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).

You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

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.

You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

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.

You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

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.

You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

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.

You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

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)

You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

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.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Quinnipiac and Dartmouth skate to scoreless tie

Quinnipiac vs. Dartmouth (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)
A night after both Quinnipiac and Dartmouth both got blitzed on the ice, the two teams skated to a scoreless tie on Saturday night at Frank Perotti, Jr. Arena in Hamden. It was the first scoreless tie for Quinnipiac since November 25, 2016 when they tied St. Lawrence in the Friendship Four in Belfast, Northern Ireland before moving on to the finals of the tournament in a shootout.

If you are fan of defense then this was the game for you tonight. Both goaltenders excelled with Andrew Shortridge making 27 saves for his fourth career shutout while Dartmouth's Aidan Clark who a night after being tagged for 5 goals on 12 shots made 43 saves for his first career shutout. Quinnipiac had a total of 84 shot attempts with 43 going on goal and also hit two posts on the night. Dartmouth blocked 24 Quinnipiac shots but it was once again the lack of the Bobcats ability to finish their chances that was on full display.

Quinnipiac had a 4 on 1 chance on Dartmouth but hit the post. Odeen Tufto had a chance late in the third period as well but couldn't get it past Clark. The Bobcats couldn't find consistency in the third period especially after a brutal five minute major call on Logan Mick for interference which was only called after the Dartmouth player got injured. Dartmouth took three consecutive penalties within a three minute span giving Quinnipiac a big 5 on 3 chance for just over a minute. However Quinnipiac quickly erased that opportunity when Landon Smith took an interference call and then three minutes later took another one putting Quinnipiac on the penalty kill for the remainder of the third period and into the early part of overtime.
Quinnipiac vs. Dartmouth (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)

If there were any positives in a scoreless tie, its that Quinnipiac controlled the play for a majority of the game along with the fact they dominated on the face-off dot with Bo Pieper winning 22 of 31 and Scott Davidson winning 7 of 9. For the game Quinnipiac won 48 face-offs compared to 27 for Dartmouth.

With the tie, Quinnipiac is now 6-8-2 (3-5-1 ECAC) on the season and tied for 8th in the conference standings. They wrap up play in the first semester next weekend when they host Maine in a pair of non conference games where they need to win both games to avoid ending a first half of the season with a losing record for the first time since the 2005-2006 season.

You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Scouting the Enemy: Dartmouth Big Green

Quinnipiac is coming off a 6-2 blowout home loss to Harvard on Friday night while Dartmouth is coming off a blowout 9-2 road loss to Princeton. With just three games left until the first semester concludes, Quinnipiac is 6-8-1 (3-5 ECAC) with the possibly they finish the first half of the season under .500. When the schedule came out along with the preseason rankings I am not sure anyone thought that it was possible but here were are with that possibly staring Quinnipiac right in the eye. 

Dartmouth Key Players: Corey Kalk (F), Alex Jasiek (F), Kevan Kilistoff (F), Daniel Warpecha (F), Connor Yau (D), Devin Buffalo (G)

The Big Green have the third worst offense in college hockey at 1.88 goals per gamejust ahead of fellow ECAC member St. Lawrence. They lack talent up front as they have had for many years along with the fact that they are just so young with 10 of their 16 forwards either freshman or sophomores. Corey Kalk was their leading returning point scorer from a season ago and currently he has 6 points. The teams leading scorer is Kevan Kilistoff with 6 points while sophomore Daniel Warpecha has 6 points. Junior Alex Jasiek is second on the team in shots with 19 while having 5 points. Dartmouth averages only 24 shots on game which favors Quinnipiac with the talent they have on the defensive end. Special teams is also a struggle for Dartmouth as their power play is 13.33% (4-of-30) which is 52nd in the country.

Dartmouth isn't much better on defense giving up 3.88 goals per game which is third worst in all of college hockey ahead of only Sacred Heart and St. Lawrence which is dead last. They got lit up against Princeton Friday night 9-2. Connor Yau is one of the Big Green's better defenders but the defense as a whole just cannot find any consistency with the rotations they have been putting out there. Every one of the Dartmouth defenders has been a minus player this year, just showing you how much they have struggled. The penalty kill is pretty average as well at just 78.1% (25-of-32). While Quinnipiac lacks elite fire power they still should be able to do some damage against a poor Dartmouth defense.

Devin Buffalo gets the majority of the time in net for the Big Green but did not play in the blowout loss to Princeton. That was started by sophomore Dean Shatzer who then gave way to fellow sophomore Adrian Clark. Expect Buffalo to be back in between the pipes for the Big Green after Friday's disaster. While he hasn't been great this season (.875 save %, 3.56 goals against) he is the most experienced goal-tender on the roster and probably is the one who gives Dartmouth the best chance to win.

Quinnipiac needs to salvage a split of the weekend slate as they head into the final weekend of the first semester next weekend against Maine. Quinnipiac should win this game as they have the better talent but they need to execute offensively, not turn the puck over and avoid defensive lapses and just play a completed 60 minute and buy into what the coaching staff preaches. Even a win over Dartmouth shouldn't get people excited until they can be a team that can win consistently this season.

