 into the second period. With the teams trading some chances throughout the period it wasn't until late in the period that Quinnipiac once again capitalized on the power play. Brogan Rafferty fed Chase Priskie for a one timer past Merrick Madsen for his 6th goal of the season. 

Quinnipiac at Harvard (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)

Harvard controlled the play in third period while Petruzzelli stood tall for Quinnipiac. But for the Bobcats it is extremely tough to slow down Ryan Donato and he proved why he is the best player in college hockey this season. With Quinnipiac clinging to a lead Michael Floodstrand slid a pass across the crease to a wide open Donato who buried it high past Petruzzelli for his 17th goal in 17 games played. Big time players score big time goals and Donato has proven that during his collegiate career. Harvard had a chance to win it late in overtime as Ryan Donato couldn't handle a puck in front of Petruzzelli and his wrap around chance was thwarted as the buzzer sounded.  

Odeen Tufto (2 assists) had his 9th multi point game of the season for Quinnipiac who are now 8-12-3 on the season (4-7-2 ECAC). They are currently in 7th place in the ECAC standings one point behind Whitney Avenue rival Yale. Quinnipiac now heads out to the desert for a pair of games against Arizona State next weekend. 

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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Scouting the Enemy: Harvard Crimson

After falling to Dartmouth in the final 10 seconds of the game, Quinnipiac now faces a tall challenge of facing the Ryan Donato led Harvard Crimson in an afternoon matinee. The Bobcats at 8-12-2 are a middle of the pack team right now in the ECAC and are fighting just to try to maintain home ice in the first round of the ECAC tournament. Harvard comes in to this game off a 3-1 win over Princeton with Ryan Donato leading the way. 

Harvard Key Players: Ryan Donato (F), Jack Badini (F), Lewis Zerter-Gossage (F), Henry Bowlby (F), Adam Fox (D), John Marino (D), Rielly Walsh (D), Merrick Madsen (G)

Offensively Harvard's offense runs through Ryan Donato. He has scored 16 of teams 49 goals accounting for 32% of the goals scored this year. He is that important to Harvard and a big reason why he was team for the United States Olympic Team. Overall the Crimson are 19th in scoring at 3.06 goals per game. Lewis Zerter-Gossage (14 points) is second on the team in scoring while a trio of freshman in Henry Bowlby (10 points), Reilly Walsh (10 points) and Jack Badini (11 points) along with puck moving defenseman Adam Fox (10 points) pace the offense. The key is shutting down Donato, though its easier said than done. If Quinnipiac can contain Donato, then the Harvard offense is totally different team. The Harvard power play has been struggling this season at 16.67% (10-of-60) good for 41st in the country.

Harvard is a top 10 defensive team in the country with a lot of talent on the blue line. They give up 2.25 goals per game which ranks 10th. What makes the Harvard defense so good is their ability to transition the puck quickly led by Adam Fox (10 points). While he is not on the pace he set last season for points he is still a really good player that moves the puck extremely well. Joining him on the blue line are John Marino and Reilly Walsh two really talented defenseman. Senior Wiley Sherman has been a steady presence there as well. The penalty kill has been strong at 85.71% (54-of-63) which is good for 10th in the country. Quinnipiac went 0 for 5 on the man advantage against Dartmouth as it has seen struggles on the power play like they haven't seen in years.

Merrick Madsen has been the workhorse but Michael Lackey faced off against Quinnipiac the last time these two teams met. Madsen has seen starts in four of the last five games including starting and winning against Princeton on Friday. I'd expect him to get the start for Ted Donato's team. Madsen on the season is 5-5-2 with a 2.17 goals against average and a .923 save percentage. He is also riding a hot streak with a 4-0-1 streak in his last 5 games played.

Quinnipiac needs to salvage at least a point on this weekend after a stunning loss last night to Dartmouth. Consistency has been an issue all season and pucks haven't bounced Quinnipiac's way. Expect this game against Harvard to be a huge challenge as they ran over Quinnipiac in early December which has started their turnaround upwards in the ECAC standings.

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Quinnipiac falls to Dartmouth in final 10 seconds

Quinnipiac at Dartmouth (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)

For the first time in 11 years, Quinnipiac failed to beat Dartmouth College in game at least once in a season as the Big Green scored with under 10 seconds as a strange bounce goal by Will Graber was the difference in the game. Its been that kind of season for Quinnipiac with the bounces clearly not going their way as they have been in the past.

