Friday, May 10, 2019

Q&A with Quinnipiac commit Jeremy Smith

Jeremy Smith with Surrey prior to be named the captain

Quinnipiac made a late addition to its 2019-2020 recruiting class with commitment of 1998 born defencemen, Jeremy Smith, a Toronto native who played the past season for the Surrey Eagles and Trail Smoke Eaters in the BCHL. Smith joins a Quinnipiac defensive core that has to replace four departed defencemen which accounted for 96 points on the season. Smith was gracious enough to give to time to talk to the BobcatsHockeyBlog to discuss his commitment, his overall game and what he enjoys off the ice as well. Thanks to Jeremy and enjoy the Q&A.


BobcatsHockeyBlog: First off congratulations. What are your emotions like after making this decision to commit to Quinnipiac for this upcoming fall?

Jeremy Smith: Thank you very much. First and foremost, I’m extremely excited to have the opportunity to attend Quinnipiac. When I received the call from head coach Rand Pecknold with the offer, I couldn’t wait to inform my parents. Knowing how much they have supported me throughout my hockey career, none of this could have been possible without them. While I have worked extremely hard up to this point, the opportunity to play for one of the top schools in the nation has given me more motivation than ever. With that motivation, I am really looking forward to training this summer and getting prepared for the upcoming season.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Tell us about your overall recruiting process with Quinnipiac. When did they first reach out to you to show their interest in you?

Jeremy Smith: My first contact with Quinnipiac was fairly recently. A few weeks ago I was in contact with associate coach Joe Dumais. We spoke a few times and I ended up coming down on an official visit in the beginning of April. After seeing the university and touring the school and facilities, I quickly knew that Quinnipiac was the place where I wanted to be.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Were there any other Division I programs showing interest in you as a player and if so which ones ?

Jeremy Smith: Throughout the season I had been in contact with a couple. During the BCHL showcase at the beginning of the season I spoke with a small handful of schools and continued contact with them throughout the season, but as I said earlier, once I visited the Quinnipiac campus and went through the facilities I knew instantly that I wanted to be a Bobcat.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Tell us about your overall game as a player? From some highlights I’ve seen, you play a physical game with offensive ability as well.

Jeremy Smith: I think as a player I do pride myself on my offensive abilities. I think by watching a lot of what is happening in the National Hockey League today, it is important for defencemen to have the ability to get up in the play and support the forwards offensively. While I would say I am offensive minded, I believe it’s more important to identify the proper times to be offensive and have the ability to know when it is not the right time. I think it is also important for me to bring a certain type of physicality to my game. I know I’ve never been the tallest person on the ice, but I’ll never shy away from throwing my body around a little.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Tell us about some of the areas of your game you want to improve upon prior to the season starting next fall?

Jeremy Smith: I know going from juniors to college hockey is a big step. The game is much harder and faster, so I think it will be important to get in the gym and on the ice as much as possible to make sure I’m in the best condition to make the transition. I also think it’s important to be strong mentally and bring the same level of trust and confidence in myself. It will also be important for me to come in with an open mind. Coach Pecknold and the rest of the coaching staff are some of the brightest minds in hockey, so I want to come in, ask a lot of question and learn as much as possible, to make me the best player I can be will be very important as well.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: What type of role does the coaching staff envision for you as a player this season?

Jeremy Smith: Coming in as a 21 year old, I believe I have a certain level of maturity that will be useful on the back end to help some of the younger guys out. Coach explained that he gives opportunities to those who are deserving, so my goal is to come in and show everyone that I can be one of the pieces of the puzzle to help give the team the best chance each game.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: You started with some good midget programs in the Toronto Marlboros and Don Mills Flyers. What was that experience like with two of the better programs in the Ontario province?

Jeremy Smith: I was extremely lucky to have the opportunity to play with both organizations. Playing with the Marlboros and having Paul Coffey, a hall of fame defencemen, as a coach was amazing. In my minor midget year I left the Marlboros to play for the Don Mills Flyers and take on more of a leadership role.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: From there you went to the OJHL with a quick stint in the NAHL before heading to the BCHL. Tell us how that experience was moving between multiple leagues the last few years?

Jeremy Smith: Being from Toronto and starting in the OJHL, I was able to live at home and travel to and from games and practices, which was quite easy. After attending a USHL camp, I was drafted in the first round of the NAHL draft to Philadelphia. I thought it would be worth a try to live away from home and really get the junior hockey experience. After battling with a nagging injury and realizing Philadelphia wasn’t the right fit for me, I decided to finish my year back in the OJHL where I could live back at home and get the proper treatment to get back to being healthy. After the season ended, I was contacted by the head coach of the Trail Smoke Eaters and made my way out west to the BCHL for my last year of juniors. I finished my year with Surrey as the captain, and was able to experience life on the other side of the country. Throughout my junior career I met tons of amazing people and was able to truly get the full junior experience.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: It’s pretty rare to see a player traded mid season to become a team captain but that must speak to your leadership ability. What went into you being named the captain of Surrey late in the year?

Jeremy Smith: When I arrived in Surrey, we had a fairly young team, so I knew coming in I could really help out with the younger guys. Despite the teams record before I arrived, the team was full of extremely talented players. I got the feeling that some of them needed a little guidance. I just tried to stay positive everyday at practice, give advice on the bench, and just always be open and talk with the coaching staff on a daily basis. Despite the season not ending the way we wanted, I enjoyed every second of my time as a Surrey Eagle.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Is there a player in today’s game that you model your game after?

Jeremy Smith: Being from Toronto, I am a die hard Maple Leafs fan. I’ve always enjoyed watching Morgan Reilly play. His offensive ability, power play skill, and vision on the ice is something I really try to mirror on the ice.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Who to this point in your life, would say is your biggest influence to get you to this point of an NCAA Division I commitment?

Jeremy Smith: Without hesitation my dad. If there was ever a time I needed advice or guidance, he was always the first person I’d ask. He is one of the hardest working people in my life, and I try to learn from him as much as I can.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Do you plan to come to Quinnipiac early to work with the strength and conditioning coach and get around the team to acclimate yourself to the environment?

Jeremy Smith: It is something that coach Pecknold brought up during my official visit. Currently, I’m scheduled to attend the Bio Steel summer training program in Toronto, but after speaking with my trainer, we both agreed that coming to Quinnipiac early would be very beneficial and something that I would really like to do. I’m just figuring out which dates would work best.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Tell us what type of person that the Quinnipiac community will get in Jeremy Smith on and off the ice?

Jeremy Smith: On the ice you will get someone who is looking to work hard day in and day out to become the best player I can. I’m very eager to meet everyone on the team and work together to continue the tradition of being one of the top hockey programs in the country. Off the ice you will get someone who is looking to branch out and meet new people on and off the team and someone who will be a positive influence in the classroom and the community.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: What does Jeremy Smith like to do when he is not playing hockey?

Jeremy Smith: I really enjoy being outdoors. About two hours north of Toronto my family has a cottage where I’m always wake-boarding and water-skiing. I also enjoy getting involved in the community and meeting new people.


You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Six Quinnipiac commits selected in two day USHL Draft


Six Quinnipiac men's ice hockey commits were selected over two days in the USHL Phase I and II draft. Day one featured the 2003 born players which saw three Quinnipiac commits selected.

Off the board first was Connecticut native Matthew McGroarty of the Brunswick School who was selected in the third round, 32nd overall by the Madison Capitols. McGroarty is expected to return to the Brunswick School for his junior season before possibly making the trek to the junior ranks the following season. 