You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Quinnipiac falls 6-2 to Harvard

Quinnipiac vs. Harvard (copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)

Quinnipiac couldn't build off its strong performance Tuesday night against Princeton as they fell 6-2 on Friday to Harvard on white out night at Frank Perrotti , Jr. Arena. Quinnipiac was looking to build some momentum as the first semester winds down and while they got off to a quick start they couldn't sustain it as the game progressed as it was the Ryan Donato show that took over for the Crimson tonight.

Just 3:51 into the game Matt Forchuk sent a great pass from the half wall where Nick Jermain tipped it past Michael Lackey for the goal. The Qunnipiac lead was short lived as just three minutes later Harvard's Wiley Sherman bombed a shot from the point past Andrew Shortridge to tie the game. Not even two and half minutes later Ryan Donato won a battle for the puck, made a quick move around John Furgele who got held up by the official and beat Shortridge right in front of the net. With less than three and half minutes to play in the first period, Harvard struck again with Lewis Zerter-Gossage sniping a shot throw traffic past Shortridge. 

The second period was fast with very few whistles along with no penalties yet to be called in the game. Harvard played a strong second frame despite not winning the shot total in the period. In the third both teams finally went to the penalty box for the games only two penalties early in the period. Quinnipiac would cut the lead to a goal when Odeen Tufto fed Tanner MacMaster racing into the offensive zone where he beat Lackey short side for the goal. 

Quinnipiac vs. Harvard (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)
The Bobcat momentum was gone in an instant when less than two minutes later it was Ryan Donato with a wrap around goal to give the Crimson a two goal edge again. Donato, a possible United States Olympian this winter took a major hit after scoring the goal. The Boston Bruins draft pick sealed the game with an empty net goal from deep in his own defensive zone. The Crimson added a garbage time five hole goal by Seb Lloyd. 

Quinnipiac once again made another goal-tender look great this time in Michael Lackey who had not seen game action since the 2015-2016 season. Despite Quinnipiac having 43 shots on the net, it is the lack of finishing ability this roster has that is preventing this offense from taking strides forward. Andrew Shortridge finished with 24 saves and wasn't at his best but he did not have a ton of help in front of him from his defense. 

The Bobcats will now try to salvage a split of the weekend when they welcome Dartmouth to Frank Perrotti, Jr. Arena tomorrow night. The Big Green are coming off a blow out loss 9-2 to Princeton in New Jersey.

You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Scouting the Enemy: Harvard Crimson

As we head into the first few days of December, I am not sure any follower of ECAC Hockey or college hockey for that matter would have thought that when Quinnipiac and Harvard met on December 1st, that both programs which were picked 1-2 in the league would be sitting below .500. Well here we are and that is the case as the 2-5-1 Harvard Crimson travel to Quinnipiac to face the 6-7-1 Bobcats. Both teams have had rough starts to the season as they look to climb a bit in the standings before the first semester ends in the next few weeks. Quinnipiac is coming off a strong 6-2 win over Princeton Tuesday night after getting swept by UMass over the past weekend while Harvard is 0-4-1 in its last five games though all have been on the road. 

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

The surprise is how much Harvard has slipped offensively as they still have some good talent on the roster. However, they did lose their top three scorers in Tyler Moy (45 points), Alex Kerfoot (45 points) and Sean Malone (42 points) along with Luke Esposito (36 points) so a drop off was expected but not to this degree. As a team they are averaging 2.50 goals per game which ties them for 48th nationally down significantly from a year ago when they averaged 4.06 goals per game and were second nationally behind Penn State. Ryan Donato leads this team up front with 10 points while freshman Jack Badini has 5 points. Other key contributors are Lewis Zerter-Gossage (5 points) and Nathan Krusko (5 points) along with freshman Henry Bowlby (4 points). Harvard needs more from senior Jake Horton who is second on the team with 27 shots only behind Donato with 37. Harvard's lethal power play from a year ago which was almost 26% is down to just a shade over 17%. The loss of talent up front has been greater than probably many people thought it was going to be. The key for Quinnipiac needs to be shutting down Donato. They need to play physical with him and not give him the time and space that he needs to work with. He is by far their best offensive player and the one who makes the Crimson offense go so keying on him is a pretty good start if you want to beat Harvard.

Defensively Harvard is still pretty good as they give up 2.50 goals per game which is tied for 10th nationally. A year ago they gave up 2.14 goals per game so they are too are from where they were a season ago. The Crimson have impressive puck movers on the blue line most notably Adam Fox the reining ECAC rookie of the year who has 7 assists and his fellow sophomore John Marino who has 3 assists. They are getting good production from freshman Reilly Walsh who has a lot of talent and they get experienced play from Wiley Sherman and Jacob Olson two of the upperclassmen on the blue line. The Crimson are strong on the penalty kill at 88.6% which is 4th in the country nationally and Quinnipiac probably would be better scoring on five vs five against Harvard than on the power play. The Bobcats need to avoid strong transition passes by Fox and Marino which could lead to easy offense for the crimson and play a strong neutral zone game these strong defensive players.

