Monday, March 30, 2020

Q&A with Quinnipiac commit Seamus Campbell

Seamus Campbell playing at the NAHL Prospects Tournament
Its been a little over two weeks since the surprise end to the NCAA hockey season due to the Covid-19 outbreak in the United States. With no hockey and no sports in general in sight, its a good time to get a Q&A up with one of the Bobcats most recent commits in 2002 born forward Seamus Campbell, a Missouri native who spent this past season with the St. Louis Jr. Blues of the NA3HL. Thank you to Seamus for taking the time out of his schedule to do this interview.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: First off congratulations. What are you emotions like after making this decision to commit to Quinnipiac?

Seamus Campbell: Thank you! I'm very excited to have the opportunity in the future to play for a great program on a great campus. I cannot wait to get there and meet the people.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Tell us about your overall recruiting experience with Quinnipiac and in general as well?

Seamus Campbell: I first got into contact with Quinnipiac when I was about 14 years old. Since then I’ve stayed in contact with coach Bill Riga about how hockey was going for me in general. He was always there if i had any questions which was amazing.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Were any other NCAA teams recruiting you as well and if so which ones?

Seamus Campbell: I was talking to Boston University, Boston College and Michigan but I had decided Quinnipiac was the best option as i felt we were farther along in the recruiting process and I could pursue hockey more here.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Your currently playing the in the NA3HL. Most of the commits that we see across the NCAA rarely come from there. What are some of the reasons you are playing in that league and is part of it due to having the ability to still play high school hockey in Missouri ?

Seamus Campbell: Part of me wanted to play out of state this year and while I know that would have been a great option, I also know that this league was great for preparing me for any future junior leagues. It also was a plus to stay in St. Louis to get a local high school education along with playing high school hockey in my hometown. 
BobcatsHockeyBlog: What are some of the areas of your game that you want to improve upon in the next couple of years of junior hockey in order to prepare for the collegiate level?

Seamus Campbell:  I think the biggest aspect of my game that needs improving is my size. I need to spend most of my time working out and getting bigger and stronger to be able to play at the next level.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: You signed a tender with the Aberdeen Wings of the NAHL. What went into that decision to play in that league next season as opposed to playing possibly the USHL?

Seamus Campbell: I had met coach Lang at the NAHL top prospects weekend and he described to me the team and organization. It all seemed really well rounded and it sounded like I'd be a very good fit for the organization.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Your father Jim Campbell played a number of years in the NHL for multiple organizations. What did you learn from him growing up that has helped you get to this point of playing Division I hockey in the future ?

Seamus Campbell: My dad had always said to be the best and never give up. He has a saying my friends and I always quote, “score more”, and they tend to exaggerate his Boston accent. We always find a laugh from that. He also taught us from a young age "ELE" (everybody love everybody). So in a sense he taught me to be extremely competitive on the ice and a great friend off the ice. I think anybody in any league can take those sayings into account for themselves.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: You made history as the first active NA3HL player to make the NHL Central Scouting midterm rankings. Have you had a lot of conversations with NHL teams over that course of the season?

Seamus Campbell:  I haven’t talked to any teams yet, but I heard that during the top prospect camp, there was a few teams that came to watch which I’m super stoked about.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Do you feel any pressure to try to get drafted by a team or are you someone who says if it happens it happens as it’s not the end of the world and it will make you just go to push harder?

Seamus Campbell: I mean I do feel a little pressure because it would be great to get drafted, but if it doesn’t happen wherever I go, I’ll just play the best I can there and see what happens. I will definitely have a "prove them wrong" kind of mentality if I don't get drafted.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: In this day an age you are definitely seeing players drafted in their second and third draft years so there is that there is always next year mentality that you have to have

Seamus Campbell: Definitely. I think everyone should have that type of mentality.

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

Seamus Campbell: 100% my dad. I wouldn’t be here right now without him.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: What should the Quinnipiac community expect from Seamus Campbell on and off the ice when you arrive?

Seamus Campbell: Off the ice at Quinnipiac, I hope to be a student active in the community. I want to make as many friends as possible because I know they’ll last a lifetime. On the ice, I want to be a player who scores the most goals.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: What does Seamus Campbell like to do when he is not playing hockey?

Seamus Campbell: I have felt I always had pretty good artistic side, so I enjoy to drawing and listening to music. I'm not really one who goes to parties and all that as I think it’s too complicated. I'm always down to hang with my friends and watch movies. But i think when I'm not playing hockey, I am just relaxing and trying not to complicate my life.