Jack Silich was another Bobcat commit selected in the third round, 41st overall by the Youngstown Phantoms. Silich played this past season for the Chicago Mission program putting up over 100 points on the season. He was also a 6th round OHL Draft pick of the Flint Firebirds but from sources he plans to stick with the college route. Its unknown what his plans are for next season but its possible he will go to the Youngstown camp to try to make the team. 

In the fourth round saw Jonah Copre a teammate of Silich with Chicago taken by the Waterloo Black Hawks with the 59th pick overall. A recent convert to defense, Copre is expected to spend another season with the Chicago Mission. 

Day two saw Christophe Fillion selected by the Lincoln Stars in the third round with the 40th overall pick. He currently is with the Wenatchee Wild with fellow Bobcat commits Cristophe Tellier and PJ Fletcher but Fillion has been tied with Tellier back to their days in Quebec and to the Iowa Wild AAA program. I think Fillion will remain with a quality Wenatchee program to finish his last year of development.

One surprise saw 2003 born defencemen Oscar Plandowski taken in the Phase II portion of draft in the 10th round, 141st overall by the Green Bay Gamblers. He is someone I expected to be drafted on the first day of the draft not halfway through the second day. Plandowski should be returning to the South Kent Selects U-16 program. However I do expect him to be taken in the upcoming QMJHL draft and the hope is he is not a flight risk due to his second day draft status in the USHL.

Artyom Borshyov was selected in the 15th round with the 224 overall pick by the Youngstown Phantoms. Borshyov played ten games this past season for Tri-City before returning to the Northern Cyclones of the NCDC. He is someone I would expect to try to make the Phantoms roster out of training camp much like he did with Tri-City a year ago.

Current Quinnipiac Bobcat Matthew Cassidy was taken in the 17th round, pick 254 by the Youngstown Phantoms which signals he will not be returning to the program in the fall. The Medford, New Jersey native saw action in 15 games with no points and 10 penalty minutes. Best of luck in the future to Matt. 

You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Q&A with Quinnipiac commit Jonah Copre

Jonah Copre

Recently Quinnipiac dipped back into the midget level pool for a commit when it landed 2003 born defensemen Jonah Copre of the Chicago Mission. A fellow teammate of current Quinnipiac commit Jack Silich, Copre is fairly new to playing the position of defense. The BobcatsHockeyBlog recently caught up with Jonah to discuss his recruitment with Quinnipiac, his development as a player and life off the ice as well. Thanks to Jonah for taking the time out of his schedule for this Q&A.


BobcatsHockeyBlog: First off congratulations. What are your emotions like after knowing that you have committed to playing NCAA Hockey at Quinnipiac University?

Jonah Copre: Thank you! It’s obviously very exciting and good to know that my hard work for the past eight years or so has paid off. I’m extremely happy for myself and I am thankful to coach Riga for giving me the offer. I’m also thankful to my parents knowing their sacrifices have led to this point! The verbal commitment also gives me even more motivation to keep working hard in order to uphold my commitment and hopefully sign a National Letter of Intent. It's definitely humbling that I have received a commitment to one of the best hockey schools in the entire country and also an unbelievable school in terms of academics.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Tell us about your overall recruiting process with Quinnipiac?

Jonah Copre: It happened all so quickly during nationals this year. A side note was that I hadn’t spoken to Quinnipiac during the season, until nationals. I was introduced to coach Riga by another Quinnipiac commit, Jack Silich, after the first game of nationals, and then I spoke to him and he had mentioned he’d been interested in my game. After our third game, coach talked to me and my parents for a while, and then I got the offer from Quinnipiac. The whole process occurred very quickly but it was very exciting nonetheless.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Was there any other Division I interest in you from other schools and if so which ones ?

Jonah Copre: The only other school that I had been in official contact with was the University of New Hampshire, and I had visited that campus in early February.  My coaches had mentioned that there were three other Division I schools that had shown interest in me, but didn’t mention the names of them.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: What separated Quinnipiac from the University of New Hampshire and what was the ultimate reason you committed to Quinnipiac over them?

Jonah Copre: Just the opportunity to play for one of the top hockey schools in the nation that has some of the best facilities, coaches, and trainers in Division I hockey is what made me want to commit to Quinnipiac.  The academics was another big reason.  While UNH is a great school nonetheless, the chance to play for a Top 10 school at Quinnipiac was undeniable.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: How much did having Jack Silich committed to Quinnipiac make it easier for you to also commit to the program as well knowing that someone that you are playing with currently is also committed there?

Jonah Copre: Having Jack committed there did play a part in my commitment to Quinnipiac, and knowing that he and I have a possibility to play together in the future is great.  But mainly the school itself and the hockey program is what drove me to verbally commit to Quinnipiac.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: I’ve read that you recently converted to defense in the last year or so. Tell us about how that transition took place and what was one of the main reasons for moving back on the blue line?

Jonah Copre: My transition to defense happened later in the season of last year. My coach put me back on defense after I returned from an injury. We had an uneven amount of forwards and only had 5 defensemen, so my coach chose me to play on defense.  He said he moved me to defense because of my skating ability and vision, and at first I was reluctant and didn’t know what to think of it, but now I know it was the best thing for me.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Tell us about your overall game as a player. What are some of your strengths?

Jonah Copre: I think of myself as a modern, smooth skating, puck moving defenseman.  I’m able to quarterback a power play and I think my vision is a big strength of mine. Two other areas that are a large part of my game are edge-work and speed. Also having an active stick and quick footwork on defense helps me defend.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Tell us some of the areas of your game that you consider a weakness and that you want to improve upon?

Jonah Copre: Well being a smaller defenseman, I want to work on getting stronger and being more physical. I also need to learn the position even better which is something I want to do along with having better gap control and working on getting in lanes to block shots and passes.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: What are your plans for the 2019-2020 in terms of development? Are you planning on continuing at the midget level with Chicago Mission or are their plans for you to go the junior route?

Jonah Copre: I think staying at the Mission is what I plan to do for the upcoming season especially since we’re going to have a team that will be able to contend for a national championship.  I believe that I can contribute a lot and help lead the team to success.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: The NCAA on April 19th approved legislation to halt the commitments of younger players that will take effect May 1st. Obviously this doesn’t affect you as you will be grandfathered in but do you see this as a positive development as now young players can avoid all the recruiting distractions at a young age and just focus on hockey development. Personally I believe the young recruiting was getting out of hand.

Jonah Copre: I think I see the new rule as something that will have positive effect on the game. Kids won’t be so worried about rushing to commitments and then that benefits the teams they play for, since the players can now focus on the team even more.  Yes it’s great that so many players care about achieving commitments, but they’re also kids and shouldn’t be stressed about being the first to commit.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Who would you say had been your biggest influence in your life that has helped you achieve a Division I commitment?

Jonah Copre: I would have to say my parents have had the biggest influence in my life, because they’ve helped me through everything in life.  They’ve kept me humble but also have helped me believe in myself, and without them I don’t think I’d be where I am now.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Is their a player in the game today that you model your game after?

Jonah Copre: I don’t think there’s a single individual player that I model my game after, but I like to say that I skate similar to Matt Barzal and have the vision of Erik Karlsson.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: What type of person is the Quinnipiac community getting with you on and off the ice?

