Thursday, September 28, 2017

ECAC Preview: #5 Princeton Tigers

Today on the BobcatsHockeyBlog we look at our projected 5th place ECAC finisher, the Princeton Tigers who are coming off an 7th place finish in the ECAC a season ago.

Princeton Tigers 2016-2017 Results:

Overall: 15-16-3

ECAC: 8-11-3 (7th)

ECAC Tournament: Lost in ECAC Quarterfinal series 2-0 to Union

NCAA Tournament: No

Team History
NCAA Tournament History: 2009, 2008
NCAA Frozen Fours:  None

Departures: Ben Foster (F), Ryan Siiro (F), Garrett Skrbich (F), Quin Pompi (D), Tommy Davis (D), Hayden Anderson (D), Marlon Sabo (D), Colton Phinney (G)

Additions: Colin Tonge (F), Luke Keenan (F), Jake Paganelli (F), Mark Paolini (D), Reid Yochim (D), Matthew Thom (D), Ryan Ferland (G)

After winning nine games combined between the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons, Princeton broke through with a 15 win season last year under third year coach Ron Fogarty. Now in his 4th season at the helm, Fogarty has a team ready to compete for a 1st round bye in the ECAC playoffs. The Tigers return their top nine scorers from a year ago which is something no team in the ECAC can say. There is a lot of optimism in New Jersey for the first time since the Guy Gadowsky era.

Led by preseason All-ECAC 1st team selection Max Veronneau, Princeton returns 92 of 103 goals (89%) from a season ago. Also joining Veronneau are Ryan Kuffner (36 points), Jackson Cressey (33 points), David Hallisey (30 points) and Eric Robinson (21 points) as the top forwards returning. This will be a tough team to play against as they have the ability to roll out three lines that can score. The expectation is that this offense will be better than the one a season ago and be one of the higher scoring teams in the ECAC this season.

Four starting defenseman return with Josh Teves, Derek Topatigh, Joe Grabowski and Matt Nelson so at least two defenseman will be freshman this season. Teves had 25 points from the blue line and was the teams 5th leading scorer. Defense has to be a focus for the Tigers as they gave up 111 goals a year ago. That won't cut this season if they have big hopes of a deep ECAC playoff run. Freshman Mark Paolini is one to watch as he had 57 points in 50 games as a defenseman in the OJHL a season ago.

Princeton is going to have to replace four year starter Colton Phinney who departs after graduating. Senior goaltender Ben Halford has ten games of experience for Princeton the highlight a 43 save performance in a 3-1 win against a ranked Bemidji State team on the road last year. He will have competition from junior Austin Shaw (one appearance) and freshman Ryan Ferland. This is probably the Tigers biggest weakness on the team but if they find a consistent goaltender then watch out.

This should be without a doubt the best season of the Ron Fogarty era who after four years has put together a quality team worthy of being taken seriously in the ECAC. This team should score in bunches but in order to make a deep playoff run or even get into the ECAC top four they will need defensive improvement and the goal-tending situation to settle itself out.

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

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

ECAC Preview: #6 Saint Lawrence Saints

Today on the BobcatsHockeyBlog we look at our projected 6th place ECAC finisher, the St. Lawrence Saints who are coming off a 4th place finish in the ECAC a season ago. Jack Lyons of the SLUHockeyblog was gratuitous enough to write a guest preview for the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Saints this season. You can follow him on twitter @sluhockeyblog.

St. Lawrence Saints 2016-2017 Results:


ECAC: 12-6-4 (4th place)

ECAC Tournament: Lost to Quinnipiac in the ECAC Quarterfinal series 2-1

NCAA Tournament: No

Team History
NCAA Tournament History: 2007, 2001, 2000, 1992, 1989, 1988, 1987, 1983, 1962, 1961, 1960, 1959, 1956, 1955, 1952

NCAA Frozen Fours: 2000, 1988, 1962, 1961, 1960, 1959, 1956, 1955, 1952

Departures: Gavin Bayreuther (D), Kyle Hayton (G), Eric Sweetman (D), Ben Masella (D), Mike Graham (D), Alex Dahl (F), Drew Smolcynski (F), Woody Hudson (F).