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Thursday, March 12, 2020

ECAC Quarterfinal: Quinnipiac vs Princeton

Quinnipiac will face Princeton this weekend if the games do indeed get played
I had my preview with Yale just about done and then the news of the Bulldogs bailing out out of the ECAC tournament forced me to revise in an instant. Quinnipiac has a new opponent this weekend if the games even get played due to the outbreak of the coronavirus with 11th seeded Princeton heading to Hamden after the ECAC had to reseed the tournament awarding byes to Cornell and Clarkson to Lake Placid while Quinnipiac faces Princeton and RPI faces Colgate. The winners will join the other teams in Lake Placid barring a further shutdown of the ECAC Tournament or the NCAA in general. This weekend will be played without fans as the NCAA is limiting crowds to all events.

Broadcast Information: ESPN +

Tale of the Tape:

#3 Quinnipiac Bobcats (#14 USCHO/#17 Pairwise) 21-11-2 (14-6-2 ECAC)
2.76 Goals scored per game (Tied 29th nationally)
2.29 Goals allowed per game (Tied 15th nationally)
18.4% Power Play (Tied 30th nationally)
82.5% Penalty Kill (23rd nationally)
Cleary Cup Championships: (4) 2019, 2016, 2015, 2013
Whitelaw Cup Championships: (1) 2016
NCAA Tournament Appearances: (6) 2019, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2002
NCAA Frozen Four Appearances: (2) 2016, 2013

#11 Princeton Tigers 6-20-5 (2-16-4 ECAC)
2.12 Goals scored per game (56th nationally)
3.22 Goals allowed per game (36th nationally)
21.9% Power Play (16th nationally)
79.4% Penalty Kill (42nd nationally)
Cleary Cup Championships: (0)
Whitelaw Cup Championships: (3) 2018, 2008, 1998
NCAA Tournament Appearances: (4) 2018, 2009, 2008, 1998
NCAA Frozen Four Appearances: (0)

Key Players:

QuinnipiacOdeen Tufto, F (38 points), Wyatt Bongiovanni, F (25 points), Alex Whelan F (24 points), Nick Jermain, F (21 points), Peter Diliberatore, D (21 points), Karlis Cukste, D (18 points) Ethan de Jong (18 points), William Fallstrom, F (17 points), Zach Metsa, D (17 points), Keith Petruzzelli, G (2.01 GAA & .920 save percentage, 3 shutouts)

Princeton: Jackson Cressey, F (22 points), Corey Andonovski, F (19 points), Luke Keenan, F (18 points), Liam Grande, F (15  points), Derek Topatigh, D (14 points), Spence Kersten, F (12 points), Mark Paolini, D (11 points), Jeremie Forget, G (2.79 GAA, .912 save percentage, 1 shutout)

ECAC Playoff History:

First playoff meeting

The Skinny:

This is a match-up that was put together just a few days prior to the start of the Quarterfinals due to Quinnipiac's rival Yale withdrawing over concerns of the coronavirus. While we were all looking forward for a few more games against Yale, Quinnipiac now welcomes the Princeton Tigers who upset Dartmouth last weekend to reach this point. This is a mismatch in terms of talent and records on the ice as Quinnipiac is 15 wins better this season than Princeton which has really struggled since its surprise Whitelaw Cup win two years ago. With not much time to prepare for a new opponent it will be interesting to see how both teams adjust on such short notice.

The Bobcats come into this series fresh off a first round bye, rested and relatively healthy. The status of Jayden Lee isn't known yet but if he is back in the lineup that is a big boost on the back end. Quinnipiac is a deeper lineup with many different players that can beat you. While the offense isn't as potent as it was a year ago it is capable of putting the puck in the net in quick spurts. The Bobcats defense is also rounding into form as they have been strong in their last 10 games only allowing three or more goals twice to Clarkson and RPI both teams still playing this weekend. Sprinkle in the dominance of Keith Petruzzelli and Quinnipiac could easily get hot in the ECAC tournament and win the Whitelaw Cup.