Merrick Madsen played in every game this season and while he does have two shutouts, he has also struggled in losses to Yale and Minnesota and gave up four goals in a tie with Boston College. Madsen has been average for the Crimson this year with a .906 save percentage and a 2.49 goals against average numbers that are not as good as his previous two seasons. For the Harvard to get back on the right track they are going to need Madsen to play like he did the past two seasons because his play has hurt them at times this year. Quinnipiac could be catching Madsen in a rough stretch which could be good for them.

This is an important game for Quinnipiac as they need to start to build some momentum along with some wins as they head into the first semester break within the next couple of weeks. Despite the Crimson's record they should still be treated as a formidable opponent with the talent they still have on this roster and I would look for a really hard fought game tomorrow night that could go either way.

Jonathan Singer is a 2004 Quinnipiac alum. You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Quinnipiac rebounds with strong 6-2 road win over Princeton

Quinnipiac at Princeton (photo by Paul Pacelli, WQUN)
The Quinnipiac Bobcats men's ice hockey team rebounded in a big way after its struggles this past weekend as they blasted Princeton 6-2 at Hobey Baker Rink on Tuesday night. Six different players scored for Quinnipiac as they improved to 6-7-1 (3-4 ECAC) on the season. With the victory the Bobcats now are in 5th place in the ECAC standings with 6 points, 3 points behind Colgate for a top 4 spot. They also had five different players with multi point games on the night. 

Quinnipiac started the scoring 5:02 into the opening frame when Tanner MacMaster took a turnover in the neutral zone, raced into the offensive zone and buried one from the slot past Ryan Ferland. Eleven and a half minutes later Logan Mick found a loose puck in front of the net and scored top shelf on Ferland. It was a strong period for Quinnipiac that saw them out shot Princeton 12-3. 

Princeton got on the board seven and half minutes into the second period on Max Veronneau's 6th goal of the season. Quinnipiac found themselves on the power play five minutes later and made the Tigers pay when Brogan Rafferty's slap shot was re-directed by Bo Pieper past Ferland. Six and a half minutes later Quinnipiac again found the back of the net when the two teams skated four aside as Chase Priskie found Alex Whelan sitting uncovered in front of the net where he snapped a quick shot past Ferland. Quinnipiac after two periods had 28 shots compared to only 8 for Princeton.

Quinnipiac had to fight off a Princeton push in the third period where they out shot the Bobcats 15-8 in the final frame. Nick Jermain sent a dagger through the Tigers with a wrap around goal for his first of the season with less than seven minutes left to play. Princeton quickly responded on a David Hallisey goal but it was a too little too late for the Tigers with Quinnipiac's Kevin McKernan sealing a happy bus trip home to Hamden with the empty net goal. 

It was possibly Quinnipiac's best effort of the season against a quality opponent. 13 different players picked up points while the Bobcats received multi point games from Odeen Tufto (2 assists), Brogan Rafferty (2 assists), Kevin McKernan (1 goal, 1 assist), Karlis Cukste (2 assists) and a strong game from Bo Pieper (1 goal, 1 assist) who also won 10 of 16 face-offs on the night. Andrew Shortridge made 21 saves for his 5th win of the season as its looking more and more like he should see the majority of the starts the rest of the way.

Quinnipiac now heads home for two crucial ECAC games against Harvard and Dartmouth this weekend as both teams have two games in hand on Quinnipiac are right behind them in the standings. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

In the Pipeline 11/27/2017

A week after sweeping a home slate and looking like the team was going to get back on track, Quinnipiac was swept in a home and home series with UMass Amherst sending the Bobcats to a 5-7-1 record and putting this season on the verge of sputtering out of control after 6 losses in their last 8 games. Quinnipiac has an early week game against Princeton followed by a weekend home slate against Harvard and Dartmouth. A lot of the future Bobcats played over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend so let's take a look at how some of them did.

Wyatt Bongiovanni (photo via
USHL commits

Wyatt Bongiovanni had two more points in Saturday's 3-2 win for Muskegon over Lincoln. He has a a goal and an assist with the goal coming way of the power play. It was a strong month of November for Bongiovaani with 5 goals and 5 assists. On the season he has 11 points (6 goals, 5 assists) and is tied for third on the team in scoring.

Zach Metsa is on a hot streak. He has recorded a point in his 5th straight game with a pair of assists in two games over the weekend and now has points in 7 of his last 8 games for the Youngstown Phantoms. In 17 games played, Metsa has 9 points (1 goal, 8 assists).

William Fällström returned from a minor injury with the Fargo Force to record an assist this past week. In 17 games played the Stockholm, Sweden native has 10 points (3 goals, 7 assists).

Domenick Fensore had an assist in two games played over the weekend as the U-17 US Developmental team played Sioux Falls and Omaha in USHL play. In 7 USHL games he has 1 assist.

Justin Robbins got his third start of the season for the Chicago Steel. He played in Friday's shootout loss to Lincoln. He gave up 4 goals in the game for the Steel. On the season the New Jersey native has an 0-1 record with a 6.00 goals against average and an .824 save percentage.

