Sunday, February 16, 2020

Weekend in Review: Clarkson/St. Lawrence

Quinnipiac beat St. Lawrence 6-1 on Saturday night
Quinnipiac came into the weekend looking to improve upon its pairwise status. However it left the weekend in a worst place than they started despite a split of the weekend. On Friday Quinnipiac had zero luck in a 3-2 loss to Clarkson in which they dominated the pace of play for the majority of the game. Saturday the Bobcats struggled for two periods before Odeen Tufto changed the Bobcats fortunes with a highlight reel goal leading to the flood gates opening in the third period. Here are my thoughts from this weekends game along with the outlook for the next few weeks.

- Friday night was a tough loss against a good Clarkson team. A game that Quinnipiac really needed, the Bobcats found themselves behind the eight ball quickly as Clarkson was up two within the first six minutes of the game. Neither of the goals were Petruzzelli's fault with the first goal just inching past the goal line in which an official review confirmed. I was really surprised with the early struggles by Quinnipiac in such a big game as I thought we would see more energy and passion from the start.

- Usually when a team dominates the shot count and the face-offs it usually wins. That wasn't the case on Friday when Quinnipiac out shot Clarkson 41-24 and crushed them 36-21 on the face-off dot. The Bobcats just didn't have any puck luck while Clarkson goaltender Frank Marotte was really good with 39 saves on the night. Quinnipiac also couldn't take advantage of the injury to the best Clarkson forward in Haralds Egle.

- I find it surprising that Clarkson doesn't score as much with the talent they have up front. They have an unheralded defense and a good goaltender but no superstars on the blue line. All the talent is up front and they rarely have put up big offensive numbers this season. I wonder if that will come back to hurt them come tournament time against teams that have high powered offenses.

- The Bobcats did a good job of erasing a two goal deficit on Friday but they just couldn't push ahead of Clarkson. Quinnipiac got goals from Michael Lombardi and Ethan Leyh but were stifled most of the night by the Clarkson defense.

- I was really disappointed at the lack of calls in the Clarkson game on both sides. The game was chippy and to have only one power play for each team is shocking. The referees swallowed their whistles and their was really no reason to. Maybe the game is different if they call this game tight as Quinnipiac could have had some more power play opportunities. This was two games in a row with poor officiating in which Quinnipiac played in.

Five different Bobcats found the back of the net against St. Lawrence
- Just as Quinnipiac struggled on Friday night early, the same happened Saturday against just a terrible St. Lawrence team. It was nerve racking for almost two periods as Quinnipiac trailed 1-0 yet was dominating on the shot count. It wasn't until Odeen Tufto's spectacular individual effort for a goal late in period two saw the momentum change towards the Bobcats. If you haven't seen the goal yet I would watch this link below. This could easily be one of the goals of the year in the NCAA. Just a tremendous effort when the Bobcats really needed a spark.

- It seemed like only a matter of time that Quinnipiac would take control after that Tufto goal. It also helped that St. Lawrence would lose its composure in the third period taking six straight penalties which led to four power play goals. Quinnipiac added an even strength goal late as they capped a five goal third period to win in a runaway. The score wasn't as indicative of how close this game really was early.

- I thought St. Lawrence played a disgraceful third period and if Brent Brekke approved play like that then shame on him. If he didn't then he needs to clean some of this dead weight off the roster as soon as the season ends. Most of these players are the garbage that Mark Morris brought into St. Lawrence so he should want to clean some of these goons out as soon as possible.

-  Its pretty amazing that you can crush a team 6-1 yet it hurts you in the pairwise rankings. That's exactly what happened as Quinnipiac fell from 15th to 18th in the pairwise. They clearly need to win out now and probably get to Lake Placid and possibly even to the conference championship game. A lot will depend on what happens with the teams around them as teams like Lowell, Western Michigan, Minnesota, Maine and Providence have some challenging games. There is still a lot to shake out the next few weeks but Quinnipiac is clearly a bubble team at this point due to its slow start to the season and because of a loss to Colgate and a tie to Brown which are really hurting them at this point.