Additions: Cade Gleekel (F), Callum Cusinato (F), Jake Stevens (D), Bo Hanson (D), Keenan Suthers (F), Phillip Alftberg (D), Cam Gray (D), Dylan Woolf (D).

With a new head coach, Mark Morris, at the helm the Saints battled injuries throughout the season, with only two defensemen playing in every game: senior Ben Masella and rookie Ben Finkelstein, a sixth-round draft pick of the Florida Panthers. SLU ultimately failed to advance to Lake Placid for a third straight year.

Finkelstein will have to play an increased role for the Saints this year, who graduated four starting defensemen, and saw all-American goaltender Kyle Hayton transfer to Wisconsin. Defense has been the staple of St. Lawrence hockey for the last three seasons, but that could change this year. Expected starter Art Brey has shown he can be a solid goaltender over the past two seasons, and now he’ll get a chance to prove his worth as a starter.

The Saints appear to have the most talent at forward they’ve had since 2013-14, when they boasted both Carey brothers and Jeremy Wick, all who finished with more than 30 points. Coming off an injury plagued season, Mike Marnell’s health will be of crucial importance for the Saints. He scored 13 goals in 15 league games last season as a junior, but battled injuries throughout the year. If he is healthy, he can be a game-changing forward with speed and the ability to finish. They also welcome Cade Gleekel, a former Mr. Hockey finalist who had 22 goals in 23 games during his senior season at Benilde-St. Margaret’s and put up 45 points in 57 games with Merritt in the BCHL last year. Mike Laidley returns from injury as well and should center the Saints top line.

The defense will have some serious adjustments to make. Losing Gavin Bayreuther, Eric Sweetman, Ben Masella and Mike Graham means the Saints have to replace four starting defensemen. Their two returners, Finkelstein and Nolan Gluchowski, are solid two-way defenders, but neither has ever had to shoulder the load as the number one defender. How they perform in the early season will be something to keep an eye on.

In short, SLU’s offense should be the best its been in several years, considering they still have two great puck-moving defenseman and welcome another in Jake Stevens, but the defense and goaltending loom large as points of concern for the Saints in 2017-2018. With as much roster turnover in key spots as the Saints have, it’s tough to imagine them locking up a fourth straight bye in round one of the ECAC tournament.

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

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

ECAC Preview: #7 Yale Bulldogs

Today on the BobcatsHockeyBlog we look at our projected 7th place ECAC finisher, the Yale Bulldogs who are coming off an 8th place tie in the ECAC a season ago.

Yale Bulldogs 2016-2017 Results:

Overall: 13-15-5

ECAC: 7-11-4 (8th)

ECAC Tournament: Lost in ECAC Quarterfinals 2-0 to Harvard

NCAA Tournament: No

Team History
NCAA Tournament History: 2016, 2015, 2013, 2011, 2010, 2009, 1998, 1952
NCAA Frozen Fours:  2013, 1952
NCAA Championships: 2013

Departures: John Hayden (F), Frankie DiChiara (F), Mike Doherty (F), Chris Izmirlian (F), Dan O'Keefe (D), Patrick Spano (G)

Additions: Brett Jewell (F), Kevin O'Neil (F), Dante Palecco (F), Tyler Walsh (F), Phil Kemp (D), Brian Matthews (D), Nicholas MacNab (G)

The 2016-2017 campaign ended with only the second losing season of the Keith Allain era at Yale and the first since 2006-2007 which was Allain's first season in New Haven. In his 11 seasons at Yale, Allain has taken the Bulldogs to six NCAA tournament appearances along with winning the 2013 NCAA National Championship. He has been the most successful coach in the history of the program and set a standard for excellence with the program.

