Monday, January 15, 2018

In the Pipeline: 1/15/2018

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

Matt Cassidy (photo by Ryan Kiedrowski)

BCHL Commits

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

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

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

AJHL Commits

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

USHL commits

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

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

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

Matt Fawcett (photo by Winchendon School)

Prep Schools/High Schools

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

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

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

NCDC commits

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

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

Midget Commits

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

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

You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Quinnipiac, Harvard skate to 2-2 tie

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

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

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

Quinnipiac at Harvard (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)

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

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

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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Scouting the Enemy: Harvard Crimson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Quinnipiac falls to Dartmouth in final 10 seconds

Quinnipiac at Dartmouth (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)

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

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

Quinnipiac at Dartmouth (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)

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

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

You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Scouting the Enemy: Dartmouth Big Green

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Q&A with Quinnipiac commit T.J. Friedmann

T.J. Friedmann, photo by Darren Stone, Times Colonist
The most recent Quinnipiac commit was T.J. Friedmann, a St. Louis, Missouri native currently playing for the Victoria Grizzlies in the BCHL. He committed to the Bobcats on December 29th and will be part of the 2019-2020 recruiting class giving him one more developmental season of junior hockey before coming to Hamden.  Listed at 6'2, 179 pounds, the 1998 born center that has a strong wrist shot and has good offensive skills. In 40 games played this season, Friedmann has 33 points (13 goals, 20 assists). The Bobcats Hockey Blog recently caught up with T.J. to discuss hockey and his commitment to Quinnipiac. Thanks to T.J. for the time he gave for this Q&A.

Jonathan Singer: First off congratulations. What are your thoughts and emotions like after making this decision?

T.J. Friedmann: I’m excited to be able to join a program like Quinnipiac. It feels good to finally know where I’ll be continuing my education and hockey career.

Jonathan Singer: When did you start playing hockey as a kid?

T.J. Friedmann: I learned to skate at 3-years-old and two years later I started playing the game.

Jonathan Singer: What are some of the reasons you got involved in the game?

T.J. Friedmann: When I was younger I would play ball hockey with my cousin at his house. Once I learned to skate, it was an easy transition into playing the game.

Jonathan Singer: It seems like the St. Louis area is starting to develop many high end prospects in recent years with the likes of Matt and Brady Tkachuk. Have some of the recent success of the St. Louis Blues contributed to that rise of the talent increase in the Missouri area?

T.J. Friedmann: I think so. The Blues organization has been doing a great job of giving back and helping with the development of kids through summer camps and the AAA Blues program. More and more kids are wanting to play hockey in the area now since they have such great role models to look up to.

Jonathan Singer: You played in the NAHL at a young age starting when you were 16. What did you learn from playing in that league at such a young age?

T.J. Friedmann: Playing in the NAHL at a young age helped me realize that my game and my body needed to mature if I wanted to have success at a high level of hockey. I started to see and recognize the work it takes to have success in juniors.

Jonathan Singer: After one season with Springfield you went back to major midgets to play for Victory Honda. What went into that decision to drop down a level?

T.J. Friedmann: I thought a year at midget major with coach Burke would be a great thing for my development. He’s done a great job with moving kids on and has a great track record with putting together competitive teams.

Jonathan Singer: Tell us about your overall recruiting experience. What factors went on deciding on Quinnipiac?

T.J. Friedmann: The recruiting process can be a little long, but Quinnipiac has always been a school I’ve been interested in. When they came to me with an offer I was very excited. When I toured the Quinnipiac campus, I quickly recognized the facilities were top notch, and the campus is the perfect size I was looking for.

Jonathan Singer: Tell us about some of your strengths as a player? After watching a few clips I can tell a strong wrist shot is one of them.

T.J. Friedmann: I think my biggest strength as a player would be that I am a strong two way center that can create offense but I also do a good job of staying responsible defensively.

Jonathan Singer: What are some of the areas of your game you want to improve upon for the rest of this season and next year in juniors before arriving at Quinnipiac?