AJHL Commits

Matt Cassidy had one assist in three games played over the past week for the Brooks Bandits. In 20 games played, the New Jersey native has 14 points (6 goals, 8 assists).
Ethan de Jong (photo by James Doyle, Prince George Citizen)

BCHL Commits

Ethan de Jong of the Prince George Spruce Kings continues to rack up the points. He had another 4 this past weekend in two games played (2 goals, 2 assists). He is also riding a 5 game point streak along with points in 9 of his last 10 games played. On the season he has 35 points (11 goals, 24 assists) in 29 games played and is tied for 6th in the BCHL in scoring.

Michael Lombardi picked up his 7th goal of the season in Friday's 7-2 win for West Kelowna. The Rhode Island native now has 16 points (7 goals, 9 assists) in 27 games played.

Midget Commits

Jacob Quillan added three more assists this past week in three games played for the Steele Subaru Major Midgets. On the season Quillan now has 24 points (8 goals, 16 assists) in 21 games played.

Austin Spiridakis picked up another an assist this past weekend for the St. Albert Tire Warehouse Raiders AAA team. In 17 games played, Spiridakis has 7 points (4 goals, 3 assists).

Jonathan Singer is a 2004 Quinnipiac alum. You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Scouting the Enemy: Princeton Tigers

Quinnipiac is officially in a slump. For the third time in the last four weeks they finished a weekend getting swept. They have lost 6 of 8 games in November to fall to 5-7-1 on the season. The Bobcats have a short turnaround with an early week game against a talented Princeton team on Tuesday night at Hobey Baker Rink in Princeton, New Jersey. A year ago it was the Tigers who dominated in Quinnipiac in a sweep that essentially helped keep the Bobcats out of the NCAA tournament. Right now Quinnipiac is just fighting to possibly save its season from taking a down turn.

Princeton Key Players: Max Veronneau (F), Ryan Kuffner (F), Jackson Cressey (F), Eric Robinson (F), David Hallisey (F), Josh Teves (D), Reid Yochim (D), Ryan Ferland (G)

Princeton has one of the better offense's that Quinnipiac will see this year in the ECAC. They are averaging 3.22 goals per game and have some impressive forwards that can consistently find the back of the net. Quinnipiac will need to be able to contain the top line of Ryan Kuffner (10 points), Alex Riche (6 points) and Max Veronneau (11 points) in order to slow down the Tigers strength on offense. They also get strong production from Jackson Cressey (8 points) and Eric Robinson (8 points) along with senior David Hallisey (7 points). Special teams for Princeton are a strength with their power play second strongest among ECAC teams at 21.88% (7-of-32). Quinnipiac has had some defensive lapses recently that it must get cleaned up or Princeton is the type of team that will make them pay with the talent they have up front.

Defensively Princeton is ranked tied for 31st at 2.89 goals per game but that number is high due to a couple of bad games against good ECAC teams (Cornell and Union). Princeton's senior defensive pair of Matt Nelson and Joe Grabowski are the most experienced defenseman for the Tigers but so far a combined minus six. Josh Teves (8 points) and Matthew Thom form the second pair and combined they are a plus five on the season so far. Reid Yochim and Derek Topatigh make up the third pair and they have provided some offense to the Tigers from the blue line with 9 points combined. As I said earlier, Princeton has good special teams and that includes their penalty kill which is 8th best in the country at 87.5% (28-of-32). Quinnipiac has been struggling on offense only mustering 4 goals this past weekend against a young but talented UMass squad.

After seeing Colton Phinney man the pipes for the past four seasons, the Bobcats will see a new face in goal with freshman Ryan Ferland expected to get the nod for the Tigers. The 6'0 175 pound Franklin, Massachusetts native is off to a solid start with a 2.84 goals against average and a .918 save percentage along with a 4-3-1 record. He struggled a bit against two of the better teams in the ECAC (Cornell and Union) but has given the Tigers some stability back there in goal.

I think Princeton is going to give Quinnipiac everything they can handle tomorrow night. With the season sputtering on the verge of getting out of control, Quinnipiac needs a character win to build something off of because if the losses continue to mount up, the frustration possibly could start to set in up on York Hill in the second half of the season.

Jonathan Singer is a 2004 Quinnipiac alum. You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Quinnipiac falls 6-3, gets swept by UMass

BobcatsHockeyBlog file photo
For the third time in the last four weeks Quinnipiac has ended a weekend getting swept as they fell 6-3 to UMass Amherst in at the Mullins Center in Amherst, Massachusetts on the back leg of a home and home series. The Bobcats now have dropped 6 out of 8 games in November, tying a stretch when they lost 6 of 8 games last season.  It's not going to get any easier with a short turnaround for a Tuesday game on the road at Princeton followed by Harvard coming to Hamden next Friday.

While UMass got a hat trick from senior Niko Rufo, it was the young kids making sure that it was the Minutemen who got the last laugh on the weekend. UMass got the scoring started when Rufo took a feed from Cale Makar at the point and sent a wrist shot past Keith Petruzzelli. A little over a minute later Oliver Chau scoring on back handed five hole goal through Petruzzelli. Quinnipiac on the board when Logan Mick scored his first collegiate goal after redirecting Luke Shiplo's shot past UMass goaltender Ryan Wischow.