Jonah Copre: On the ice, I think I’m a leader by example and sometimes vocally, and I push myself and my teammates in practice to be intense. Off the ice I like to think of myself as an articulate and intelligent student of both hockey and academics. My work ethic is something I take pride in as well.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: What does Jonah Copre like to do when you are not playing hockey?

Jonah Copre: I like watching hockey along with playing a lot of tennis and some golf as well. I like  hanging with both school friends and hockey teammates.  I work out and run often during the week.


You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Jeremy Smith commits to Quinnipiac for 2019-2020 season

Jeremy Smith (photo by Surrey Eagles)

Quinnipiac picked up what is expected to be the final piece of the 2019-2020 recruiting class on Saturday night when Surrey Eagles captain Jeremy Smith committed to Quinnipiac. A native of Toronto, Smith is a 1998 born right shot defensemen who played the past season in the British Columbia Hockey League between both the Trail Smoke Eaters and the Surrey Eagles. Listed at 5'9, 187 pounds, Smith will turn 21 in July and give the Bobcats a mature blue liner in terms of age.

In 48 games played between Trail and Surrey he had 30 points on 13 goals and 17 assists. His 13 goals was fourth in the BCHL among defensemen and good for second on Surrey. He brings offensive ability and physical play to the table along with leadership as he was named the Surrey captain later in the season.

He played the prior two seasons with the Toronto Jr. Canadiens in the OJHL in which had 50 points in 75 regular season games. He added 12 points in another 17 playoff games over two seasons with Toronto. Congratulations to Jeremy and welcome to Quinnipiac.


Links

EliteProspects Player Page
Surrey Highlights


You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

StickTalk Podcast: Previewing the Frozen Four


With the Frozen Four set to kick off tomorrow in Buffalo, the college hockey season is coming to a pinnacle this weekend. UMass, Denver, Minnesota Duluth and Providence will battle it out for the National Championship. This week, I joined Mike Flanagan once again on the StickTalk podcast to discuss the end of the Quinnipiac season, along with recapping the regionals and previewing the Frozen Four with our picks for the semifinals and the winner of the National Championship. Have a listen prior to the games kicking off tomorrow.


StickTalk Podcast Episode 8


You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Jonah Copre commits to Quinnipiac

Jonah Copre with the Chicago Mission

Quinnipiac headed back to one of the elite programs in the Midwest to pick up its most recent commit. 2003 born defensemen Jonah Copre of the Chicago Mission U-15 team verbally committed to the Bobcats on Monday. He is the second '03 born Mission player to commit to Quinnipiac following to prior commitment of Jack Silich back in December of 2017. Its another great indication that the Quinnipiac staff will go recruit prospects this young in the Midwest where teams such as Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin tend to dominate.

I’m proud and honored to announce my commitment to play Division 1 hockey and further my education at Quinnipiac University. I’d like to thank my family, coaches and trainers, the Chicago Mission hockey club, and teammates for helping me get to this point.

Jonah Copre to Q. Prototypical, athletic puck mover. Undersized but unafraid. Swarms to defend. Can fly. First step to escape pressure, supports the puck. Great vision w/stick skills carry & to get passes through. Great on the PP. A-/B+ at U15 Nationals.

Copre, native a of Elgin, IL is a 5'5, 143 pound right shot defensemen. In 20 High Performance Hockey League games he had 23 points on 4 goals and 19 assists. His full season statistics are not known at this time. This is his third season with the Mission program after having been with Team Illinois in the 2014-2015 season. His commitment is either for the 2021-2022 season or 2022-2023 depending on development.


Links

EliteProspects Player Page
HPHL Statistics


You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Q&A with Quinnipiac commit Matthew McGroarty

Matthew McGroarty, left playing for the Brunswick School (photo by John McGreary, Hearst CT Media)


Quinnipiac may have ended its season on the ice in tough fashion losing 3-1 to the defending national champion Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs in the Midwest Regional Final. While the season is over for the players that doesn't mean the coaches are done either as they are making preparations for next season along with plans of what individual players need to improve upon along with filling out next years roster with new players coming in. Here at the blog we are the same way. If news breaks we will report it, if we have blog articles to put out we put them out. Two weeks ago Quinnipiac picked up a local player with the news that Westport, Connecticut native Matthew McGroarty committed to the Bobcats. I had a chance to do a Q&A with Matthew to talk all things hockey with him. Thanks to Matthew for taking the time for this question and answer piece.


BobcatsHockeyBlog: First off Matthew, Congratulations. What you are your thoughts and emotions like after making this decision to commit to Quinnipiac?

Matthew McGroarty: Thank you very much. Honestly I was shocked. I didn’t know what to say and almost started crying on the phone with coach Rand Pecknold. But as of now, I am committed to a dream school of mine. But I need to focus on getting bigger, faster, and stronger so I can be ready to play at the collegiate level as soon as I can.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Tell us about your overall recruiting process. When did Quinnipiac first reach out to you, to show their interest in you joining the program in the future?

Matthew McGroarty: They first showed interest when I played in their recruiting camp in the summer and they showed a bit of interest from there. Then I visited the amazing campus a few weeks later and then they gave me the call three weeks ago with an offer.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: What other programs showed interest in you as a player? A source told me that some Hockey East teams were in on you.

Matthew McGroarty: There were other programs that did show interest in me such as Boston College, Union and Colgate but I obviously liked Quinnipiac the most.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Was playing close to a home a factor in your decision to commit to Quinnipiac?

Matthew McGroarty: Yes for sure. My family is a huge part of my life and it is extremely important to me, so I loved the fact that they could easily drive the 30-40 minutes to see me play because really, I couldn’t have done this without them.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: You were coached by an NHL Hall of Fame player in Marty St. Louis with the Mid-Fairfield midget program. What did you learn from him that has made you the player you are right now with a Division I commitment?

Matthew McGroarty: He’s the best coach I’ve ever had by far. If I didn’t have him as a coach, I don’t think I’d be committed to a Division I school. He has taught me almost everything I know about hockey to this point. A few things that he’s taught me are that hard work always beats talent and that nothing comes easily, not just in hockey, but in life, so in order to achieve your goals, you need to give 110% all of the time.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: You currently play prep hockey at the Brunswick School. How has your time gone there as a player?

Matthew McGroarty: I’ve been at Brunswick for the last two seasons. The first season myself, Paul Davey (Boston College), and Ryan St. Louis (Northeastern) were just freshman so we didn’t get that much playing time. But this past season, I played a lot more comfortable with the pace and skill of the prep school level games. I also played on the first power play with those guys and players like Charles Shaffer and Cooper Moore really helped me grow my offensive game.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: What are your goals the next two seasons at the Brunswick School?

Matthew McGroarty: One of my goals, as I said before, is to get much bigger, faster, and stronger as well as develop my game in all aspects so I can be ready for my time at Quinnipiac. But on top of that, I’m really focusing on increaseing my production rates because as a true junior next year, I need to produce a lot more points.

BobcatsHockeyBlog:  Tell us about your overall game as a player. What are some of your strengths?

Matthew McGroarty: One of my main strengths, as a center, is my defensive ability. But also I think I play with high pace and that I’m strong on the puck. I rarely use anything flashy, but I like to take the puck hard to the net and score dirty goals. So as a player, I want my coach to trust me at all times and areas of the game.

BobcatsHockeyBlog:  Outside of getting bigger, stronger and faster what are some areas of your game you want to improve upon?

Matthew McGroarty: I want to improve the scoring and play making ability part of my game which will hopefully in turn, increase my point production as a player.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Is it your plan to play through your senior year at Brunswick or do you think you may head to the junior route prior to graduating?