Yale will have to replace 43% of the goals scored last season as John Hayden who led the team with 21 goals graduated along with Frankie DiChiara (10 goals), Mike Doherty (7 goals) and Chris Izmirlian (5 goals). They return junior leading scorer Joe Snively (39 points) who is a preseason All-ECAC 1st team selection. Two others expected to be a big part of the offense are senior Ryan Hitchcock and junior Ted Hart. Yale will need more production from the likes of Charlie Andrew Gaus, Robbie DeMontis, Luke Stevens and the Smith twins (Evan and Mitchell) to make up for the scoring they are losing.

Yale returns five starting defenseman and adds Phil Kemp, a 2017 7th round pick of the Edmonton Oilers who played the last two season with the United States National Team Developmental Program. They should see improvement to a defense that struggled at times a season ago. Players like Adam Larkin and Charlie Curti also provide some offensive punch on the blue line as well and will need that contribution once again. Sophomore's Billy Sweezey and Chandler Lindstrand should see themselves much improved as well as Sweezey was tied for the team lead as a plus 13 a season ago. Sam Tucker is the only goaltender returning that saw game action last season and finished the year with a 3.05 goals against average and a .899 save percentage. Sophomore Corbin Kaczperski and freshman Nicholas MacNab figure to battle it out for the starting job with Tucker.

I cannot see a Yale team having back to back losing seasons under Keith Allain who has built a consistent program in his tenure in New Haven. Some of the younger players likely will get better but to me they need to find consistent goal-tending as well. It's possible that Keith Allain misses upwards of six games this year being part of the USA Hockey staff at the 2018 Winter Olympics with Quinnipiac, Princeton, Cornell and Harvard in that stretch of games. That will be a challenging part of the season for Yale to see how they will play without their leader behind the bench. This is a team that should get home ice for the first round of the ECAC playoffs as I just don't think they will be good enough to reach the top four in the ECAC to get a first round bye.

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

Monday, September 25, 2017

Quinnipiac picked #2 in ECAC Media & Coaches Poll

The Quinnipiac Bobcats men's hockey team was picked second in both the ECAC media and coaches polls as was announced at the league media day in Albany, NY. The team received one first place and 106 points in the coaches poll while they received three first places votes and 324 points in the media poll. Quinnipiac is coming off a 23-15-2 season in which they finished in 5th place in the ECAC before falling to Harvard in the ECAC semifinals. The preseason poll also came out today and Quinnipiac came in a #14.

Coaches poll

1. Harvard (9) - 119 points
2. Quinnipiac (1) - 106 points
3. Cornell (1) - 95 points
4. Clarkson (1) - 91 points
5. Princeton - 80 points
6. Union - 72 points
7. St. Lawrence - 69 points
8. Yale - 54 points
9. Dartmouth - 33 points
10. Rensselaer - 32 points
11. Colgate - 23 points
12. Brown - 18 points

Media poll

1. Harvard (25) - 342 points
2. Quinnipiac (3) - 324 points
3. Cornell (1) - 272 points
4. Princeton - 246 points
5. Clarkson - 231 points
6. Union (1) - 195 points
tie Yale - 195 points
8. St. Lawrence - 188 points
9. Dartmouth - 110 points
10. Rensselaer - 82 points
11. Brown - 76 points
12. Colgate 68 points

Quinnipiac's junior captain Chase Priskie was also selected to the All ECAC Preseason 1st Team. The other players selected were Harvard's Ryan Donato, Yale's Joe Snively and Princeton's Max Veronneau as the forwards. Harvard's Adam Fox and Quinnipiac's Chase Priske are the defensemen. and the goalie is Harvard's Merrick Madsen.

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

Ethan De Jong commits to Quinnipiac

Ethan De Jong (photo by James Doyle, Prince George Citizen)
The Quinnipiac Bobcats men's ice hockey team picked up a verbal commitment from 1999 born forward Ethan De Jong from the Prince George Spruce Kings of the BCHL for the 2019-2020 season. De Jong is a 5'10, 175 pound forward off to a hot start for Prince George with 8 points (3 goals, 5 assists) in his first six games. This is his second full season in the BCHL after having 30 points (5 goals, 25 assists) in 43 games a season ago.