That was as close as Quinnipiac would come in this game as UMass scored 51 seconds into the second period by Mitchell Chaffee and then 12 minutes later Niko Rufo potted his second of the game. The Minutemen went into the second intermission up 4-1 despite being out shot 35-12. Oliver Chau sent an early dagger through Quinnipiac with a power play goal to make it 5-1, a score that essentially made it impossible for the Bobcats to mount a comeback.

Quinnipiac found a bit of life when Alex Whelan blew past the Minutemen's Jack Suter and rifled a shot high past Wischow. The Bobcats inched a bit closer when they scored immediately after Bo Pieper won a face-off back to Craig Martin who dished it over to Brandon Fortunato who blasted home his first goal and point as a Bobcat. Niko Rufo's empty net goal capped the scoring and the win for the Minutemen who improve to 7-6 on the season while Quinnipiac drops to 5-7-1.

It was a rough home coming for Keith Petruzzelli a resident of nearby Wilbraham, Massachusetts as he was tagged for 5 goals on 18 shots. The slumping Bobcats now head back into ECAC play on Tuesday when they travel to Princeton before returning home for Harvard and Dartmouth next weekend.

Jonathan Singer is a 2004 Quinnipiac alum. You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Quinnipiac's offensive struggles return in 2-1 loss to UMass

Quinnipiac vs. UMass (copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)
Just a week ago the Quinnipiac Bobcats men's ice hockey team scored 8 goals and won two games. It looked as if they might have turned a corner. Fast forward one week and the inconsistencies on offense have returned as Quinnipiac fell 2-1 to UMass Amherst in the first leg of a home and home series at Frank Perrotti Jr. Arena on Friday night. This is the 5th time this season that Quinnipiac has failed to score more than one goal in a game. Four of those games were losses with the other being a tie against Boston College. One thing is certain is that the offensive issues of this team are very real.

The visitors from Amherst brought a slew of talented freshman into Hamden and they did not disappoint accounting for both goals and the lone assists on each goal. Mitchell Chaffee scored his 4th goal of the season 11:46 into the opening frame on a feed from leading point scorer Oliver Chau. Quinnipiac had its opportunities with 16 shots on goal in the opening frame. 
Quinnipiac vs. UMass (copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)
The Bobcats got its lone goal 1:51 into the second period when some slick passing by Tanner MacMaster and Odeen Tufto set up John Furgele for his first goal as a Bobcat since transferring from the University of New Hampshire. However that lead was short lived when just over two minutes later San Jose second round draft pick Mario Ferraro sniped a tough angled shot that got by Quinnipiac goaltender Andrew Shortridge for the goal. Quinnipiac had some opportunities in the third period but could not capitalize. Kevin Duane was given 5 minute major for a contact to the head and a game misconduct on a hit that looked like a good hockey hit. The lone bright spots were Andrew Shortridge who made 23 saves and the Quinnipiac penalty kill which was a perfect 5 for 5 on the night. 

The home and home series wraps up tomorrow night in Amherst where Quinnipiac needs to avoid being swept for the third time in the past four weeks. With the losses piling up the Bobcats chances of getting an at-large bid down the road are starting to dwindle as the pairwise rankings are starting to matter along with the fact they are losing to teams below them in the rankings.

Jonathan Singer is a 2004 Quinnipiac alum. You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Scouting the Enemy: UMass Minutemen

Coming off their first two conference wins, Quinnipiac now heads back into out of conference play with a home and home series with UMass Amherst that begins Friday night in Hamden and wraps up the next night up in Amherst at the Mullins Center. Quinnipiac is going to see a UMass team that turned over half the roster from a year ago. The Minutemen have 13 freshman with many of them seeing serious playing time for Greg Carvel's team as he looks to make them much more competitive than they have been in the past. They are off to a decent start this season at 5-6 with wins over Union on the road and Providence at home. With so much youth on the UMass roster, there have been good nights and some bad nights but the pieces are in place to be a very respectable team this year and pretty good in the years to come. All time Quinnipiac is 7-2-2 against the Minutemen.

UMass Key Players: Oliver Chau (F), John Leonard (F), Niko Rufo (F), Mitchell Chaffee (F), Cale Makar (D), Mario Ferraro (D), John McLaughlin (D)

The UMass offense is very young but has some intriguing talent. They only average 2.78 goals per game but 10 of the forwards who have seen a bunch of game action are either freshman or sophomores so you can expect growing pains. Four of their top five scorers are freshman with the lone senior forward being Niko Rufo (8 points). Two freshman in Oliver Chau (10 points) and Amherst native John Leonard (9 points) are the two top scorers for the Minutemen followed by Rufo. Freshman forward Mitchell Chaffee has 6 points while they are getting some contribution from two of the freshman defenseman in Cale Makar (6 points) who was the 4th overall pick by Colorado in the 2017 draft along with Mario Ferraro (5 points) who was drafted in the second round by San Jose in the same draft. UMass has a power play that has struggled to a clip of 14.29% (7-of-49) while the Quinnipiac penalty kill has improved to 80.4% (37-of-46). The Bobcats need to use their experience on defense to force the young Minutemen forwards into mistakes in order to generate turnovers which can lead to quality opportunities for Quinnipiac.