T.J. Friedmann: I think I could get my first three steps a little quicker, overall making me a more explosive skater. Also, being 6’2, I think if I could put on a little more weight that would make me more of a threat on offense and help me knock guys off pucks defensively.

Jonathan Singer: Did the Quinnipiac coaching staff talk about what type of role they envision for you as a player?

T.J. Friedmann: I don’t know exactly where I’ll fit in on the depth chart, but I do know they want to keep me as a center when I come in.

Jonathan Singer: How has the coaching staff at Victoria helped mold you as a player the past two seasons?

T.J. Friedmann: The coaches here in Victoria do a great job developing kids into Division 1 and pro players. They utilize video for teaching points and we do a lot of drills to emulate game play in practice which in turn helps us prepare for many game situations.

Jonathan Singer: Is there any player you try to model your game after?

T.J. Friedmann: Being a center I try to model my game after Jonathan Toews. He’s a good two way center that can produce points and is a great leader.

Jonathan Singer: Tell us the type of person that the Quinnipiac University community is going to get in you?

T.J. Friedmann: I try to get involved with the community as much as possible to give back. Here in Victoria, we do a lot of visits to elementary schools to talk to kids about the importance of staying active, and I try to do as many of those as possible.

Jonathan Singer: What are some of the things you enjoy off the ice?

T.J. Friedmann: My favorite off ice activity would probably be hiking. Being from St. Louis, there’s not many places to do it, but up in Victoria that is something I like to do.

You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Monday, January 8, 2018

In the Pipeline: 1/8/2018

Quinnipiac returned to ECAC action over the weekend and earned a split of the Colgate/Cornell road swing. They beat Colgate Friday night 4-3 in overtime after blowing a two goal lead in the final minute and fell to Cornell 1-0 the following night. The Bobcats are now 8-11-2 (4-6-1 ECAC) on the season. At this point of the year, Quinnipiac would need to win the ECAC tournament in order to return to the ECAC tournament as they are not in position to get an at-large berth. With that said let's take a look at how some of the future Bobcats did over the past week.

Desi Burgart (photo by the Surrey Now-Leader)

BCHL Commits

One of the newest commits for Quinnipiac had a nice week. Desi Burgart of the Surrey Eagles had a 3 point week (2 goals, 1 assist) in three games played helping Surrey to 2 wins this past week. On the season Burgart has 34 points (16 goals, 18 assists) in 35 games played. He will be part of the 2018-2019 recruiting class.

Ethan de Jong had 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist) in 3 games played for the Prince George Spruce Kings. The North Vancouver, BC native has 40 points (13 goals, 27 assists) in 35 games played and won a gold medal for Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge. He is expected to accelerate to the 2018-2019 recruiting class a source tells the BobcatsHockeyBlog, as he was originally due to be part of the 2019-2020 recruiting class.

Michael Lombardi had 3 points this weekend for the West Kelowna Warriors in three games played with two of them wins. In 39 games played this season, Lombardi has 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists). However his production since coming to West Kelowna in a trade is more impressive with 19 points in 23 games played.

Quinnipiac's most recent commit T.J. Friedmann had 3 goals in 3 games played this weekend for the Victoria Grizzlies. The 1998 born center out of St. Louis, Missouri has 33 points (13 goals, 20 assists) in 40 games played. He is committed for the 2019-2020 season. We will have a Q&A with Friedmann coming out on Tuesday January 9th so stay tuned.

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

USHL commits

Wyatt Bongiovanni had one assist in Muskegon's 3-2 win over the Dubuque Fight Saints on Friday. He was scratched due to injury in Saturday's game. In 26 games played this season, Bongiovanni has 24 points (12 goals, 12 assists) with 3 power play goals, 1 shorthanded goal and 2 game winning goals.

William Fällström had one assist for the Fargo Force in 2 games played this weekend. The the Sweden native now has 20 points (6 goals, 14 assists) in 28 games played.