Very excited to announce my commitment to play college hockey at ! Thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way.

An anonymous scout who saw him recently described De Jong as having high hockey IQ with very good skill who can play all three forward positions and will play in all situations on the ice. This is exactly the type of player that makes Quinnipiac tough to beat because they are able to find players who are able to fit into their system.

De Jong, a native of North Vancouver, BC is a veteran of the Burnaby Winter Club where he put up 61 points in his final season with the club before moving full time to the BCHL. He will play this season and next in the BCHL before heading to Hamden in the fall of 2019.

Ethan De Jong Links

BCHL Player Page
Eliteprospects Player Page
Youtube Player Profile

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

Thursday, September 21, 2017

ECAC Preview: #8 Union Dutchmen

Today on the BobcatsHockeyBlog we look at the projected 8th place ECAC finisher, the Union Dutchmen who are coming off a 1st place tie in the ECAC with Harvard.

Union Dutchmen 2016-2017 Results:

Overall: 25-10-3

ECAC: 16-4-2 (Tied 1st with Harvard)

ECAC Tournament: Lost to Cornell in ECAC Semi-finals 4-1

NCAA Tournament: Yes. Lost to Penn State 10-3 in 1st round

Team History
NCAA Tournament History: 2017, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011
NCAA Frozen Fours:  2014, 2012
NCAA Championships: 2014

Departures: Mike Vecchione (F), Spencer Foo (F), Michael Pontarelli (F), Eli Lichtenwald (F), Jeff Taylor (D), Nick DeSimone (D), Matt Krug (D), Alex Sakellaropoulos (G)

Additions: Jack Adams (F), Park Foo (F), Liam Morgan (F), Josh Kosack (F), Sean Harrison (F), Brandon Estes (D), Joseph Campolieto (D), Tayloy Brierley (D), Darion Hanson (G)

The Union Dutchmen returned to the NCAA tournament for the 1st time since the 2013-2014 campaign as they surprised by winning a share of the ECAC regular season title with Harvard. No team got cleaned out more this off season in the ECAC than Union as top forward Mike Vecchione and top defenseman Jeff Taylor graduated while two juniors left early for the pros as forward Spencer Foo signed with the Calgary Flames and defenseman Nick DeSimone signed a contract with the San Jose Sharks. On top of that goaltender Alex Sakellaropoulos graduated along with three other depth players on the roster.

Expect Union to have a drop off with the big names that have left as it is always tough to replace the teams top two scorers who combined for 125 points. In total Union has to replace 190 points along with 78 of the 143 goals the team scored a season ago. The Dutchmen still have some talent returning with a handful of juniors in forward Sebastian Vidmar (41 points), forward Brett Supinski (36 points), forward Cole Maier (25 points), Ryan Walker (16 points). Others expected to contribute are sophomore Luc Brown (15 points) and senior Ryan Scarfo (14 points). Union has a two talented freshman forwards who were drafted in Jack Adams (6th round, Detroit) and Parker Foo (5th round, Chicago). Both of these players put up great numbers with their junior programs a season ago and with be asked to pick up the slack for Vecchione and Foo. Also expect freshman Liam Morgan to contribute as he put up 67 points in the OJHL a year ago.

The challenge for Union will be on defense with the loss of Taylor, DeSimone and Matt Krug. They return sophomore Vas Kolias, senior J.C. Brassard and junior Greg Campbell who are the only defenseman to play over 30 game each. Sophomore Ben Newhouse played 22 games but there will be some youth and inexperience on the blue line that the Dutchmen must overcome if they want to have a successful season. Junior goaltender Jake Kupsky should be the favorite to take over for Sakellaropoulos. The 2015 7th round pick of the San Jose Sharks struggled in 9 games finishing with a 3.98 goals against average and a .878 save percentage. Those numbers will have to significantly improve if Union wants to be a major factor in the ECAC this season.