UMass has struggled on defense this season giving up 3.18 goals per game. They have some high end talent with Makar and Ferraro that can provide offense as well as be consistent on the blue line. However this defense is just so young with freshman and sophomores manning the blue line that their lack of experience is hurting them. The lone senior back there is Jake Horton while sophomores Jake McLaughlin and Josh Couturier see a lot of minutes on the blue line. While Quinnipiac hasn't been lighting up the scoreboard offensively like they have in the past they have some experience up front along with some talent to make UMass pay if it struggles on defense. The Minutemen have been average on the penalty kill at 79% (49-of-62) while Quinnipiac has seen some improvement on the power play recently outside of the Yale game at 17.50% (7-of-40).

The Minutemen have gotten really poor goal-tending from both freshman Matt Murray (3.16 GAA, .894 save %) and sophomore Ryan Wischow (3.04 GAA, .895 save %). Murray has seen the majority of the starts with 8 but Wischow has the two best wins of the season for UMass beating Union and Providence. With the way these goaltenders have both struggled they probably will each get a game in goal. Either way Quinnipiac must capitalize on how inconsistent they have been and just shoot the puck consistently

Quinnipiac needs to build off last weekend's sweep and has to come away with two victories over this holiday weekend because at this point they can not afford many more pairwise slip ups especially with a loss to RPI on the season. They need to get strong goal-tending, the defense to play well, have a strong fore-check, hunt the puck and get some timely goal scoring in order for the results to go in their direction.

Jonathan Singer is a 2004 Quinnipiac alum. You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Ethan de Jong signs National Letter of Intent with Quinnipiac

Ethan de Jong signing his NLI (photo by Prince George Spruce Kings)

Ethan de Jong has signed his National Letter of Intent with the Quinnipiac Bobcats men's ice hockey team. He is the fourth future commit to sign his letter of intent in November following William Fällström, Wyatt Bongiovanni and Peter Diliberatore. The 1999 born forward from North Vancouver, British Columbia is in his second full season in the British Columbia Hockey League, leads the Prince George Spruce Kings in scoring with 31 points (9 goals, 22 assists) and is tied for 5th in scoring in BCHL. He has already surpassed his production from the 2016-2017 season when he had 30 points (5 goals, 25 assists) in 43 games played.

He recently was invited to the Hockey Canada World Junior A Challenge Canada West Selection Camp from December 2nd to 5th in Calgary in order to earn a spot for the tournament that will commence December 10th to 16th in Truro, Nova Scotia. The 5'10 175 pound de Jong originally committed to Quinnipiac back on September 25th. He is projected to arrive in Hamden for 2019-2020 season. 

Jonathan Singer is a 2004 Quinnipiac alum. You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Andrew Shortridge named ECAC goaltender of the week

Andrew Shortridge vs. Yale (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)

ECAC Hockey in a press release has named Andrew Shortridge as its goaltender of the week after posting back to back shutouts this past weekend against Brown and Yale. The sophomore from Anchorage, Alaska made 52 saves over two games as Quinnipiac picked up its first two conference wins of the season.

This was the third shutout of Shortridge's career as he posted a 1-0 shutout back on February 3, 2017 on the road against Brown. In 9 games played this season, Shortridge is 4-4-1 with a 1.85 goals against average and a .925 save percentage. This is the first career ECAC goaltender of the week award for Shortridge who last season won back to back ECAC rookie of the week awards for the weeks of February 28th and March 8th.

Jonathan Singer is a 2004 Quinnipiac alum. You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Monday, November 20, 2017

In the Pipeline: 11/20/17 edition

It was a good weekend to be a Bobcat as the Quinnipiac men's ice hockey team swept a weekend home slate against Brown and Yale both via shutout wins. Andrew Shortridge picked up his second and third career shutouts and the Bobcats got timely goal scoring throughout the weekend and capped the weekend winning the Heroes Hat once again with their home win over Yale. There was some future Bobcats that had a very good past week of action so without further adieu lets take a look at how the future of Quinnipiac hockey did.
Jacob Quillan, sitting bottom left (photo by John Moore)

Midget Commits

Nova Scotia 2002 born forward Jacob Quillan was named the most valuable player of the 2017 Monctonian Major Midget tournament that concluded on Sunday. Quillan scored the overtime winning goal in a 4-3 win over Halifax McDonalds. Scroll to the 3:35 minute mark of this Youtube clip for his overtime winning goal. In 6 games played between the round robin and playoff format, Quillan had 7 points (2 goals, 5 assists)

Austin Spiridakis picked up another goal this past weekend for the St Albert Tire Warehouse Raiders (AMHL) in a 3-1 win over the Calgary Royals . On the season he has 6 points (4 goals, 2 assists) in 15 games played.

USHL commits

Wyatt Bongiovanni had another 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist) in two games played for the Muskegon Lumberjacks. On the season the Michigan native has 9 points (5 goals, 4 assists) in 14 games played. He had an impressive back handed goal on Saturday in Muskegon's game against Sioux Falls. Here is the clip.

Zach Metsa had two assists this past week for the Youngstown Phantoms. The Delafield, Wisconsin native now has points in four of his last five games (1 goal, 3 assists). He is averaging over two shots per game on goal for the season has 6 points (1 goal, 5 assists) in 14 games played.