Matthew McGroarty: That is something I have been discussing with my adviser and my parents a lot of recently. As of now I don’t have an answer to that, but depending on how the Brunswick season goes next year, then a decision will be made for my senior year.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Has the Quinnipiac coaching staff projected when you would arrive? I have you projected for 2022-2023 with you playing possibly two more years at Brunswick and a season of juniors.

Matthew McGroarty: That sounds like the right number of years. They said depending on the decision with Brunswick, they want me to play a year of juniors and see how that goes.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Is there a player that you try to model your game after?

Matthew McGroarty: I definitely try to play like Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins, not only does he light it up with a ton of points every year, he’s heavily relied on defensively for the Bruins. So I definitely try to play like him.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: To this point in your life who has been your biggest influence to get to this point?

Matthew McGroarty: I think my biggest influence would be either my father or Marty St. Louis because they both taught me things about not only hockey, but about life as well and I couldn’t thank them enough for that.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: What should the Quinnipiac community expect from you as a person on and off the ice?

Matthew McGroarty: I think on the ice Quinnipiac should expect a leader, someone who cares more about his teammates than himself, and someone who wants to push everyone to the best of their ability. Off the ice I think the Quinnipiac community should expect someone who’s a nice, caring person, that is always around to help out.

BobcatsHockeyBlog:  What do you like to do when you are not on the ice playing hockey?

Matthew McGroarty: I really like to hang out with my friends. I’m a pretty social guy so being with my friends is always a lot of fun.


You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Brogan Rafferty signs with Vancouver Canucks

Brogan Rafferty signed with the Vancouver Canucks

One day after its season came to an end in the Midwest Regional Final at the hands of the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs, the underclassmen exodus has begun in Hamden. Junior defensemen Brogan Rafferty signed a one-year entry level contract with the Vancouver Canucks per a press release by the organization.

Rafferty leaves Quinnipiac after posting a 24 point season on four goals and 20 assists in 38 games which was seventh best on the team in scoring. He assisted on Craig Martin's goal in the Midwest Regional Final loss to UMD. In 116 games played for the Bobcats, Rafferty finishes his career in Hamden with 65 points on 10 goals and 55 assists.

Congrats to Brogran on this great accomplish and best of luck with the Canucks organization. Stay with the BobcatsHockeyBlog for all news of potential underclassmen signings.


You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Thoughts and observations from Quinnipiac's 3-1 season ending loss to Minnesota Duluth in the Midwest Regional Final

Quinnipiac fell 3-1 to Minnesota Duluth in the Midwest Regional Final

Another season of Quinnipiac hockey has come to an end and despite coming up one game short of the Frozen Four, this was a magical season that began with little expectations of reaching of regional final. Quinnipiac fell to the defending national champion Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs 3-1 on Sunday night in Allentown, PA to finish the season 26-10-2 while Minnesota Duluth will head to its third straight Frozen Four in Buffalo. Here are my thoughts and observations from the game.

- It was a tough way to see the season end but in reality the better team won this game. Minnesota Duluth is the defending champions for a reason as they play the game the right way. Duluth played the game on their terms right from the get go. It was apparent in the first period this was going to be a major grind for Quinnipiac. The Bobcats are at their best when they are playing from ahead and even though there was no score in the first period along with no score most of the second period, it seemed like they were chasing them all game despite the scored being tied. Duluth loves to slow the game down and play at a methodical pace and they smothered Quinnipiac into submission. They have some high end defensemen that retrieve pucks, move pucks quickly out of the zone and out muscle opponents in the neutral zone. They rarely gave Quinnipiac any time and space and without that the Bobcats couldn't get anything going.

- Quinnipiac played better in the third period and had some nice looks but just couldn't finish their chances especially with some open nets. They didn't really challenge Hunter Shepard much in this game but much of that was due in part to the Duluth defense which is outstanding. Scott Perunovich, Dylan Samberg and Mikey Anderson are all really sound and skilled players. All three of them should be in the NHL within the next couple of years.

- I'm really impressed with the way Duluth plays their game as I don't get to watch this team very often here in the east but they are as good as any team I have seen in the past couple of years. They are well coached behind the bench with Scott Sandelin running the show. He's the best coach remaining in the NCAA tournament in my opinion and Duluth should be favored to win the title in Buffalo.

- This team doesn't have anything to be ashamed about. They won 26 games, reached the Midwest Regional Final, won a share of the Cleary Cup all while being picked 8th in the ECAC preseason polls and having 13 freshman on the roster. It was an outstanding season and one not many people saw coming from outside that locker room. These players restored the Quinnipiac culture and they should be proud of that regardless of the loss to Minnesota Duluth. I think this may be my third favorite season behind the 2015-2016 season and 2012-2013 season.

- One thing that I hope that comes of this loss are possible future games against Duluth. I hope that Rand Pecknold and Scott Sandelin at least discussed that possibility after last nights game. Adding a power house team like Duluth to a future schedule would be a coup for Quinnipiac as you want to be able to consistently play against the best teams in the country and frankly most of the best teams arise in the NCHC having won the last three national championships.

- I tweeted this last night and I will say it again. I think that if Brandon Fortunato does not go down with a season ending injury that Quinnipiac would have reached the Frozen Four. He was that important this team and you saw that the teams fortunes changed with that injury. Prior to the injury Quinnipiac was 20-5-1 and a possible #1 seed in the NCAA tournament. After his injury they went 6-5-1 and ended up in the same region as the defending national champions. The power play also suffered as when he was healthy it was over 28% and without him that dropped to just over 17%. Quinnipiac probably would not have had to face Minnesota Duluth in a regional had Fortunato not gotten hurt and we probably would be making plans for Buffalo right now but that is sports and injuries happen. There was just no possible way they were going to replace a player of Fortunato's caliber that late in the season.

- Not only did the injury to Fortunato hurt to the team I think it affected Chase Priskie's play as well. I don't think anything less of Priskie, but when Fortunato went down he really had to assume more defensive responsibility and his offensive game suffered as a result. In the ten games he played since Fortunato went down, he had six points on three goals and three assists but six of his last eight games he was held off the score sheet. Without Fortunato, teams could likely key more on Priskie in order to limit the Bobcats offensive game. Priskie will go down as one of the best players ever to play at Quinnipiac and he should have a really solid professional career.

- Craig Martin's power play goal was the teams first since February 22nd in a 7-2 win against St. Lawrence. However it came with an extra attacker as Rand Pecknold pulled the goaltender to give Quinnipiac a 6 on 4 advantage. It just shows you how difficult of a time they had on the power play once Fortunato went down.

- It was a tough ending to the season for the Quinnipiac top line of Odeen Tufto, Wyatt Bongiovanni and Ethan de Jong as they were held scoreless in their last four games. Last night they struggled to fight through traffic against a strong Minnesota Duluth fore check but we have to remember two of these players are freshman and there are going to be struggles. Unfortunately for Quinnipiac, it happened at the wrong time late in the season. They will learn from this experience and will get better as a result of it.

- Andrew Shortridge was really good last night and kept Quinnipiac within striking distance in this game. He made 23 saves on the night and made some really nice saves. The first goal he almost got to while the second one came on an odd man rush that I wouldn't fault him on. Usually odd man rushes lead to goal unless the offensive team screws it up. In that instance Minnesota Duluth didn't screw it up. Shortridge had an outstanding year for this team and was one of the big reasons they won 26 games this year. He's one of the best goalies to put on a Quinnipiac jersey following Eric Hartzell and Michael Garteig. If this was his last game in a Quinnipiac uniform he did everything he could to try to lead the Bobcats to victory. It just wasn't in the cards.