Expect the Dutchmen to play teams tough this season. They still have some talent on the roster and are well coached with Rick Bennett behind the bench. I picked them 8th as a conservative selection due to the talent loss but they do have the ability to surprise with the talent they return along with what they have coming in to finish higher than 8th. If the defense and goal-tending shape up well then watch out for this team in the second half of the season.

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

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

ECAC Preview: #9 Dartmouth Big Green

Today on the BobcatsHockeyBlog we look at the projected 9th place ECAC finisher, the Dartmouth Big Green who are coming off a 9th place finish in the ECAC.

Dartmouth Big Green 2016-2017 Results:

Overall: 10-18-3

ECAC: 7-13-2 (9th)

ECAC Tournament: Lost to Yale 2-0 in ECAC First Round

NCAA Tournament: No

Team History
NCAA Tournament History: 1980, 1979, 1949, 1948
NCAA Frozen Fours:  1980, 1979, 1949, 1948

Departures: Troy Crema (F), Grant Opperman (F), Kyle Nickerson (F), Josh Hartley (D), Karan Toor (D)

Additions: Collin Rutherford (F), Matt Baker (F), Quin Foreman (F),  Joey Matthews (D), Brendan Less (D), Brendan Demler (D)

Expect more of the same from Dartmouth this season as you have seen in the past. They will compete but won't be good enough to be in the top four and will be battling just to get home ice in the first round of the ECAC tournament. The Big Green are a program that hasn't reached the NCAA tournament since the Jimmy Carter administration which was 38 years ago. I would expect that streak to continue as I see this is a program stuck in neutral that really doesn't make a huge effort to make hockey a priority at the prestigious Ivy League college. The Big Green's coach Bob Gaudet has had some decent seasons in the past but rarely has his program been a huge factor in the ECAC with the 2016-17 season's trip to the ECAC semifinals being a highlight recently for the program.

The team's leading scorer has departed in the recently graduated Troy Crema whose 29 points were six more than Corey Kalk who will be a senior this year. Dartmouth will need increased production from Kalk, Will Graber, Alex Jasiak and Cam Strong. Others will need to step up as well if Dartmouth is to be better than a bottom four team in the league.

One thing that the Big Green will need to see vast improvement is on defense. Dartmouth last season gave up 3.58 goals per game which was well into the bottom third of the NCAA. Four upperclassmen return and the Big Green also bring in three freshman on the blue line with two of them coming from the USHL in Joey Matthews and Brendan Demler. Senior Devin Buffalo returns in goal but he struggled at times last season and finished with a sub .900 save percentage and a goals against average over 3.

With 17 of the 29 players on the roster underclassmen it will be a tough season in Hanover, New Hampshire. In order for Dartmouth to be better than expected they will need the defense and goal-tending to really improve along with finding more scoring. The Big Green will play teams tough but they just won't be good enough to be considered a big challenge in the ECAC.

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

Thursday, September 14, 2017

ECAC Preview: #10 RPI Engineers

Today on the BobcatsHockeyBlog we look at the projected 10th place ECAC finisher, the RPI Engineers who are coming off a 11th place finish in the ECAC.

RPI Engineers 2016-2017 Results:

Overall: 8-28-1

ECAC: 6-16 (11th)

ECAC Tournament: Lost to Clarkson 2-0 in ECAC First Round

NCAA Tournament: No

Team History
NCAA Tournament History: 2011, 1995, 1994, 1985, 1984, 1964, 1961, 1954, 1953
NCAA Frozen Fours:  1985, 1964, 1961, 1954, 1953
NCAA Championships: 1985, 1954

Departures: Lou Nanne (F), Riley Bourbonnais (F), Jimmy DeVito (F), Jake Wood (F), Parker Reno (D), Bradley Bell (D), Cam Hackett (G)

Additions: Emil Ohrvall (F), Owen Stout (F), Jaren Burke (F), Jon Richards (F), Gavin Payne (F), Billy Jerry (F), Troy York (F), Mat Harris (D), Linden Marshall (G)

It is a new era in RPI hockey as former head coach Seth Appert was let go after the program suffered the worst season in the history of the program at 8-28-1. He has been replaced by former Canisius head coach Dave Smith which was a surprising and unexpected hire. Smith led Canisius to the Atlantic Hockey regular season title in his final year in Buffalo and had taken the Golden Griffins to one NCAA tournament appearance back in 2013 when they put a scare into Quinnipiac in the first round.