The Tigers come into Hamden with their worst team in four years when they won just five games in Ron Fogarty's second season. Not much has gone right for Princeton this season outside of two upset wins last weekend against Dartmouth on the road. Earlier this season Princeton stunned St. Cloud State and AIC for wins. The other two wins came against lowly St. Lawrence. The Tigers lack the elite scoring they had in past seasons but if there is one thing they can hang their hats on its the power which is a very solid 21.9% on the season. The Tigers will need some breaks and get on the power play in order to have a chance to win this series. The defense has not been good this season allowing 3.22 goals per game but they have been saved at times by the solid play of sophomore Jeremie Forget whose 2.79 goals against and .912 save percentage has been a relief for the Tigers on the back end.

The Prediction:

While Quinnipiac and Princeton played some tight games this season back in December, the Bobcats have been rolling in the second half while the Tigers have struggled all season and needed two overtime wins to reach the ECAC Quarterfinals. The run ends this weekend for the Tigers against a stronger Quinnipiac team.

Qunnipiac in 2

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Tuesday, March 3, 2020

2002 born defencemen Brody Gagno commits to Quinnipiac

Brody Gagno, right, challenges for an in the air puck (photo by Jenna Hauck, The Progress)

The Quinnipiac Bobcats picked up another future verbal commitment when 2002 born defencemen Brody Gagno of the Chilliwack Chiefs announced his commitment via a press release from the Chiefs organization. Gagno, a native of Langley, BC, Canada is a 6'0, 176 pound right shot defencemen who has played the last two seasons in the BCHL for Chilliwack as a 16 and 17 year old respectively.

In 105 regular season games played for Chilliwack, Gagno has 4 goals and 10 assists. In 13 playoffs games has recorded a goal and an assist. Prior to his time with Chilliwack he spent two seasons for the Yale Hockey Program in British Columbia. Gagno was a 2017 6th round pick by the Prince George Cougars in the WHL Bantam draft. This summer will be his first NHL draft eligible season. He is expected to play at least one more season in the BCHL to develop his game prior to his arrival at Quinnipiac. He was a teammate of current Bobcats forward Skyler Brind'Amour during the 2018-2019 season.


Elite Prospects Player Page
BCHL Player Page

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Monday, March 2, 2020

Weekend in Review: Brown/Yale

Quinnipiac once against dominated their Whitney Avenue rivals
The Quinnipiac Bobcats ended the regular season on a high note sweeping the weekend against Brown and Yale to finish 21-11-2 and in third place in the ECAC standings with a first round playoff bye for the second consecutive year. The Bobcats also finished with the 8th 20 win season in the last nine years. The team is also back in position for an at-large berth thanks to some good fortune over the week. Here are my thoughts from the weekend that was.

- I don't know what it is but Quinnipiac has seen some real struggles with Brown over the past two seasons. Both games this year were tight low scoring games with Quinnipiac going 1-0-1 against the Bears. In both of the games they scored just two goals and on Friday night that was just enough to secure the two points. Sophomores Wyatt Bongiovanni and Ethan de Jong got the only two goals that paced the Bobcats offense for the win.

- Quinnipiac more than likely will not see the Bears again this season barring ECAC tournament upsets and that's probably a good thing with the way Brown played Quinnipiac this season along with a year ago as well. The only way for Quinnipiac to face the #9 seed Brown Bears would be for the Bears to beat Colgate along with both #11 and #12 seeds Princeton and St. Lawrence upsetting Dartmouth and Harvard respectively. I just cannot see that happening.

- William Fallstrom was a beast on the face-off dot this weekend winning 24 of 34 opportunities over the two games. Puck possession is key for the Bobcats success and if Fallstrom can continue his dominance on the face-off dot that will bold well for the Bobcats chances in the ECAC tournament. Fallstrom also had the primary assist on Ethan de Jong's game winning goal against Brown on Friday night.

- Speaking of face-off dominance, I am not sure I have ever seen a thrashing like the Bobcats did to Yale on Saturday night. Quinnipiac won 40 face-offs to just 13 for the Bulldogs which helped Quinnipiac establish puck possession in a blowout 5-0 win over their Whitney Avenue rivals. The Bobcats will need that trend to continue as they head into the ECAC playoffs as they look to reach Lake Placid for the first time in three seasons.

Quinnipiac now heads to the ECAC Tournament as the #3 seed

- I'm still stunned at Quinnipiac's continued dominance on the ice against Yale. The win was the 24th all time for the Bobcats over the Bulldogs and Yale has had some good teams over the last decade as well. I just don't get how they don't get up for these games against Quinnipiac not only on the road but at Ingalls as well. This has essentially been a one sided match-up in the last decade and not really a rivalry. But winning the Heroes Hat is of an importance to Quinnipiac and that's why they constantly get up for this game time and time again. Personally I think the rivalry with Cornell is much better and I wish the students would consistently attend that game more as the games have been better, more physical and their has been actual hatred between the teams.