- The foundation for future success has been laid. Now they just need to add some more talent around that foundation in order for this team to take the next step to get back to the Frozen Four. However we need to see which players return as Andrew Shortridge, Brogan Rafferty and Karlis Cukste all could depart for professional contracts. If all return then Quinnipiac should be in good shape though it two or all of them leave then the back end of the Bobcats will have been pretty much gutted.


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Sunday, March 31, 2019

Thoughts and observations from Quinnipiac's 2-1 Regional Semifinal win over Arizona State

Quinnipiac beat Arizona State 2-1 in the Midwest Region Semifinal

Quinnipiac returned to the NCAA tournament for the first time since losing the 2016 National Championship game to North Dakota. After not playing in two weeks due to a stunning quarterfinal loss, Quinnipiac got back on the ice against a team that had not played in almost a month when they met independent Arizona State. The Sun Devils in just their fourth season of Division I play and their third with a full Division I schedule gave Quinnipiac all it could handle down the stretch as the Bobcats hung on to defeat the Sun Devils 2-1 in the Midwest Regional Semifinals. Here are my thoughts and observations from the win over Arizona State.

- Quinnipiac advances to its third regional final in program history as it survived tournament newcomer Arizona State 2-1 on Saturday night in Allentown, PA. Despite Quinnipiac dominating Arizona State on shots 38-21, this game was much closer and was a total nail biter at the end. The Bobcats had to hang on for dear life and they caught a break late when Jarrod Gourley was given a major penalty from a hit from behind on Nick Jermain. This was a critical play as the Sun Devils were swarming up to that point and for the Bobcats to finish the game on the man advantage was huge as it bought them some time to milk the clock a bit until Arizona State had to pull goaltender Joey Daccord.

- This was not a great effort from Quinnipiac at times outside of the second period. They got a gift first goal by Joe O'Connor when Joey Daccord was slow to react and the puck went five hole in between his legs. That is one that Daccord should have had and he will probably have trouble sleeping tonight as that goal was a difference maker in this one goal game. Daccord saved Arizona State in the second period when Quinnipiac out shot them 18-2 and while Quinnipiac got a single goal from William Fallstrom they could have really blown the doors open if it wasn't for Daccord. The third period was survival mode especially at the 11:42 mark when Brinson Pasichnuk got the Sun Devils within a goal. Arizona State really outplayed the Bobcats from that point on until the major penalty broke up the momentum. Had there been no major penalty, I could have seen Arizona State tying this game up as they were playing that well.

- Quinnipiac did a really good job holding one of the best scorers in the country in Johnny Walker to just one shot. They bottled him up and frustrated him all night and did a good back checking on him. Keeping him off the score sheet was a big reason why Quinnipiac is moving on as he is extremely dangerous every time he touches the puck.

- Outside of Joey Daccord, Arizona State defensemen Brinson Pasichnuk was the best player on the ice for the Sun Devils. He scored the first ever goal for the Sun Devils in the tournament and led them with six shots on goal. He was swarming in the third period as a he played some big minutes down the stretch as the Sun Devils shortened their bench in crunch time.

- It was the third straight game for the Quinnipiac top line being held scoreless. Tufto, Bongiovanni and de Jong were held to just eight shots in the game against the Sun Devils. Against Minnesota Duluth, that line is going to need to show up if they want to reach of the Frozen Four in Buffalo as this line has accounted for 25% of the Bobcats offense this season. Tufto despite not getting on the stat sheet did a really good job tonight of winning 14 of 22 face offs including some critical ones late.

- The Quinnipiac power play was 0 for 3 tonight and even the return of Chase Priskie didn't help it improve. The passing was poor and they got very few quality looks against the Sun Devils. This is a unit that has clearly struggled since the loss of Fortunato as the power play percentage is down over 10% since his loss. They need to figure out a way to get better looks especially against Minnesota Duluth tomorrow.

- Speaking of Priskie, that was a quiet night for him with only one shot on goal. The captain had not played in 28 days since he was ejected in the Yale game and was suspended for the Brown series. Let's hope it was just a little rust he had to clear off and he will have a big effort in leading Quinnipiac to a possible Frozen Four trip.

- Andrew Shortridge was good again tonight for Quinnipiac with 20 saves as he did what he needed to do against a pesky Arizona State team. He caught a huge break in the third period when the officials blew dead a play in which the puck was clearly loose in the crease. The play was reviewed to see if it possibly went across the goal line but it was clear it never crossed the line. It gave Quinnipiac a bit of a breather which they desperately needed.

- I love when players like Joe O'Connor score goals. The third line winger hasn't scored a goal in over four months since November 23rd but he scored one of the biggest goals of the season tonight. This was only his third goal of the season O'Connor scoring just 3:54 into the game gave Quinnipiac the momentum it needed especially after the struggles of the Brown series.

- Arizona State will be back in the NCAA tournament again in the near future. Greg Powers has done an unbelievable job elevating this program to a national contender in just four short years. Once they get a permanent rink and a possible conference, the sky is the limit with them. I hope that other PAC-12 schools were watching this and say to themselves that this could be them in a few years.

- If Quinnipiac wants to advance to the Frozen Four in Buffalo they will have to play much better against Minnesota Duluth than they did on Saturday night along with having better skating legs late as I thought they really struggled to get the puck out of their own end in the third period. The Bulldogs are a totally different animal than the Sun Devils. They are the defending national champions and have been the Frozen Four the past two seasons and are the NCHC tournament champions. The Bulldogs needed a late goal to tie Bowling Green before dispatching the Falcons in overtime to advance to the Midwest Regional Final. The Bulldogs are loaded on the back end and have a top level goaltender in Hunter Shepard. They have one of the best coaches in Scott Sandelin as well. This will be the Bobcats first matchup ever with Minnesota Duluth and it won't be easy to knock out the defending champions. This is probably the toughest team Quinnipiac will have ever faced in a regional final.

- Despite what happens tomorrow night, win or lose this season has been one of the most enjoyable to watch. Picked to finish 8th in the ECAC, this team has 26 wins and is on the door step of another Frozen Four appearance. I don't think anyone expected this team to reach a regional final with the amount of freshman they are playing every night. The future is bright in Hamden.


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Thursday, March 28, 2019

NCAA Hockey Midwest Regional Preview

The PPL Center in Allentown, PA is the site of the NCAA Midwest Regional

The NCAA begins this weekend starting Friday but Quinnipiac will not kick off until Saturday in the Midwest Regional in Allentown, Pennsylvania where they will take on upstart Arizona State in the first round in the second game of the day following the Minnesota Duluth and Bowling Green game. While Quinnipiac did not play Arizona State this season, they have the past three years so they are familiar with the system and style of play the Sun Devils will throw at them. To me this is an ideal opening round match up for Quinnipiac against a team lacking tournament experience that has not played in almost a month coming east. Here is the preview of the Midwest Regional.