Expect the Engineers to play much harder under Dave Smith who is a solid coach. There is some returning talent to work with in junior forward Evan Tironese (28 points), sophomore forward Jacob Hayhurst (20 points), senior forward Viktor Liljegren (18 points) and senior defenseman Jared Wilson (17 points). RPI in fact returns 8 of their top 9 scorers from a year ago minus their top scorer Riley Bourbonnais who graduated. They will have seven freshman forwards headlined by Jaren Burke who had 53 points in the CCHL and Troy York who had 41 points in the NAHL. It's likely that the offense will take time to gel and it will take a few years for Smith and his assistants to bring more talented players up front for the Engineers.

Seven of the eight defenseman return from a season ago but combined those players were a minus 91. That has to change if the Engineers want to improve upon last years record. If it doesn't it could be a long season in Troy once again. Goaltender Chase Perry figures to get the bulk of the load in net with fellow net-minder Cam Hackett departing the program after being suspended last season. A 5th round draft pick in 2014 by the Detroit Red Wings, Perry finished the 2016-17 season 6-20-1 with a 3.35 goals against average and a .906 save percentage. I would expect those number to improve with the new coaching staff putting the Engineers players in better positions to succeed.

I wouldn't expect an immediate turnaround in Troy but if RPI can play harder and be a tough opponent this season, that should make the fans and alums in the Capital region excited for the future to come. RPI should start to see the fruit of Smith's labor within the next 3-4 seasons as he implements his style of play and the type of recruits he wants to bring in.

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

Monday, September 11, 2017

ECAC Preview: #11 Colgate Raiders

Today on the BobcatsHockeyBlog we look at the projected 11th place ECAC finisher, the Colgate Raiders who are coming off a 10th place finish in the ECAC.`

Colgate Raiders 2016-2017 Results:

Overall: 9-22-6

ECAC: 6-13-3 (10th)

ECAC Tournament: Lost to Princeton 2-1 in ECAC First Round

NCAA Tournament: No

Team History
NCAA Tournament History: 2014, 2005, 2000, 1990, 1981
NCAA Frozen Fours: 1990

Departures: Tim Harrison (F), Derek Freeman (F), Emilio Audi (F), Andrew Black (F), Jake Kulevich (D), Brett Corkey (D), Anthony Sanniti (D), Charlie Finn (G)

Additions: Paul McAvoy (F), Josh McKechney (F), Henry Marshall (F), Tyler Jeanson (F), Evan Tschumi (F), Nick Austin (D), Trevor Cosgrove (D), Nick Quillan (D)

The past two seasons in Hamilton, New York have been the two worst seasons of the Don Vaughan era at Colgate. Despite the opening of the new Class of 1965 Arena, the Raiders product on the ice suffered once again, only managing 9 wins which was two wins previous than the prior season. The team's top two scorers have departed in Jake Kulevich (22 points) and Tim Harrison (20 points) along with 5th leading scorer Brett Corkey (17 points). Colgate only scored 78 goals in 37 games played which comes out to 2.1 goals per game.

Young returning players such as Bobby McCann, Jared Cockrell, John Snodgrass and Adam Dauda will need to increase their production for the Raiders if they want to improve upon last seasons record. The Colgate recruiting class looks to have some players that can help but the question will be how quickly they will be able to contribute.

Three incoming freshman forwards in Josh McKechney (67 points), Tyler Jeanson (42 points) and Paul McAvoy (48 points) all had solid final seasons with their respective junior teams. Two freshman defenseman should be able to help with Trevor Cosgrove an offensive defenseman who had 49 points in the BCHL last season and Nick Quillan who had 39 points for Whitecourt in the AJHL. Quillan is the older brother of Quinnipiac commit Jacob Quillan of Nova Scotia.