Dom Fensore picked up 2 assists for the U-17 team in USHL action in Saturday's game against Des Moines. In 13 USHL games played, Fensore has 4 assists. In other game action this season for the NTDP he has 18 assists.

Prep Schools/High Schools

Matt Fawcett of the Winchendon school is leading all of New England Prep in scoring with 26 points (10 goals, 16 assist). He is averaging 2.36 points per game. Earlier this season he spent time in the USHL with the Sioux City Musketeers.

John Campomenosi had 3 assists for Don Bosco Prep in an 8-1 win over the The Hun School. He is off to a good start this season with 11 points (2 goals, 9 assists).

NCDC commits

Gus Van Nes picked up 3 assists in 3 wins for the Jr. Bruins over the weekend. The Netherlands born power forward has 43 points (13 goals, 30 assists) in 33 games played on the season. He will be the second ever Dutch born forward to play for Quinnipiac.

AJHL Commits

Matt Cassidy had a goal and an assist in Saturday's game for the Brooks Bandits. In 32 games played this season, Cassidy has 27 points (11 goals, 16 assists) and is tied for 5th on the team in scoring.

Midget Commits

Jacob Quillan had a 4 point weekend (2 goals, 2 assists) for the Steele Subaru Major Midgets. The 2002 born forward has had a strong year with 37 points (13 goals, 24 assists) in 30 games played. He is part of a trio of Nova Scotia born commits following Peter Diliberatore (2000) and Ethan Phillips (2001) as a talented players from the Atlantic province.

Victor Czerneckianair picked up an assist over the weekend for the Selects Academy U-15 team. In 36 games played this season he has 48 points (21 goals, 27 assists).

Ethan Phillips and P.J. Fletcher each had a goal and an assist in the Selects Academy U-16 7-1 win over the New Jersey Hitmen in USPHL play.

You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Quinnipiac falls 1-0 to Cornell

Quinnipiac at Cornell (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)
A night after dramatic overtime win at Colgate, Quinnipiac was held off the scoreboard tonight against Cornell losing 1-0. While the Bobcats had their chances with multiple posts rung, scrums in front of the net, the lack of finishing ability was ever apparent in this game.

Quinnipiac had a lot of puck possession in this game and played well against the #4 Big Red but if you can't score goals you are not going to win games. The Bobcats once again out shot their opponent 28-20 but Cornell's defense did a good job all night limiting Quinnipiac's opportunities along with blocking 26 Bobcat shots on the night. Quinnipiac had won its past five meetings with Cornell at Lynah Rink and was 9-8-1 against the Big Red at Lynah prior to tonight's game. 

Cornell freshman Matt Galajda, who was solid in his previous game against Quinnipiac got a surprise start after senior Hayden Stewart who has assumed the starting job couldn't play due to injury. Galajda made 28 saves for his third shutout of the season to give Cornell it's first regular sweep of Quinnipiac since the 2011-2012 season.

Quinnipiac at Cornell (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)

The teams went scoreless in the first period and the lone goal wasn't scored until the 14:50 mark of the second period when Trevor Yates took a rebound off Quinnipiac goaltender Andrew Shortridge and fired it past him for his team leading 11th goal of the season. That was all Cornell would need as they improved to 13-2 on the season and 7-1 in the ECAC as Quinnipiac couldn't muster anything in the third period past Galajda.

Shortridge (19 saves) was solid again for Quinnipiac who fell to 8-11-2 on the season and 4-6-1 in ECAC play. They travel next weekend to Dartmouth and Harvard as they continue the January road trip.

You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Scouting the Enemy: Cornell Big Red

On the second leg of a trip to frigid update New York, Quinnipiac heads to #5 Cornell to face the Big Red. The Bobcats have a five game winning streak at Lynah Rink and hold a 9-8-1 all-time record at the Big Red's historic home rink. Earlier this season back in November, Cornell edged out Quinnipiac 2-1 on the Bobcats home rink. The Big Red are off to a strong start this season at 12-2 (6-1 ECAC) and have positioned themselves nicely for the NCAA tournament come March if they continue to play as well as they did in the first half of the season. They are also 8-1 this season at Lynah Rink with its only to ECAC leader Clarkson.