- Quinnipiac heads on its final road trip of the regular season to the New York Capital Region as they take on an ever improving RPI team Friday night before facing a struggling Union team Saturday. RPI is probably Quinnipiac's toughest remaining game and that is due to goaltender Owen Savory who has been really good this season for the Engineers. His play is one of the reasons why RPI is still fighting for a possible bye in the ECAC tournament.

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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Weekend Preview: Clarkson/St. Lawrence

Quinnipiac returns home for a huge game against Clarkson on Friday

Clarkson Head Coach: Casey Jones (9th season)

2019-2020 Clarkson record: 20-6-2 (13-3-0 ECAC)

All-time vs. Clarkson: Quinnipiac leads series 16-13-3

Clarkson Key Players: Haralds Egle (F), Jack Jacome (F), Devin Brosseau (F), Josh Dunne (F), Greg Moro (D), Connor McCarthy (D), Frank Marotte (G)

With only three losses since mid November and 20 wins in total this season, the program is on pace to have the best season of the Casey Jones era. At 9th in the pairwise rankings, Clarkson is inching closer to a third straight NCAA appearance for the first time since the late 1990's. Jones has this program as one of the elite programs of the ECAC and expect them to be in the upper echelon for a very long time. For Quinnipiac, this game is a must win considering the Bobcats are on the bubble at 14th in the pairwise which is too close to the cut line. Much like the Cornell game a couple of weeks ago, a win could propel this team a few more spots higher in the pairwise rankings.

Clarkson this season is averaging 2.93 goals per game which is a little bit low for a team as good as the Golden Knights. The offense is built around seniors Haralds Egle (30 points) and Devin Brosseau (27 points). Sophomore Josh Dunne has 12 goals and third in points with 26. Zach Tsekos and Jack Jacome are other solid contributors for Clarkson. The Golden Knights power play has scored 26 goals this season at a clip of a shade just under 23.9%. Clarkson has the ability to change a game in an instant and Quinnipiac saw that when these teams met a month ago when Jack Jacome scored two goals 23 seconds apart to give the Golden Knights a lead they would not relinquish.

Clarkson is built to win on defense. Giving up just 1.75 goals per game, the Golden Knights defense is third best in the nation behind Minnesota State and Cornell. While Connor McCarthy is the only player putting up big numbers from the blue line, the Golden Knights are just getting consistent play from guys like sophomore Brian Hurley along with Seniors Jordan Schneider and Greg Moro. Sophomore Michael Underwood is tied for second on the team with a plus 10. Clarkson isn't flashy, they just get the job done and do a really good job preventing other teams from scoring. They also boost the nations number one penalty kill at 92.9%.

Frank Marotte continues to be one of the top goaltenders in all of college hockey. He has played in every game for Clarkson this season and his .940 save percentage and 1.67 goals against are both second in college hockey in those categories. Simply put he is difficult to score on but part of that is the players he has in front of him. Quinnipiac has shown it can beat a strong goaltender when it put five goals on Cornell's Matthew Galajda just a few short weeks ago.

St. Lawrence Head Coach: Brett Brekke (1st year)

2019-2020 St. Lawrence record: 3-21-4 (1-14-1 ECAC)

All-time vs. St. Lawrence: Quinnipiac leads 16-15-5

St. Lawrence Key Players: Zach Risteau (F), Keenan Suthers (F), Jordan Steinmetz (F), Andrew McIntyre (F), Jake Stevens (D), Bo Hanson (D), Daniel Mannella (G)

St. Lawrence hasn't found the win column in three months coming into this weekend dating back to November 9th when they beat Union 3-2 in overtime. Since then they are 0-15-3. It has been a rough first season for new head coach Brett Brekke but he cannot be judged with this team as it lacks talent and players he recruited. For Quinnipiac, this is a must win at home and a game they surely cannot lose if they want to make the tournament. A loss would have a massive negative impact and would almost certainly end any at-large hopes for them. A month ago Quinnipiac just squeaked by St. Lawrence 3-2 up in North Country.

The Saints are the worst offensive team in all of college hockey averaging just 1.64 goals per game. Sophomore Zach Risteau (21 points) is St. Lawrence best offensive player but he has been held scoreless in his last six games. Junior Keenan Suthers is tied for the team lead with seven goals while freshman Jordan Steinmetz has 10 points. Its an offense that lacks high talent and players that put a scare in you. St. Lawrence has a power play that has struggled at 13.9% this season with only 15 goals scored via the man advantage.