#2 Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs

2018-2019 Record: 25-11-2 (14-9-1 NCHC)
How they got here: NCHC Tournament Champions
NCAA Tournament Appearances: (13) 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2012, 2011, 2009, 2004, 1993, 1985, 1984, 1983
NCAA Frozen Four Appearances: (6) 2018, 2017, 2011, 2004, 1985, 1984
NCAA National Championships: (2) 2018, 2011

3.18 Goals scored per game (11th nationally)
2.00 Goals allowed per game (Tied 6th nationally)
23% Power Play (10th nationally)
86% Penalty Kill (12th nationally)

Key Players:

Scott Perunovich, D (28 points), Justin Richards, F (28 points), Parker MacKay, F (27 points), Nick Swaney, F (24 points), Mikey Anderson, D (24 points), Peter Krieger, F (23 points), Noah Cates, F (22 points), Riley Tufte, F (18 points, 7 PPG), Dylan Samberg, D (17 points), Cole Koepke, F (17 points), Hunter Shepard, G (25-11-2, 1.87 GAA, .918 save percentage)

The defending NCAA National Champions come into Midwest Regional as the champions of the NCHC tournament beating regular season champion St. Cloud State 3-2 in double overtime. Head coach Scott Sandelin has built a powerhouse program at Duluth reaching four Frozen Fours including the past two and winning National Championships in 2018 and 2011. Over the past four seasons Duluth has a total of 97 wins which includes another 25 win season this year with 18 underclassmen on the 27 man roster. Sandelin is a coach that gets a ton out of his players despite only having seven draft picks on the roster. This is one of the most experienced tournament teams and they will be a tough out against anyone. They are considered the favorite to win this region.

Duluth doesn't have that one or two huge point getter on the roster as they possess more of a balanced attack from all parts of the roster. Riley Tufte is the lone first round pick on the roster and while the big forward had a bit of a down season with only 18 points compared to 29 a year ago, he still had seven power play goals and remains a big threat to score. Talented young players such as Justin Richards, Nick Swaney, Noah Cates and Cole Koepke have been big contributors to the success of the Bulldogs and will be in the future as well. Richards and Swaney who are both sophomores combined for 25 goals while senior Peter Mackay is the only lone other forward with double figures in goals (12). Duluth's power play is a very solid 23% and they can make you pay especially if teams get into penalty situations during the game.

Defensively this is one of the best teams in the nation giving up just two goals per game. Star defensemen Scott Perunovich had a solid second season despite his goal total dropping off from 11 to 3. He still put up 28 points and was a plus 8 on the season. He's joined by fellow talented sophomores Dylan Samberg and Mikey Anderson. Both of them are a plus 16 each and each can put up points as well with Samberg having 17 and Anderson 24. Both of them along with Perunovich are NHL draft picks. They are also very strong on the penalty kill at 86% for the season as Duluth takes pride in playing strong defense to win games.

On the back end they are led by Hunter Shepard who has won 50 games the past two seasons and is the current NCHC goaltender of the year and most outstanding player of the 2019 NCHC Frozen Faceoff. He's a good size goaltender who elevates his game in the big moments such as the National Title game a year ago and the NCHC Championship game against St. Cloud State. He has 14 shutouts in the past two years alone. His roughest stretch came in early March when he gave up five, four and four goals over three game stretch. Since then he has allowed only four goals in his last four games including a shutout against Denver in the NCHC semifinals.

#7 Quinnipiac Bobcats

2018-2019 Record: 25-9-2 (14-6-2 ECAC)
How they got here: At-Large
NCAA Tournament Appearances: (6) 2019, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2002
NCAA Frozen Four Appearances: (2) 2016, 2013

3.61 Goals scored per game (4th nationally)
1.92 Goals allowed per game (3rd nationally)
25.9% Power Play (4th nationally)
87.5% Penalty Kill (3rd nationally)

Key Players:
Odeen Tufto, F (42 points), Chase Priskie, D (39 points, 10 PPG), Craig Martin F (28 points), Ethan de Jong (25 points), Wyatt Bongiovanni (23 points), Brogan Rafferty, D (23 points), Alex Whelan, F (24 points), William Fallstrom, F (20 points), Karlis Cukste, D (20 points), Peter Diliberatore, D (19 points), Andrew Shortridge, G (17-6-2, 1.51 GAA & .941 save percentage)

Quinnipiac surprised a lot of people this season in winning a share of the ECAC regular season championship despite being picked 8th in the media poll and 7th in the coaches all while playing 9-10 freshman a night. It was a masterful coaching job Rand Pecknold who in my opinion should have been the ECAC coach of the year over Casey Jones. A year after the program suffered its first losing season since 1995-1996, Quinnipiac won 25 games to earn a berth into the NCAA tournament for the sixth time in program history. Outside of Chase Priskie, Craig Martin, Scott Davidson and Luke Shiplo who all have experienced the NCAA tournament, the majority of the roster are NCAA newbies. Coming off a disappointing sweep at home by the Brown Bears opened some eyes but with two weeks off you hope with the return of Chase Priskie to the lineup that things will be corrected.

The Bobcats have one of the best offenses in the country led by star sophomore center Odeen Tufto. He plays on a line with freshman Wyatt Bongiovanni and Ethan de Jong and that trio has combined for 90 points this season which is 25% of the teams entire offense. Upperclassmen Craig Martin and Alex Whelan have turned in very solid seasons with 28 and 24 points respectively while another freshman in second line center William Fallstrom has 20 points. The Bobcats generate a lot of offense from their defensive transition game but that has struggled a bit since the loss of top senior blue liner Brandon Fortunato due to a season ending injury. Chase Priskie has 39 points including 17 goals from the back end and does a ton of damage on the power play with ten power play goals. The current top four defensemen have 101 points combined so for Quinnipiac to be successful on offense its start with the defense pushing the puck up the ice quickly to generate scoring chances. Quinnipiac has a top five power play and that will get a boost with the return of Priskie. Playing one of the most penalized teams in Arizona State could bring out the best of one of the best units in the country.

Quinnipiac finished with the third best goals allowed total in the country at 1.92 and the defense has been a staple of some really good Quinnipiac teams in the past half decade. With captain Chase Priskie leading the way, the Bobcats have the ability to smother opponents into submission. The loss of Fortunato has not gone unnoticed as they were one of if not the top defensive pairing in the country. But the Bobcats have depth with upperclassmen like Brogan Rafferty, Karlis Cutske and Luke Shiplo to pick up the slack for Fortunato's loss. Throw in one of the top freshman defensemen in the country in Peter Diliberatore and the Bobcats should be fine on the back end.

Rounding out the balance of the Quinnipiac roster is stud goaltender Andrew Shortridge. Despite not getting the bulk of the starts early in the season, he seized the job from sophomore Keith Petruzzelli when the second year goaltender started to struggle. Shortridge didn't look back posting outstanding numbers for the Bobcats with a 1.51 goals against and a .941 save percentage to win ECAC goaltender of the year. He has come up with numerous highlight reel saves and his play could carry Quinnipiac to the Frozen Four in Buffalo.