Cornell Key Players: Trevor Yates (F), Anthony Angello (F), Mitch Vanderlaan, Alex Rauter (F), Jeff Malott (F), Morgan Barron (F), Brendan Smith (D), Yanni Kaldis (D), Alec McCrea (D), Matthew Galajda (G)

Cornell has the 3rd best offense in the country at 3.86 goals per game which is also the tops in the ECAC. Trevor Yates is by far their most dangerous offensive player so far this season with 16 points including 10 goals with 4 of them coming by way of the power play along with 2 game winning goals. He is a player that Quinnipiac cannot let have his way against them. Three other plays are in double figures in points in Jeff Malott (14 points), Alex Rauter (12 points) and Morgan Barron (12 points). Other players of note that can hurt Quinnipiac are Anthony Angello (11 points) and Mitch Vanderlaan (7 points). Cornell also has a solid power play at 21% (14-of-67) which is 20th nationally. Both Yates and Alec McCrea lead the team with 4 power play goals apiece.

The Cornell defense is a major strength for Mike Schafer's team. They give up 1.79 goals allowed per game which is second nationally only behind Clarkson (1.35 goals allowed per game). Brendan Smith (plus 17) and Alec McCrea (plus 12) have been defensive cogs for the Big Red. Sophomore Yanni Kaldis has been his solid self and freshman Alex Green has 6 points and is a plus 7. They play very sound as a unit and don't make a ton of mistakes. The Big Red penalty kill is pretty solid at 80.7% (46-of-57) good for 32nd nationally and with the Quinnipiac power play not very good this area would favor Cornell in my opinion.

Freshman Matthew Galajda has gotten the bulk of the work load in the first half going 8-2 with a 2.10 goals against and a .910 save percentage. He was strong in his prior match-up with Quinnipiac making 28 saves in a 2-1 win in Hamden in early November. His backup, senior Hayden Stewart given Cornell some strong play and has started the past three games for the Big Red. He is 4-0 with a 1.01 goals against average and a .956 save percentage. With the way he has played in the last three games, it looking like he is the one who will face Quinnipiac.

This game will be a challenge for Quinnipiac as Cornell is one of the hottest teams in the country playing at home where they have been strong all season long. With the way both teams have played this year getting a single point tonight would be impressive but a win would be a major surprise and big for the confidence of the team in the second half.

You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Quinnipiac survives with 4-3 overtime win over Colgate

Quinnipiac at Colgate (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)

The Quinnipiac Bobcats blew a 3-1 lead in the final minute, but senior Bo Pieper scored 22 seconds into overtime to come away with a 4-3 win over the Colgate Raiders at Class of 1965 Arena on Friday night in Hamilton, New York. With the win, Quinnipiac improves to 8-10-2 (4-5-10 ECAC) and are tied for 5th in the ECAC standings with Colgate though the Raiders have three games in hand on Quinnipiac. 

The home team broke the ice first scoring 14:38 into the opening frame on a power play goal by Adam Duada in which Quinnipiac goaltender Andrew Shortridge (20 saves) was screened in front. The teams were more or less even in the first period and Quinnipiac's best chance was late when Landon Smith's back-handed attempt was stoned by Zac Hamilton who was filling in for Colton Point who won a gold medal with Team Canada at the World Junior Championships. 

Just 45 seconds into the second period Quinnipiac found the back of the net when Tanner MacMaster's fed a soft back-handed pass to Odeen Tufto who was racing into the slot where he buried his 4th goal of the season. A little under five minutes later sophomore Alex Whelan gave the Bobcats a lead on a re-direct from John Furgele's shot in which there was a load of traffic in front of Hamilton. Whelan struck again just under 3 minutes later when he sent a shot through traffic that found the back of the net for his team leading 9th goal of the season. 