The Saints defense has gotten tad better since these two teams last met. St. Lawrence is down to giving up 3.25 goals per game which is more than a quarter of a goal better than a month ago. Its baby steps for the Saints but the improvement on paper has been real. Bo Hanson is the best defencemen that St. Lawrence has and he found the back of the net the last time these two teams played. At 76.1%, the Saints boost one of the nations worst penalty kills so look for that to be an area that Quinnipiac exploits on Saturday night.

Over the second half of the season, St. Lawrence has rotated games between senior Daniel Mannella and freshman Francis Boisvert. It was Mannella who played against Quinnipiac up in Canton a month ago and kept the Saints in the game. It remains to be seen who Brent Brekke starts as he could go either way.

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Monday, February 10, 2020

Weekend in Review: Yale/Brown

Quinnipiac once again beat their Whitney Avenue rivals
Quinnipiac had a three point weekend against Yale and Brown but it was far from easy against each of them with each game going into overtime. What should have been a weekend that was much smoother with a pair of victories turned into two nail bitters for the Bobcats. Still they didn't lose either game but the tie against Brown wasn't helpful and we will get more into that later. Here are my thoughts from this weekends games.

- It wasn't pretty but it was another victory over its Whitney Avenue rival. The Bobcats spotted Yale a 1-0 lead just 55 seconds into the game before scoring the next two goals of the game, one by Alex Whelan in the latter stages of the second period and early in the third period by Hamden native Joe O'Connor. A late Evan Smith goal for Yale forced overtime at Ingalls but the Bobcats ended things quickly just 18 seconds in when Odeen Tufto scored the game winner.

- Quinnipiac did a really good job of holding Yale's best player Curtis Hall scoreless on the night. Hall finished a -2 and only won 13 of 25 face-offs against Quinnipiac. Shutting him down was key as he came into the weekend with 13 goals. The game could have been much different if Hall had got going.

- Despite winning the game, Quinnipiac lost the face-off battle against Yale but William Fallstrom went 11 of 16 which is impressive. As long as Quinnipiac continues to win face-offs which turn into puck possession they should be ok.

- Jayden Lee took a major hit against Yale which knocked him out of the game. He was not healthy enough to make the trip to Brown to play. Let's hope he won't be out too long as he is an important puck moving defencemen despite not putting up big point totals as a freshman. Lee had played in every game this season until he missed Saturday's game against Brown which shows how important and reliable he has been this season.

- Saturday's game against Brown was ugly at times. Quinnipiac had some nice sustained early pressure but couldn't get anything past Gavin Nieto. The Bobcats had two power plays in the opening period and had some nice looks but couldn't find the back of the net. Brown got on the board first late in the period after a Michael Lombardi roughing call. Brent Beaudoin found the back of the net as Keith Petruzzelli wasn't in the best position to make a save. It continued to be ugly in the second period in which Quinnipiac was dominated by Brown in shots and got a late goal by Beaudoin again.

Quinnipiac needed a comeback to force a 2-2 tie with Brown
- Things looked pretty bleak after that second Beaudoin goal coming late in the second period but Quinnipiac's goal by Ethan de Jong with three seconds left in the period was a momentum shift. Instead of being down 2-0 heading into the third, Quinnipiac was only down one. That greasy goal in traffic was just what the Bobcats needed going into the third period.

- It was back to back games that Alex Whelan had a big goal. The senior got Quinnipiac on the board Friday night against Yale and Saturday he took the puck bowled over a defender and rifled one high past Gavin Nieto for the game tying goal. Whelan has now hit double figures in goals in three straight seasons and is one of the most important players on the team in my opinion. You saw the struggles when he was out of the lineup earlier this season. He brings so much passion and energy on each shift that its tough to replace when he is not out there.