#10 Arizona State Sun Devils

2018-2019 Record: 21-12-1 (Independent)
How they got here: At-Large
NCAA Tournament Appearances: (1) 2019

3.18 Goals scored per game (11th nationally)
2.47 Goals allowed per game (19th nationally)
15.2% Power Play (Tied 47th nationally)
86.4% Penalty Kill (7th nationally)

Key Players:

Johnny Walker, F (34 points), Brinson Pasichnuk, D (29 points), Anthony Croston, F (23 points), Tyler Busch, F (21 points), Brett Gruber, F (21 points), Demetrios Koumontzis, F (20 points), Dylan Hollman, F (19 points), Joshua Maniscalco, D (19 points), Jordan Sandhu, F (14 points), PJ Marrocco, F (14 points), Joey Daccord, G (21-12-1, 2.36 GAA, .926 save percentage)

Arizona State became the first team since Alaska-Anchorage in 1992 to reach the NCAA tournament as an independent. What the Sun Devils have done in a short time span cannot go unnoticed. To make the NCAA tournament in their 4th season is absolutely astonishing. This is a team with no conference, no real home rink to play in that has to travel around the country to play opponents mostly every weekend. To go from 8 wins a season ago and 21 and an NCAA tournament berth is one of the most surprising things you will ever see in college hockey especially given the limitations Arizona State has at this moment. Head coach Greg Powers deserves a ton of credit for elevating this program from club status to a tournament team in a short time frame. He was a risky hire to begin with as he never coached above the club level but so far it has paid off for the Sun Devils as they will head east for their first ever tournament appearance when they face Quinnipiac.

The Sun Devils are led on offense by Johnny Walker who had 23 goals and 34 points as a sophomore. He is one of three Arizona born players on the roster. However he missed the Minnesota series in early March with an injury but will play in the tournament. How effective he is will be anyone's guess but he accounts for 21% of the Sun Devils goals scored so he is that important to their offense including their power play in which he has 9 goals. Senior Dylan Hollman is tied for second on the team with 12 goals with defensemen Brinson Pasichnuk who is also the Sun Devils second leading scorer with 29 points. The offense is balanced with six other players scoring between 19-23 points respectively. The Sun Devils offense has struggled against some of the higher end tournament teams this season including Clarkson, Cornell, Harvard and Ohio State.

Defensively the Sun Devils are solid but out of the four teams in this bracket, I would take their defense last out of any of them. Brinson Pasichnuk has been a force on the back end with a plus 25 while providing a ton of offense while Joshua Maniscalco has 19 points and is a plus 12. However, the Sun Devils will be down a defensemen due to the suspension of Jacob Wilson who laid a vicious hit in the Minnesota series earning him a two game ban. That should hurt as he is one their more reliable defensive players. While they have a solid penalty kill at 86.4%, the Sun Devils are one of the most penalized teams in the country which could be a very bad thing against one of the top power play units in Quinnipiac.

Joey Daccord has been a rock for the Sun Devils in goal this season starting every game for them. He shaved off more than a goal per game from a season ago along with putting up an impressive .926 save percentage along with seven shutouts. However he was shaky in his last three games against AIC and Minnesota when he gave up four, five, and five goals respectively. With almost a month off, will Daccord have his timing down in live game situations? Daccord has played three games against Quinnipiac in his career including a 53 save performance in a victory two seasons ago in Hamden. A  year ago, Daccord was pulled after giving five goals in a loss to Quinnipiac. Daccord is going to need to have a huge game if the Sun Devils want to pull an upset and advance.

#15 Bowling Green Falcons

2018-2019 Record: 25-10-5 (16-8-4 WCHA)
How they got here: At-Large
NCAA Tournament Appearances: (10) 2019, 1990, 1989, 1988, 1987, 1984, 1982, 1979, 1978, 1977
NCAA Frozen Four Appearances: (2) 1984, 1978
NCAA National Championships: (1) 1984

3.30 Goals scored per game (8th nationally)
1.82 Goals allowed per game (2nd nationally)
20% Power Play (Tied 22nd nationally)
88.2% Penalty Kill (2nd nationally)

Key Players:

Max Johnson, F (43 points), Brandon Kruse, F (40 points), Connor Ford, F (33 points), Alec Rauhauser, D (26 points), Lukas Craggs, F (24 points), Stephen Baylis, F (22 points), Cameron Wright, F (20 points), John Schilling, F (18 points), Sam Craggs, F (15 points), Will Cullen, D (14 points), Tim Theorcharidis, D (11 points), Ryan Bednard, G (20-7-4, 1.78 GAA, .926 save percentage)

Bowling Green returns to the NCAA tournament for the first time in 29 years since the days of when Jerry York was behind the bench for the Falcons. In that time frame there were many lean years but 9th year head coach Chris Bergeron has changed the fortunes for this fan base with six consecutive winning seasons including five straight of 20 or more wins. He has taken the Falcons to two WCHA championship games but each time they fell in overtime. The 25 wins this season are the most since the 1995-1996 season which was the peak of the Buddy Powers era. Expect Chris Bergeron's name to be floated with the opening at Miami once the Bowling Green season comes to a close.

Bowling Green is a led by a trio of talented sophomores who have combined for 116 points this season. Max Johnson, Brandon Kruse and Connor Ford lead a dangerous attack for the Falcons. John and Ford are the goal scorers with 19 and 17 goals respectively while Kruse's 31 assists lead the team. This is a team that has good team speed and is aggressive with the puck. Junior Lukas Craggs has 13 goals as the only other player in double figures in goals. But this is a balanced attack with five more players that have between eight and nine goals on the season so they are getting contributions from all areas of the roster. While the power play is solid at 20% on the season, Johnson and Ford have scored ten power play goals each proving they can put the puck in the net at any chance on the man advantage. The Falcons have the offensive fire power to give a Minnesota Duluth a challenge in this game.

Defensively this is one of the best teams in the country. At 1.82 goals per game they are second in the country in defense. I know they play in the WCHA a league in which the bottom four teams aren't very good. But the Falcons defense showed up in non-conference games as well when they smothered both Ohio State and Western Michigan over four games. They also held Minnesota State to two goals in two regular season games this year. They are team that plays with in its system and does a good job in their own end. Alec Rauhauser is the Falcons best defenseman at a plus 20 and he also scored 26 points from the blue line this season. He's the only higher end point getter for the Falcons but Will Cullen, Tim Theorcharidis, Chris Pohlkamp and Connor McDonald are a combined plus 47 on the back end. Bowling Green's penalty kill is one of the top units in the country at 88.2% which is second nationally. However they are a team that takes a lot of penalty minutes just like Arizona State so they will need to be on their game against a very good Minnesota Duluth power play.

The Falcons are strong in goal with Ryan Bednard who had 20 wins this season to go with a 1.78 goals against and a .926 save percentage including three shutouts. A 2015 7th round pick by the Florida Panthers, Bednard brings excellent size in goal with his 6 foot 5 inch frame and each season has gotten better for Bowling Green. He was a rock down the stretch with five straight wins including four straight in the WCHA tournament prior to the overtime loss to Minnesota State. He could be a difference maker should Bowling Green pull an upset in this game.


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Saturday, March 23, 2019

Matthew McGroarty commits to Quinnipiac

Matthew McGroarty

It's been a long three months but Quinnipiac is back in the commitment game. On the eve of the NCAA tournament selection show, the Bobcats picked up a 2003 born commitment in forward Matthew McGroarty, a native of Westport, Connecticut who is currently a sophomore playing for the Brunswick School in Connecticut.

McGroarty is a 5'10, 150 pound right shot forward who in 28 games played for the Brunswick School had 14 points on 6 goals and 8 assists. He also was a member of the Mid FairField Jr. Rangers U-16 team but his statistics with them are unknown at this time.

3.75⭐️Matthew McGroarty to Quinnipiac. No frills, power forward w/a game on the rise. He is powerful, direct & goes to the net with his stick on the ice. Hard on the forecheck & is tough to play against. High grades at Select 15s, WSI and U14 Nationals.