Quinnipiac at Colgate (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)

In the third period with the Bobcats holding a two goal lead, the teams traded six penalties in the period though neither could team found the back of the net. Just when it looked like Quinnipiac had the game sealed in the final minute, Colgate's Nick Austin scored to trim the Bobcats to one with an extra attacker goal. With just 13 seconds left Colgate's Adam Duada's found a loose puck in front of Shortridge and quickly put it past him for his second goal of the game to tie the score at three. 22 seconds into overtime Brogan Rafferty shot was re-directed by Pieper past Hamilton giving Quinnipiac a much needed victory.

The Bobcats out shot Colgate 30-23 and both Alex Whelan (2 goals) and John Furgele (2 assists) had multi-point games. Quinnipiac returns to action on Saturday night when they travel to Ithaca, New York to face the Cornell Big Red who are fresh off a 7-1 win over Princeton. 

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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Scouting the Enemy: Colgate Raiders

Quinnipiac heads on the road again this time to upstate New York for the Colgate/Cornell swing starting with #17 Colgate on Friday night. The Bobcats are coming off a 3-0 win over UConn in Hartford on Tuesday night which was their first win since November 28th when they beat Princeton 6-2. Colgate is slumping a bit going 2-4 in their last six games after a 6-2-4 start. Complicating things for the Raiders will be the fact that their most important player, Colton Point, will not be available as he is playing for Canada in the 2018 World Junior Championships. Quinnipiac lost last time to Colgate, 4-1 back in early November which was the start of their downward spiral in the first half. With the way Colgate has played lately and no Colton Point this game would seem to favor Quinnipiac even if its on the road. 

Colgate Key Players: Bobby McMann (F), John Snodgrass (F), Adam Dauda (F), Jared Cockrell (F), Nick Austin (D), Willie Brooks (D), Colton Point (G) (with Team Canada)

Colgate has struggled a bit offensively this season to a tune of 2.44 goals per game (48th nationally). It's obvious the defense and Colton Point have covered up for the offense which has gotten this team to a solid start this year. Bobby McMann had a really good first half of the season with 17 points with John Snodgrass (11 points) being the next best scorer for the Raiders. Adam Dauda (10 points) and Jared Cockrell (9 points) also pace the Colgate offense. The power play has improved a bit since the last time these teams met but its still not very good at 13.7% (10-of-73) which is 52nd nationally. Quinnipiac has a much improved penalty kill at 84.2% (64-of-76) good for 14th nationally. The Bobcats did take too many penalties (7) against UConn on Tuesday so that will need to cleaned up before Friday's game.

The Colgate defense has been a strength this season yielding 2.28 goals per games (tied for 7th nationally with Northeastern). However without Colton Point behind them have given up 10 goals in two games played. That will happen again on Friday with Point in Buffalo for the World Juniors. in the game's that Colton Point has started yielding just 8 goals in 7 games. Willie Brooks and Nick Austin have played well on defense and they are getting great freshman play from Trevor Cosgrove (4 points, plus 7). The key is how this defense is going to fare without Colton Point protecting them at times. They have a solid penalty kill at 80.26% (61-of-76) good for 34th nationally. Quinnipiac's power play has been non existent this year so this should favor the Raiders in this category.

As we said earlier, Quinnipiac catches a huge break with Colton Point playing for Team Canada at the 2018 World Junior Championships. He was a strong in the November 4th, 4-1 win at Quinnipiac with 33 saves. With their most important player unavailable, the Raiders will have to turn to either seniors Bruce Racine or Zac Hamilton neither who have fared well in either of their one game played each this year against the University of New Hampshire when Colgate gave up 10 goals on the weekend.

This is a great opportunity for Quinnipiac to continue to build momentum from Tuesday's win over UConn and get some much needed ECAC points over a solid team. The Bobcats have played better on the road this season with four of their seven wins coming away from Hamden so a little road bonding might be good for this team as they try to flip the script in the second half of the season.