- Is there a more embarrassing official than Chip McDonald. He was awful on Saturday night during the Brown game. Not only did he miss a bunch of offside calls on each side, he missed a too many men on the ice penalty against Brown (they had seven players on the ice) and called a ridiculous embellishment penalty on captain Nick Jermain which should have given Quinnipiac a 5 on 3 as a penalty had been called prior to that play. Instead of a Bobcats full two man advantage he called the single embellishment on Jermain thus the teams skating at four aside. Its time for the ECAC to get rid of McDonald who continues to botch calls time and time again.

- How damaging was that tie against Brown? The tie cost Quinnipiac two spots in the pairwise rankings as a win puts them at 12th. They are currently 14th which is dangerously close to the cut line. Think about this for a minute. Had they beaten Brown on Saturday and won against Colgate up in Hamilton back in November this team would be 8th in the pairwise rankings and in a comfortable position. You just can't lose or tie games to bad teams as its always going to come back to bite you later on.

- Its another big weekend for Quinnipiac who have a huge game against Clarkson Friday night. A win will give Quinnipiac a big boost in the pairwise rankings which they clearly need. Saturday they face St. Lawrence in a game that they definitely cannot lose or even tie at this point. We will have more on these teams later in the week.

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Friday, February 7, 2020

Weekend Preview: Yale/Brown

Quinnipiac has a big road trip against Yale and Brown this weekend

Yale Head Coach: Keith Allain (14th season)

2019-2020 Yale record: 9-11-1 (6-7-1 ECAC)

All-time vs. Yale : Quinnipiac leads series 22-7-5

Yale Key Players: Curtis Hall (F), Tyler Welsh (F), Justin Pearson (F), Kevin O'Neil (F), Luke Stevens (F), Phil Kemp (D), Jack St. Ivany (D), Corbin Kaczperski (G)

It has been another middling season for one of the Bobcats biggest rivals as the Bulldogs are likely to finish .500 or below for the fourth straight season. The teams best win was a 3-1 win against a solid Maine team that probably will fall short of the NCAA tournament. Since winning a surprise national championship in 2013, Yale has seen its program really fall down in the ECAC and nationally. The question is can they ever get back to one of the elite teams in the league and the country? They face Quinnipiac at probably the wrong time as the Bobcats have won 10 of their last 12 games and have owned Yale over the last half decade plus.

Yale's offense has been a struggle this season to get going. Just like a season ago when they were essentially one a trick pony with Joe Snively, the same is pretty much this year in terms of scoring as Curtis Hall (15 points) has taken Snively's place as the go to player. His 13 goals lead Yale with four of the goals being of game winning goals. He is also second on the team with three power play goals. Junior Tyler Welsh and Justin Pearson are tied with Hall for the team lead in points with 15 apiece. Pearson does lead the Bulldogs with five power play goals. Junior Kevin O'Neil (11 points) and senior Luke Stevens (9 points) help pace the offense that is only averaging 2.38 goals per game good for 45th in the country. They have a middle of the pack power play at 18.5% which is 33rd nationally.

The Yale defense was expected to be a strength of the team has really struggled this season allowing 3.19 goals per game which is 46th nationally. They have good talent back there in Jack St. Ivany, Phil Kemp, Graham Lillibridge and Billy Sweezy but can't seem to keep goals out of the net. While St. Ivany has just about matched his point total from a year ago his plus minus has really taken a step back. A year ago he was a plus 8 for the season and now he is a minus 10. Yale has juggled through nine defencemen this year so its hard to get consistency when you can't get a set lineup. The Bulldogs have struggled on the penalty kill at 76.9% good for 50th in the country.

Gone is Sam Tucker who transferred to Boston University with a year left of eligibility. Senior Corbin Kaczperski has struggled this season with a 2.92 goals against average and a .900 save percentage. His 19 games are the most he has seen in a season as he had split time with Sam Tucker the past two seasons. His worst games have been against teams with high powered offenses in Cornell, Harvard and Sacred Heart. He will play solid against the bad teams and most likely falter against good ones.