Another respected hockey scout told me that McGroarty is second line center with great skating ability and good hockey IQ who works his tail off. The scout added that he is a great get for Quinnipiac as he had some Hockey East teams on him. 

Currently I have McGroarty pegged to arrive in Hamden for the 2022-2023 which would take him through his junior and senior seasons at Brunswick along with one season of junior hockey prior to arrival.


Links

EliteProspects Player Page
Brunswick Statistics


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Monday, March 18, 2019

Diliberatore & Bongiovanni named to ECAC All-League Rookie Team

Peter Diliberatore was name to the ECAC All Rookie team

Two Quinnipiac freshman were named to the ECAC All-League Rookie Team as announced by the league office on Monday. Peter Diliberatore and Wyatt Bongiovanni were honored for their outstanding freshman campaigns by being selected to the All-League Rookie Team.

Diliberatore, a native of Bedford, Nova Scotia, Canada burst on the scene directly from the prep school ranks with 19 points in 36 games with a plus 23 rating the latter which led the Bobcats this season. The sixth round draft pick of the Vegas Golden Knights, should be a staple on the Quinnipiac for the next couple of seasons in order to mature for the NHL. Diliberatore won one ECAC Rookie of the Week honors this season and was named as the ECAC Rookie of the Month for December.

Bongiovaani also was named to the ECAC All Rookie team

Bongiovanni, a native of Birmingham, Michigan finished 8th on the Bobcats in scoring with 23 points but was third on the team in goals with 14. He had six power play goals to go along with three game winning goals this season. He earned ECAC Rookie of the Week honors three times this season and was named the ECAC Rookie of the Month for February.

Quinnipiac with a record of 25-9-2 will return to action on either March 29 or 30 in the NCAA Tournament. The field will be announced on March 24 at 7 pm but Quinnipiac is currently a lock for the NCAA tournament and it is just a matter of whether they will be a #2 or #3 seed and in what region they will land in.


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Sunday, March 17, 2019

Thoughts and observations from Quinnipiac's 4-3 Game 2 loss to Brown

Brown became the first ECAC team to win a playoff series in Hamden

Quinnipiac was bounced out of the ECAC quarterfinals with a stunning 4-3 loss to Brown in Game 2 of on Saturday night at the People's United Bank Center. After jumping to a 2-0 lead behind two Alex Whelan goals, Brown scored four unanswered goals until Craig Martin scored an extra attacker goal with a little more than two minutes left in the game. But it was not enough as Brown now moves on to the ECAC semifinals for the first time since 2013 next weekend in Lake Placid while Quinnipiac awaits to find out where it will be seeded for the NCAA tournament next Sunday. Here are my thoughts and observations from Game 2.

- You have to give a ton of credit to Brendan Whittet and his team. Brown was prepared this series and never strayed away from their game plan. Even when they got down 2-0 in the first period,  they stayed the course and played within their game with relentless fore-check and excellent defensive play. They found another gear in the third period just like they did the previous night and frankly they wanted it more than Quinnipiac. Tonight they threw some hay-makers at Quinnipiac in which the Bobcats couldn't respond from. It took a late Craig Martin goal with an extra-attacker to bring some life back into the building and Quinnipiac just couldn't get that equalizer of a goal.

- Brown was great in this series in five on five play. Every one of the goals tonight was on five on five as they scored twice in the first two minutes of the third period when they did an excellent job of keeping the puck deep into the Quinnipiac zone as the the Bobcats struggled to clear the puck. This gave Brown a ton of life and momentum as they really pushed the pace against Quinnipiac. Brent Beaudoin put Brown ahead on a breakaway goal right after killing off a penalty while Tommy Marchin added what would be the game winning goal under two minutes later. It was another back breaking stretch of play for Quinnipiac in the third period.

- The leadership of Brown showed up tonight as co-captains Tommy Marchin (2 goals) and Max Gottlieb (1 goal) helped lead their team to the ECAC semifinals for the first time since 2013. There are no flashy players on Brown, just hard working battlers that don't ever give up. They will be a tough out against anyone when they reach Lake Placid as they are playing with confidence, nothing to lose and they are getting very good goal-tending from Gavin Nieto. Good luck to the Bears up in Lake Placid.

- Brown won three of four games against Quinnipiac and all three games it played at the People's United Center in Hamden. It was stunning to see

- It was really stunning to see how poorly Quinnipiac played in the third period tonight. I had previously thought that the second period on senior night against Clarkson was Quinnipiac's worst period of the season but this third period tops that as they were horrendous. Brown came out fast and aggressive and Quinnipiac couldn't get a clear out of its own zone. Before you looked the game was already tied at two due to Gottlieb and Marchin. The next two goals were the knock out punches from Beaudoin and Marchin again and it was just too much for Quinnipiac to overcome.

- There were tons of struggles across the board most notably the Lombardi-Burgart-Jermain line in Game 2. That line was a combined minus eight on the night and really had problems with the Brown fore-check. The Quinnipiac top line also was a no show on the night as Tufto, Bongiovanni and de Jong were held scoreless in back to back games. Brown put a ton of focus into shutting that line down this series and it worked to perfection as they weren't a factor in the series. They are going to need to be a factor if Quinnipiac has plans of getting past the first round of the NCAA tournament.

- Not having Chase Priskie was a killer in this series and just too much to overcome. He covers up a ton on this defense along with the leadership he brings and that was just flat out missing in this series. The ramifications from the Yale game came back to haunt Quinnipiac as they just didn't show a ton of discipline against a team that was going nowhere in the ECAC this season. This probably cost the Bobcats a trip to Lake Placid and they need to remember going forward that they can't do stuff like that without some sort of ramifications coming against them.

- Alex Whelan was Quinnipiac's best player on the ice tonight. He was relentless in hunting the puck and was rewarded with two goals and assisted on Martin's goal in third period. He also led the team with seven shots on goal. Craig Martin also played a solid game as well as that line of Whelan, Martin and Fallstrom was probably the best line of the night for Quinnipiac.

- Andrew Shortridge deserved better tonight. His defense in the third period was atrocious in front of him and couldn't clear pucks with any consistency. They also couldn't clear the traffic out in front of him in Game 2 as well. Shorty has saved this team many times this season and it would have been nice to see the defense play better in front of him and not look as bad as they did in the third period. 

- Not only was Quinnipiac knocked out of the ECAC playoffs but this was the first home series loss ever at the People's United Bank Center along with the first time that Quinnipiac didn't win one playoff series since entering the ECAC which was a league record. All good things must come to an end but its tough to see when the team was the #1 seed in the tournament. I for one did not see the Brown Bears being the team to end this streak but you have to give them all the credit in the world for what they accomplished this weekend.

- Not making it to Lake Placid will have ramifications for Quinnipiac. They no longer can get a #1 seed as that is now gone with the Brown sweep. They are currently holding on to a #2 seed but its possible they could even drop to a #3 by next weekend as well. They might have also played their way out of the Northeast possibly. Had they got to Lake Placid and possibly at least the championship game, I think they probably would have been a lock for either Providence or Manchester but now I could honestly see them out in Fargo depending on how things shake out next weekend. That is clearly on the table now but the hope is that this teams stays in the east whether it be Providence, Manchester or even Allentown.

- What's on tap? Quinnipiac must now wait until all the conference tournaments are completed and the seeds are released next Sunday. Quinnipiac won't see another game for two weeks but the good thing is they won't have to sweat out next week on the bubble and they will be getting captain Chase Priskie back for the NCAA tournament.




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