Colton Point will take the reins full time in goal with the graduation of senior Charlie Finn who was a four year starter. Point is a draft pick of the Dallas Stars who finished his freshman season with a 2-5-2 record with a 2.45 goals against average and a .918 save percentage.

If everything breaks right for Colgate with the young players developing and the freshman stepping up along with defensive improvements they could finish higher than their projected 11th place finish. Should Colgate have another season like the last two, I think questions about Don Vaughan's job status start to spring up especially with Colgate having one of the better facilities in the conference now.

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

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

K.J. Tiefenwerth signs with ECHL Reading Royals

K.J. Tiefenwerth (photo by John Crouch)
The Reading Royals of the ECHL, an affiliate of the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers has announced the signing of former Quinnipiac forward K.J. Tiefenwerth to a standard players contract. Tiefenwerth played 127 games in three seasons for the Bobcats after transferring from UMass Amherst after his freshman season. He finished his Quinnipiac career with 10 goals and 33 assists along with being a plus 9. His transfer to Quinnipiac likely saved his life after a physical discovered a heart defect which led to open heart surgery in the summer of 2013. He made the ECAC All-Academic Team four times and was a key member of the 2016 Quinnipiac team that reached the Frozen Four before falling to North Dakota in the National Championship game. He finished his collegiate career with 49 points (12 goals and 37 assists) in 137 games played between UMass and Quinnipiac. Congratulations to K.J. on signing his first professional contract.

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

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

ECAC Preview: #12 Brown Bears

In the month of September the BobcatsHockeyBlog will be counting down to the start of the 2017-18 ECAC season with a look at the upcoming year for each of the twelve programs. Today, we start with our projected last place finisher, the Brown Bears.

Brown Bears 2016-2017 Results:

Overall: 4-25-2

ECAC: 3-18-1 (12th)

ECAC Tournament: Lost to Quinnipiac 2-0 in ECAC First Round

NCAA Tournament: No

Team History
NCAA Tournament History: 1993, 1976, 1965, 1951
NCAA Frozen Fours: 1976, 1965, 1951

Departures: Andrew Doane (F), Davey Middleton (F), Zack Pryzbek (F) Tyler Wood (D), Aleksi Rossi (D), Tim Ernst (G)

Additions: Chris Berger (F), Colin Burston (F), Alec Mehr (F), Ben Taylor (F), Joachim Weberg (F), Tony Stillwell (D), Anea Ferrario (D), Luke Kania (G)

Since reaching the ECAC championship game at the end of the 2012-13 season it has been a downward trend for Brendan Whittet's program as the Bears won 11, 8, 5 and 4 games since winning 16 games in the '12-'13 campaign. The Bears 2016-17 season was the worst in Whittet's eight seasons in Providence and the programs worst since the year before Whittet took over as coach of the program.

The bad news is Bruno was one of the worst teams in the country scoring goals a season ago with just 66 the entire season. The good news is that 60 of the 66 goals are returning for the Bears which includes three key seniors in Charlie Corcoran, Sam Lafferty and Max Willman. Those three players combined for 39 goals and and 50 assists. They played on a line together at times last season and could be one of the better lines in the ECAC should they find themselves together again. A couple of freshman in forwards Chris Berger and Colin Burston should help contribute to boosting the offense but it likely won't be enough to make a huge difference in moving the Bears up in the ECAC standings.

The Bears were the second worst team in the country on defense giving up 4.26 goals per game. They will need to see some improvement from some of the returning players in order to avoid another poor season on the blue line. They added two freshman in USHL veterans Tony Stillwell and Anea Ferrario who have 229 games of experience in the league combined. Both of those players should be able to help improve a poor defense from a season ago. Gavin Nieto is expected to be the starter in net and while his stats don't look great from a season ago, a lot of it had to do with the players in front of him.

It's been 25 years since the Bears last NCAA appearance and over 40 years since they last appeared in a Frozen Four. Don't expect either for the Bears this season as the program looks to just improve upon its four wins from a season ago.

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