Brown Head Coach: Brendan Whittet (11th year)

2019-2020 Brown record: 5-16-0 (5-9-0 ECAC)

All-time vs. Brown: Quinnipiac leads 24-10-6

Brown Key Players: Justin Jallen (F), Brent Beaudoin (F), Michael Maloney (F), Bradley Cocca (F), Zach Giuttari (D), Tony Stillwell (D), Luke Krys (D), Gavin Nieto (G)

A season after taking a step forward with just the second winning season in the Brendan Whittet era that ended with a trip to Lake Placid, Brown finds itself towards the bottom of the ECAC standings once again. The team that knocked Quinnipiac out of the ECAC tournament in stunning fashion comes into this weekend having lost 11 of its last 13 games. The two lone wins came against Union and St. Lawrence, both of which are the two worst teams in the league. The Bobcats come in as the superior team and need to play like it.

Brown's offense is the worst in the nation this season at 1.67 goals per game. Justin Jallen (9 goals) and Brent Beaudoin (5 goals) are the only two players on the roster with five or more goals this season. Only twice this season have the Bears scored four or more goals and both times were in wins against Colgate and Yale. Its been a challenge for Brown to score goals and with the Bobcats defense improving each and every week along with Keith Petruzzelli having a strong year, it is likely Brown will have a lot of trouble scoring goals. One area where the Bears may be able to score is on the power play where they are converting at an 18.6% clip good for 32nd in the country. If Quinnipiac stays disciplined and out of the box I really can't see the Brown offense challenging them.

Defensively the Bears are middle of the pack defensively at 2.90 goals per game. Brown has taken a step back defensively as players such as Zach Giuttari and Tony Stillwell haven't played as well in their own zone as they did a year ago. Coupled with the fact that the Bears have played three freshman for a combined 51 games on the back end and the struggles are to be expected. The Bears defense is solid enough to keep them in a game but more often than not they will lose because of their poor offense. Brown's penalty kill is solid at 81% this season good for 28th.

Gavin Nieto has gotten the majority of the starts for the Bears and despite a losing record, he has a 2.67 goals against and a .909 save percentage for the season which is pretty respectable given the state of the team. Nieto has proven that he can play big against Quinnipiac with his strong play in last years ECAC Quarterfinal series in which he held the Bobcats to just four goals over two games helping Brown to a shocking sweep in Hamden.

This is an important weekend for the Bobcats as a sweep is a must. The Bobcats at-large hopes rest on not losing against any of the bad teams in the ECAC and these two teams aren't very good. Quinnipiac needs to come out of this weekend not only healthy but with four points.

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Monday, February 3, 2020

Weekend in Review: Cornell/Colgate

Quinnipiac shutout the #1 team in the country in Cornell 5-0

It was a payback weekend for Quinnipiac who avenged a pair of losses in upstate New York back in November when they lost to Cornell and Colgate. Friday saw Quinnipiac put an absolute beat-down on the #1 team in the country in the Cornell Big Red shutting them out 5-0 behind a 22 save performance by Keith Petruzzelli and they followed it up by gutting out a 2-1 win over Colgate the following night. Here are my thoughts of the weekend sweep.

- The win over #1 Cornell was massive for Quinnipiac's pairwise ranking. The win soared the Bobcats from 19th to 14th and while their is still plenty of work to do this is a big win considering they will get a quality win bonus for it. With eight regular season games remaining, the schedule clearly favors the Bobcats who have one really challenging game the rest of the way on February 14th when they host Clarkson. Every other game on the schedule is winnable and I clearly expect them to win. This team clearly has the ability and the favorable schedule to run the table the rest of the way. If they do that they will be in a great position for the NCAA tournament.

- Quinnipiac did a great job surviving an early flurry of chances from Cornell. Give credit to Keith Petruzzelli who made nine saves that opening period to keep the game scoreless early on. The game could have been different had Cornell drew first blood. His play gave Quinnipiac the opportunity to keep the game scoreless until captain Nick Jermain and defencemen Zach Metsa scored 52 seconds apart to take command of the game. Petruzzelli finished a strong weekend with 52 saves in two games allowing just the lone goal on Saturday against Colgate.

- The Bobcats offense was on fire Friday against Cornell goaltender Matthew Galajda. I never thought that would happen as Galajda has been the best goaltender in the league this season and one of the best in all of the country. He has a tremendous track record of success against Quinnipiac and was a big factor of why they won the earlier match at Lynah Rink. Give Quinnipiac a lot credit for continuing to pepper Galajda in periods one and two and until he was relieved in goal by Austin McGrath.