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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Quinnipiac opens second half with shutout of UConn

Quinnipiac at UConn (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)
The Quinnipiac Bobcats opened the second half of the season with a 3-0 win on Tuesday night against the University of Connecticut in a non conference match-up at the XL Center in Hartford. It was the first win for Quinnipiac since a 6-2 win on the road against Princeton on November 28, 2017. After closing out the first half of the season with back to back losses against Maine to finish at 6-10-2, Quinnipiac showed a renewed effort as they look to turn their season around with the calendar turning to 2018.

Quinnipiac got strong goal-tending in net from sophomore Andrew Shortridge who recorded his 4th shutout of the season."Starting out with a big win like that with a good battle at the start, it was huge boost for our confidence, said Shortridge after his 21 save performance. We can really use that as a momentum builder". 

The Bobcats got on the board just over six minutes into the opening frame when Alex Whelan cleaned up a rebound in front of UConn goaltender Adam Huska off a Kevin Duane shot from the half wall. It was the 7th goal of the season for Whelan putting him one goal behind team leader Tanner MacMaster who has 8.
Brogran Rafferty, center (photo copyright BobcatsHockeyBlog)
The teams went scoreless in the middle frame but Shortridge came up big with some saves late in the second period to preserve the lead. "The boys were great in front me tonight. The defenseman were great at retrieving pucks in front of me along with pushing a lot of the play to the outside. We had a lot of one and done opportunities which helped to control rebounds and the forwards blocked shots", said Shortridge.

Quinnipiac scored on another rebound six and half minutes into the third period when Bo Pieper found the puck come to his stick in the high slot and buried a one timer past Huska for the goal. The Bobcats sealed the win in the final minute on an empty net goal by Kevin McKernan. Quinnipiac out shot UConn 27-21 for the game and blocked 17 UConn shots. Quinnipiac showed some strong grit and hustle tonight and capitalized on rebound chances and had a solid fore-check.

"It was a good win but we didn't play our best game, said Rand Pecknold. We we were rusty in the first period. We battled and Shortridge was our best player tonight". Quinnipiac improves to 7-10-2 on the season and now will head to Colgate and Cornell this week as they head back into ECAC play. "We still have to clean some things up and get ready for our next game but I am happy to get the win", added Pecknold.

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Monday, January 1, 2018

In the Pipeline: 1/1/2018

We're back. After a week off due to the Christmas holiday, many junior, midget and prep programs have returned to action as the calendar has turned to 2018. It was a light week of action with not everyone back in full game action yet. Quinnipiac over the break also picked up three new commits in Jack Silich, Desi Burgart and T.J. Friedmann. The second half of the season opens for Quinnipiac tomorrow against the UConn Huskies at the XL Center followed by a pair of games this weekend against Colgate and Cornell.

Michael Lombardi (photo by Lorne White/KelownaNow

BCHL Commits

Michael Lombardi had a goal and an assist this weekend for the West Kelowna Warriors who dropped a pair of games against the Trail Smoke Eaters. In 36 games played this season, Lombardi has 24 points (11 goals, 13 assists). However his production since coming to West Kelowna in a trade is more impressive with 19 points in 23 games played.

USHL commits

Wyatt Bongiovanni had one assist in Muskegon's 6-3 win over the Chicago Steel on Sunday. In 25 games played this season, Bongiovanni has 23 points (12 goals, 11 assists) with 3 power play goals, 1 shorthanded goal and 2 game winning goals.

William Fällström potted a goal and an assist but his Fargo Force team lost all three games this weekend in USHL play. On the season, the Sweden native has 18 points (6 goals, 12 assists) in 26 games played.

Zach Metsa picked up one assist in three games played over the weekend for the Youngstown Phantoms as they lost all three games. The Phantoms defense struggled all weekend and Metsa finished a minus 6 for the weekend. In 25 games played this season he has 12 points (1 goal, 11 assists) and a minus 15 rating.

Justin Robbins picked up his second win of the season for the Chicago Steel with a 23 save effort in a 4-2 win over the Dubuque Fighting Saints. On the season Robbins is 2-3 with a 4.35 goals against average and a .866 save percentage.