With Landon Smith out of the lineup due to an injury suffered in the Cornell game a new line of Nick Jermain, Tanner MacMaster and Odeen Tufto was formed and had all the scoring on the night for the Bobcats. Quinnipiac got the scoring started 10:27 into the opening period when he found the puck on his stick in the low slot burying it past Dartmouth goaltender Devin Buffalo. The Big Green responded just over a minute later on the 4th goal of the season from Corey Kalk. Quinnipiac then answered the Dartmouth goal less than a minute later when Odeen Tufto spun off a defender a found a loose puck in the slot and blasted it home. In the final minute of the period, Dartmouth tied the scored again on a goal by Daniel Warpecha who was open due to two Quinnipiac defenders tied up with one Dartmouth player.

Quinnipiac at Dartmouth (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)

In the second period, Dartmouth scored just 1:20 in on a power play goal by Collin Rutherford to take its first lead of the game. Quinnipiac tied it up again just after the 14 minute mark of the period when Odeen Tufto retrieved a puck in the corner and sent a no look pass in front of the net which was put in by MacMaster for his team leading 10th goal of the season.

The third period saw Quinnipiac put a bunch of pressure on Dartmouth with nothing to show for it. With the game looking like it was heading towards overtime, the Big Green stunned Quinnipiac with Graber's late goal. Odeen Tufto finished with a goal and two assists while Tanner MacMaster had two goals and Nick Jermain assisted on all three goals. Andrew Shortridge made 29 saves as he deserved a better fate for his performance. Quinnipiac was out shot for the first time since October 20th against Northeastern. They drop to 8-12-2 on the season (4-7-1 ECAC) and now head south to face Harvard on Saturday afternoon in a game that will appear in New England on NESN.

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Scouting the Enemy: Dartmouth Big Green

While the second semester has not started academically yet, the hockey part is in full swing. Quinnipiac opened the second half of the season with a 2-1 record last week with wins over UConn and Colgate and a 1-0 loss to Cornell. The Bobcats now head to Hanover, NH to face the Dartmouth Big Green who have played well of late with a 3-2-1 record in their last six games. That includes a road win against Denver, a tie against Minnesota Duluth and they also played Denver to a 1-0 loss as well. These two teams played to a 0-0 tie in Hamden back on December 2nd. 

Dartmouth Key Players: Corey Kalk (F), Will Graber (F), Alex Jasiek (F), Kevan Kilistoff (F), Daniel Warpecha (F), Quin Foreman (F), Matt Baker (F), Connor Yau (D), Devin Buffalo (G)

Half of the Dartmouth goals have been scored in the last six games so the offense seems to be heating up a bit. They potted five goals against Denver on the road and another six in an overtime win over RPI just last weekend. Even with the hot streak, the Big Green have the third worst offense in college hockey at 2.06 goals per game which is good for the worst in the ECAC. Some of the younger players have stepped up recently in Will Graber (3 goals, 5 assists), Quin Foreman (3 goals, 4 assists) and Matt Baker (5 goals, 1 assist). Seven of their top ten scorers are underclassmen which may bode well for the future. Corey Kalk and Kevan Kilistoff lead the team with 9 points apiece. Junior Alex Jasiek is second on the team with 8 points. The power play has been a struggle this season at 11.48% (7-of-61) good for 56th nationally. Quinnipiac has a strong penalty kill at a shade over 85% (74-of-87) good for 13th nationally.

Dartmouth is ranked 48th nationally in defense at 3.31 goals per game. Its a half a goal improvement since the last time Quinnipiac faced them. Seven times this season, Dartmouth has given up four goals per game. Connor Yau is one of the Big Green's better defenders but there is not one player back there that is a plus. Freshman Brandon Less is an even player with 3 assists in 15 games played this season. The penalty kill has gotten better to just a shade over 80% (46-of-57) good for 33rd nationally. Quinnipiac's power play has been bad maybe one of the worst it has been in years. They are 57th nationally at 11.39% (9-of-79). Only Arizona State, Alaska and Yale are worse than Quinnipiac on the power play.

Devin Buffalo is the entrenched starter and he did not play against Quinnipiac last time out due to injury. He has played well at times in the the last six games in which Dartmouth has gone 3-2-1. On the season he is 5-5-1 with a 3.04 goals against average and a .905 save percentage. Expect him to start on Friday night against Quinnipiac though it wouldn't surprise me if Adrian Clark who shutout Quinnipiac in the previous meeting gets the nod as he was very solid in that game.

Quinnipiac has played better in conference play since starting 0-4 going 4-2-1. They played well at times last weekend and probably could have beaten Cornell if it had some scoring. With a challenge looming the following day against Harvard, getting a win to start the weekend is a must.

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