- I think we have all heard the term "Save the best for last". In this case captain Nick Jermain certainly represents that term. He had another strong weekend with a three point game against Cornell including two goals. Jermain's 10 goals this season are not only second on the team but a career high for him. His 15 points also eclipsed the 14 he had in his sophomore season, his only other full season of health. With 8 games to play he should easily hit the 20 point plateau and possibly even get to 25.

- While Quinnipiac has only one player averaging a point per game (Odeen Tufto) they are getting contributions from a lot of different players during this second half turnaround. Guys like Zach Metsa, Peter Diliberatore, Ethan Leyh, William Fallstrom, Skyler Brind'Amour, Ethan de Jong and Wyatt Bongionvanni have really helped carry this team during a 10-2 stretch dating back to the end of the first half win at UMass.

Quinnipiac beat Colgate 2-1 on Saturday
- I had a good feeling the Colgate game wasn't going to be easy and boy was I right. While Colgate lacks high end skill and talent, they have a ton of will and have clearly played above their skill ability. Head coach Don Vaughan is getting more out of his team than I ever thought he would this year and has put them for a home ice series in the first round of the ECAC playoffs. Colgate should be competitive down the stretch and can help Quinnipiac by possibly stealing a game against Cornell next weekend.

- I never thought this was possible back in November but Quinnipiac still has a decent chance to win the Cleary Cup but will need some help to do it. First off the Bobcats will need to win out which is entirely possible given the schedule they have remaining. The most challenging game is Clarkson which is at home while RPI is their most challenging road game. Every other game is against Yale (2), Brown (2), St. Lawrence and Union. The help that Quinnipiac will need is for Clarkson to beat Cornell on February 29th along with Cornell also possibly losing another game outside of Clarkson for an outright title.

- Quinnipiac now heads out on the road for a short road trip down the road against Yale on Friday night before heading to Providence against Brown on Saturday. The Bobcats have had a ton of success against Yale and have won their last three games at Ingalls Rink which includes two playoff games. While you can't overlook Yale, Saturday night you have to think Quinnipiac will look to have revenge on their minds against a Brown team that swept Quinnipiac at the People's United Bank Center in the ECAC Quarterfinal series last year.

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Thursday, January 30, 2020

Weekend Preview: Cornell/Colgate

Alex Whelan and the Quinnipiac Bobcats have their most important game this weekend

Cornell Head Coach: Mike Schaefer (25th Season)

2019-2020 Cornell record: 14-1-4 (9-1-2 ECAC)

All-time vs. Cornell: Cornell leads 23-17-4

Cornell Key Players: Morgan Barron (F), Cam Donaldson (F), Ben Berard (F), Michael Regush (F), Brendan Locke (F), Yanni Kaldis (D), Sam Malinski (D), Alex Green (D), Matthew Galajda (G)

The biggest game of the season for Quinnipiac takes place when they host the #1 team in the country in Cornell. Sitting at 19th in the pairwise rankings, this is essentially a must win game for any at-large chances for Quinnipiac. A win would be a huge for the Bobcats giving them the quality win they need to try to get back into the top 16. Cornell is off to one of its best starts in years and has just a lone road loss to Dartmouth this season. The Big Red are unbeaten in their last eight games going 4-0-4 over that time span. They are pretty much a lock at this point for the NCAA tournament.

The Big Red have a strong offense at 3.37 goals per game which places them 10th in the country. Junior forward Morgan Barron is having a strong season averaging 1.11 points per game. Brenden Locke and Cam Donaldson have 17 and 16 points respectively while defencemen Yanni Kaldis has 16 points from the blue line. Sophomore Michael Regush is second in the team with 8 goals. At 25.3%, Cornell has a top 10 power play and can strike at any time. Staying out of the penalty box is a must for Quinnipiac.

The Big Red have the #1 defense in the country and for good reason. They have loads of talent on the back in with Yanni Kaldis, Alex Green along with freshman Sam Malinski and Travis Mitchell. Cornell is giving up 1.47 goals per game which is one of four teams in all of Division I giving up less than two goals per game. They are extremely tough to score on. One area of weakness for Cornell is the penalty kill where they are just 79% for the season. Despite a weak penalty kill, Cornell is disciplined and doesn't take many penalties. 