We missed this last week but Corey Clifton made his USHL debut with the Muskegon Lumberjacks. He had two assists in his first two games but was kept off the score sheet this past weekend. He had previously been with the North Jersey Avalanche U-18 team. Its unknown if Clifton will remain with Muskegon the rest of the season but he is off to a good start for the Lumberjacks.

Guus van Nes (picture via van Nes twitter)

NCDC Commits

Gus van Nes is starting to look like a nice late bloomer pickup for Quinnipiac. The Netherlands born forward has been on fire since making his commitment to Quinnipiac. This past weekend he six assists including four in Sunday's win against the New Jersey Rockets. He is on a five game point streak (3 goals, 9 assists) and for the season he has 29 points (8 goals, 21 assists) in 29 games played. van Nes will bring size and some scoring ability up front to the Bobcats next season.

AJHL Commits

Matt Cassidy continues to put up points for the Brooks Bandits in the AJHL. The Medford, New Jersey native had two more points this past weekend (1 goal, 1 assist) as Brooks split a pair of games with Canmore. In 17 games with the Bandits, Cassidy has 13 points (6 goals, 7 assists).

BCHL Commits

Ethan De Jong of the Prince George Spruce Kings has surpassed his 2016-2017 season of 30 points before Thanksgiving. He had three more assists this past weekend in two game played. He now has 31 points (9 goals, 22 assists) in 27 games played this year averaging 1.15 points per game. He had 30 points in 43 games last season.

It was another good week for 1998 forward Michael Lombardi as he had three more assists for the West Kelowna Warriors. He now has points in seven of his last eight games for West Kelowna. The first year BCHL player now has 16 points (6 goals, 10 assists) in 25 games combined between the Chilliwack Chiefs and West Kelowna.

Jonathan Singer is a 2004 Quinnipiac alum. You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Quinnipiac shuts out Yale 3-0, wins Heroes Hat

Quinnipiac vs. Yale (photo copyright BobcatHockeyBlog)
Once again the Heroes Hat is remaining in Hamden for another season. The Quinnipiac Bobcats made sure that happened with a strong defensive effort along with some timely goals to shutout the Yale Bulldogs 3-0 Saturday night at the Frank Perrotti Jr. Arena. It was a return to what Quinnipiac does well with strong defensive hockey and excellent goal-tending that help lead to a weekend sweep after back to back weekends of being swept themselves. Quinnipiac is now 9-0-1 against the Yale Bulldogs since losing the 2013 National Championship game to them in Pittsburgh.

Early on this game a defensive struggle with a lot of physical play between the two schools separated by less than 8 miles. Both teams also got strong goaltending from both Quinnipiac's Andrew Shortridge and Yale's Sam Tucker. Quinnipiac had multiple opportunities in the opening period to get on the scoreboard for multiple goals but Tucker was brick wall bringing memories back of the performance that Yale goaltender Jeff Malcolm had back in the 2013 National Championship game. The best chance in the opening frame for Quinnipiac came on a Tanner MacMaster penalty shot but he was denied by Tucker.

Quinnipiac opened the scoring 2:22 into the second period when Chase Priskie fed Brogan Rafferty at the point where his bomb made it through traffic and a screened Sam Tucker for the goal. The Bobcats continued to pound Tucker in the second putting 19 shots on goal. With a power play that has been improving, Quinnipiac had six power play opportunities through two periods but didn't convert a single one.
Quinnipiac vs. Yale (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)
Quinnipiac's defining moment of the game wasn't any goal but the 5 minute major penalty that they killed off when Tanner MacMaster took a slew footing penalty and was ejected from the game. It was an impressive stand as prior to the 5 minute penalty Quinnipiac had killed off two consecutive Yale power plays making the Bobcats having to kill off almost half the period via the penalty kill without even having to use their timeout. With momentum shifting back to Quinnipiac they scored an insurance goal on a redirect goal by Craig Martin off Kevin McKernan's initial shot at almost the 15 minute mark of the third period. Freshman Devin Moore picked up his first collegiate point with a secondary assist on the goal. Not even a minute later Quinnipiac put the game on ice when Thomas Aldworth blew past a Yale defenseman finishing cleanly past Tucker for his first goal of the season officially making sure the Heroes Hat remained in Hamden for another season.

Andrew Shortridge continued with his strong play with 30 saves for his second consecutive shutout and third of his career. The teams combined for 16 penalties in a very chippy game. Quinnipiac now heads into the Thanksgiving holiday on a positive note winning two straight conference games to improve to 5-5-1 overall (2-4 ECAC). The Bobcats next play UMass Amhert in a home and home series next Friday and Saturday night with the first leg of the series in Hamden followed by a short I-91 trip up to Amherst the next night.