Prep Schools

John Campomenosi has 8 points (2 goals, 6 assists) for the Don Bosco Prep (NJ) in 12 games played this season. The 2000 born defenseman will need some junior seasoning for the next couple of seasons before heading to Hamden.

AJHL Commits

Matt Cassidy had a one assist in 2 games played over the weekend. In 29 games played this season he has 25 points (10 goals, 15 assists). He has a game today against the Canmore Eagles.

Midget Commits

Jacob Quillan had a 2 assist game on Saturday for the Steele Subaru Major Midgets. On the season, Quillan leads the team in scoring with 33 points (11 goals, 22 assists) in 27 games played. He is expected to come to the United States next season to play prep hockey in the New England region.

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Scouting the Enemy: Connecticut Huskies

The second half of the 2017-2018 season begins with Quinnipiac in an unfamiliar position being four games under .500 with a 6-10-2 record after the first half of the season. Not much went right for Quinnipiac after a 3-1-1 start as the offense could not find any consistency with the team lacking a lot of scoring with their forwards. This has caused the defense to try to pick up some offensive slack causing defensive lapses which is putting more pressure of the goaltenders.  The Bobcats open the second half of the season with three games this week starting with the Connecticut Huskies on Tuesday night. UConn has won 5 of its last 7 games and has wins over Northeastern, Maine, UMass and Colgate this season. They come into this game with a record of 8-12-2

UConn Key Players: Maxim Letunov (F), Alexander Payusov (F), Jesse Schwartz (F), Karl El-Mir (F), Benjamin Freeman (F), Johnny Austin (D), Miles Gendron (D), Philip Nyberg (D), Joseph Masonius (D), Adam Huska (G)

UConn is a team that has also had some inconsistencies on offense. Offensively they are tied for 39th in the country with Minnesota in goals per game at 2.73. Eight times this season they have put four or more goals in during a game. The problem is the consistency just isn't there from game to game much like Quinnipiac. Maxim Letunov is by far the best player for the Connecticut Huskies. He exploded on the scene in 2015-16 with 40 points as a freshman and has 19 points in 22 games this season. Alexander Payusov has 9 goals (14 points) and Jesse Schwartz has 7 goals (11 points) as the two leading goal scorers for the Huskies. Senior defenseman Johnny Austin has 16 points as the teams second leading scorer. The Huskies power play is something to watch out for as they are 20th nationally at 21.05% (20-of-95). Staying disciplined is a must for Quinnipiac. UConn is also a better face-off team than Quinnipiac so it will be important for the Bobcats to win key face-offs especially in their own defensive zone.

Defensively UConn has been about average this season giving up 2.82 goals per game good for 26th nationally. There have been games where they have looked good giving up very few goals and other games where they have gotten their doors blown off. If the UConn defense of the past 8 games shows up then it could give a lot of problem for Quinnipiac. The Huskies have some talent back on the blue line including three NHL draft picks in Miles Gendron, Joseph Masonius and Phillip Nyberg. They have good veteran experience in captains David Drake and Derek Pratt along with fellow senior Johnny Austin. The size of the Huskies blue line is impressive with the majority of the players 6'2 or above. The penalty kill is solid at 80.22% (73-of-91) which good for 36th nationally.

Goaltender Adam Huska has been solid this season. The 2015 7th round pick of the New York Rangers has played in every game this season for Huskies. He has been very strong in the last 8 games giving up on 13 goals. The 6'3, 200 pound Slovakian born goaltender is a big, athletic and highly competitive goaltender who has represented his country in the World Junior Championships in 2015 and 2016. He will provide another tough challenge to a Quinnipiac offense that has not been able to score much this season.

This is a tough stretch of games for Quinnipiac with their next seven away from Hamden with tough road games against Colgate, Cornell and Harvard in this stretch. The stretch of games on the road will tell us a lot of where this team will go in the second half of the season and if we can expect a turnaround from its first half struggles.

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