Matthew Galajda is in top form this season and is well on his way to winning the ECAC goaltender of the year. Playing in every game this season Galajda has a 1.46 goals against average and .940 save percentage which places him in second in both categories. He also has two shutouts to boot. He has a strong track record of success against Quinnipiac with a 5-1 record in six starts. Goals surely will be a tough chore for the Bobcats against him.

Colgate Head Coach: Don Vaughan (27th Season)

2019-2020 Colgate record: 8-10-6 (6-3-3 ECAC)

All-time vs. Colgate : Quinnipiac leads 23-17-2

Colgate Key Players: Bobby McMann (F), Colton Young (F), Ben Sharf (F), Jared Cockrell (F), Paul McAvoy (F), Nick Austin (D), Trevor Cosgrove (D), Mitch Benson (G)

Colgate is having a very solid season under long time head coach Don Vaughan after multiple losings seasons. While they are still under .500 for the season, the Raiders are a respectable 6-3-3 in ECAC play this season and can play with anyone in the conference on any given weekend. Just ask Quinnipiac who got beat 3-1 by Colgate back in November. While lacking high end talent, the Raiders have played hard this season with solid wins against Lowell, Harvard, Quinnipiac and a tie with Providence. Don't overlook this Raiders team.

Offensively it has been a struggle for Colgate as they are averaging 2.12 goals per game this season. Senior Bobby McMann is the leading scorer with 14 points while senior Ben Sharf has given the Raiders unexpected production with 13 points. Freshman Colton Young (12 points) has been a nice find for Colgate but they just lack high end talent up front to score at will against teams. The Raiders also have by far the worst power play in the country at a measly 4.5%. 

The Raiders defense has been the key to a solid season for them. Giving up just 2.50 goals per game, they have been able to win games by limiting the opposing team on the scoreboard. For Colgate to win this game, it will have to be on the back end limiting Quinnipiac chances in the the offensive zone. Nick Austin, Trevor Cosgrove and Jacob Panetta have been consistent on the blue line this season and will need to be this weekend as well. The Raiders also must avoid the penalty box as their penalty kill is just 77.3% for the season. 

Colgate has seen a goaltender rotation between sophomores Mitch Benson and Andrew Farrier with both playing well this season. Colgate's record is better with Farrier in between the pipes and he has started the last four games going 1-1-2 in the stretch. His 2.18 goals against and .925 save percentage lead the team as well. Benson has a 2.38 goals against and a .918 save percentage on the season. When these two teams met back in November, it was Farrier who got the win with a 33 save effort.

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Finnish defenceman Iivari Räsänen commits to Quinnipiac

Iivari Räsänen playing for Finland

The Quinnipiac Bobcats picked up a a commitment for a Finnish born defenceman yesterday when 2001 born Iivari Räsänen made the decision to play for the Bobcats. Räsänen is the younger brother of Boston College forward Aapeli Räsänen, an Edmonton Oilers draft pick. The younger Räsänen is currently in his first season with the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the USHL.

The left shot 6'1, 205 pound Räsänen is having a solid season with the Lumberjacks with 13 points (1 goal, 12 assists) in 32 games played and is a plus 9. Prior to his time with Muskegon, Räsänen played back in Finland for Tappara U20 the past two seasons plus five games this season before coming over to North America. ISS Hockey said Räsänen is two-way defenceman with a good first pass that likes to jump into the rush and plays with poise and confidence with strong hockey IQ. Finnish Jr. Hockey had this scouting report below.
Räsänen also has extensive Finland national team experience playing for the Finland U-17 and U-18 teams the past three years. While he went undrafted in 2019 in his first draft year, Räsänen is a player who could certainly see his name called in the 2020 draft especially if he continues his strong play for Muskegon. When he will enroll with Quinnipiac is not yet known but its either going to be for the 2020-2021 or the year after that. Overall this looks like a very solid pickup for Quinnipiac who should develop nicely under Rand Pecknold and the assistant coaches.

Elite Prospects Player Page
USHL Player Page 

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