Jonathan Singer is a 2004 Quinnipiac alum. You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Scouting the Enemy: Yale Bulldogs

Quinnipiac got back into the win column with their first conference win of the season in a 5-0 win Friday night against the Brown Bears. Now comes the Heroes Hat game against their Whitney Avenue rival, the Yale Bulldogs who are 3-4 on the season. Quinnipiac moved up to 11th place in the ECAC with its win Friday night. The hope is that the Bobcats can build off of what they accomplished against Brown and use to going into the Yale game and beyond. With students on Thanksgiving break it might not have the buzz of previous past Yale games due to the holiday break and for the fact that both teams are having poor starts the season. It is still an important game and one that Quinnipiac always circles on its calendar. 

Yale Key Players: Joe Snively (F), Dante Palecco (F), Ryan Hitchcock (F), Mitchell Smith (F), Evan Smith (F), Ted Hart (F), Billy Sweezey (D), Phil Kemp (D), Sam Tucker (D)

The Yale offense has been Jekyll and Hyde so far this season looking great in three wins but non existent in three losses this season until Friday's night 5-4 loss to Princeton. Averaging 3.29 goals per game they are led by junior Joe Snively who is off to a hot start with 5 goals in seven games and senior Ryan Hitchcock who has 7 points (2 goals, 5 assists). Freshman Dante Palecco has begun his collegiate career strong with 6 points (4 goals, 2 assists) in 7 games while the Smith twins of Evan and Mitchell have 5 points apiece. Junior Ted Hart and Yale's lone forward draft pick Luke Stevens are both off to slow starts with 3 points apiece. The Yale power play has been by far the worst in the country this season at 5.88% (2-of-34) while the Quinnipiac penalty kill is starting to show improvement at 78% (32-of-41) along with going 4 for 4 against Brown on Friday night. The key for Quinnipiac is shutting down the Snively-Hitchcock-Palecco line as they have been Yale's three best players this season. Having the last change against those three will give the Quinnipiac coaching staff the ability to match up defensively against that line in critical situations and defensive zone draws.

Yale's defense also has been a bit Jekyll and Hyde this season as it has struggled in its losses giving up 16 goals. For the season they are giving up 3 goals per game. The Bulldogs have some really solid players on the blue line in freshman Phil Kemp (3 points, plus 5) and sophomore Billy Sweezey (5 assists, plus 1). Anthony Walsh (plus 4) and Adam Larkin (plus 3) have also looked solid at times on the blue line. They have definitely improved from where they were a season ago when they vastly struggled on the blue line. How far they will go will rest on if the defense can play a lot better than it has so far this season but the talent is there for improvement. Yale's penalty kill is a shade better than Quinnipiac's at 78.8% (26-of-33) while Quinnipiac power play has seen much improvement up to 21.21% (7-of-33).

Junior goaltender Sam Tucker has a sub .900 save percentage at .896 in 7 games played with a 2.74 goals against average. His best game was a 5-2 win over Harvard and he also beat both Brown and St. Lawrence. He has struggled in back to back games giving up 9 goals in total to Clarkson and Princeton though both of those teams have some of the best offensive talent in the ECAC this season. We will see if Quinnipiac can translate last's nights offensive success into a big night against Tucker.

A win over Yale will give the Quinnipiac some solid confidence as they head into Thanksgiving along with heading back into non conference play with a home and home series with UMass Amherst next weekend.

Jonathan Singer is a 2004 Quinnipiac alum. You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Friday, November 17, 2017

What can Brown do for you? A 5-0 Quinnipiac win

BobcatsHockeyBlog stock photo
Five games into their ECAC slate, the Quinnipiac Bobcats have recorded their first conference win with a resounding 5-0 win over the Brown Bears. Coming off back to back weekends of being swept in conference play, Quinnipiac was in desperate need of a victory. It was a good night for Quinnipiac to bring out the UPS slogan "What can Brown do for you" because that is exactly what happened tonight as the Bobcats got in the win column and looked strong in doing so. They moved the puck well with crisp passes, good forecheck and and all around solid game from their defense and goaltending.

It was the Landon Smith show tonight for Quinnipiac as he scored a natural hat trick scoring the teams first three goals of the game. His first came just over 12 minutes into the first period on the power play when he scored off a rebound from John Furgele's initial shot. Less than two minutes later Smith again found the back of the net when he redirected Brogan Rafferty's shot past Luke Kania.

Landon Smith found the back of the net for a third time just 2:27 into the second period when Smith cleaned up yet another rebound this time off the stick of Tanner MacMaster whose initial shot was saved by Kania. Quinnipiac scored a second power play goal when Bo Pieper fed Chase Priskie in the slot where he ripped a wrist shot home past Kania. Quinnipiac capped the scoring on the night when Landon Smith skated the puck freely into the zone before finding Tanner MacMaster on the doorstep where he put it home for the goal.

Quinnipiac out shot Brown 36-22 for the game. Four players has multi point games led by Smith (3 goals, 1 assist), Chase Priskie (1 goal, 1 assist), Tanner MacMaster (1 goal, 1 assist) and Odeen Tufto (2 assists). Quinnipiac finished a strong night on special teams going 50% (2-of-4) on the power play and finishing 100% on the penalty kill (4 for 4). Andrew Shortridge made 22 saves for his second career shutout. This is a step in the right direction for the Bobcats as they now turn there attend to the Yale Bulldogs tomorrow night for the annual Heroes Hat game.

Jonathan Singer is a 2004 Quinnipiac alum. You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.