- It was great to see the seniors all contribute to the first goal against Yale on Saturday. Nick Jermain got the goal while fellow seniors Karlis Cukste and Alex Whelan had the assists. All three of these players have played a big role in the Bobcats turnaround from a tough first half of the season. Jermain has put together the best season of his four year career with 21 points and outstanding leadership while Cukste and Whelan continue to show the consistency each and every game. All three will be greatly missed once this season ends.

- Skyler Brind'Amour's goal was a thing of beauty when he undressed Yale's Billy Sweezey with a spin move. While the Bobcats had already blown the game wide open prior to that goal, it was still great to see the talent Brind'Amour brings to the ice. While he only has 4 goals and 13 points this season, I think big things are expected for him and I could see a massive jump in his production from his freshman to sophomore season.

- Speaking of breakout candidates, Zach Metsa has capped a really impressive sophomore season. A year ago he finished with just 4 points in 32 games played mostly as the 7th defensemen or as an occasional forward. This season playing strictly on defense, he has 17 points along with being a plus 9. He has been pretty responsible in his own defensive end and has really helped solidify a young defensive core with fellow sophomore Peter Diliberatore.

- Quinnipiac now has a much needed first round bye. They can get fully healthy and hope to have someone like Jayden Lee back for their unknown opponent in two weeks time. I think the Bobcats need to sweep whatever team comes in because at this point they cannot afford to drop anymore games the rest of the way for at-large consideration.

- It was a really good weekend for Quinnipiac with regards to the pairwise. They began the weekend 18th and finished in 14th. That was a big unexpected jump due to Northeastern getting embarrassingly swept up at Vermont while Western Michigan dropped two games against North Dakota. Maine also lost at Providence while Minnesota lost to Michigan. Practically everything broker Quinnipiac's way except UMass Lowell won both of its games against New Hampshire. Currently Quinnipiac has a 50% chance at the tournament according to the College Hockey News Matrix. 41% is via an at-large berth an 9% is as the automatic qualifier as the champions of the ECAC. The Bobcats have to also get help from other conferences as well and they cannot have any surprise tournament champions.

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Friday, February 28, 2020

Weekend Preview: Brown/Yale

Senior Alex Whelan will play his final two regular season home games this weekend
The final games of the regular season take place this weekend as Quinnipiac is still fighting to clinch a first round bye along with keeping its slim chance of an at-large bid alive. In order to do that they will need to sweep the weekend slate of games. Quinnipiac is also closing in on the third seed for the ECAC tournament. One more Quinnipiac win or an RPI loss or a Bobcats tie combined with a RPI loss or tie will clinch a first round bye for the Bobcats in the ECAC playoffs.

Brown Head Coach: Brendan Whittet (11th year)

2019-2020 Brown record: 7-18-2 (7-11-2 ECAC)

All-time vs. Brown: Quinnipiac leads 24-10-7

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)

The Bears are heading for the 9th losing season in 11 years under head coach Brendan Whittet but Brown has played better in its last nine games with a 4-3-2 record. That includes a tie against this Quinnipiac team they will face in Hamden. Brown has been a thorn in the side of Quinnipiac dating back to last season when they took three of four games from the Bobcats including the sweep in the ECAC Quarterfinal series. Brown has a chance to play spoiler once again and win over Quinnipiac would probably end any at-large hopes the Bobcats may have.

The Bears offense still has struggled to score goals at just 1.74 per game this season. Justin Jallen  still leads the team with 9 goals while and Brent Beaudoin is second on the team with seven goals and scored both goals against Quinnipiac in the teams last meeting. While the Bears have been anything but elite offensively, they have the ability to stay in the game and make it close against Quinnipiac especially with how the Bobcats have played down to its competition in recent weeks. If Brown is going to win their 4th in a row at the People's United Center they are going to need goals on the man advantage and greasy goals as well.

Defensively Brown is giving up 2.81 goals a game but give credit to the Bears defense. Over the past five games they have been very solid outside of a stinker of a performance when they allowed five goals to Dartmouth. They have held good offensive teams like Quinnipiac, Harvard and Cornell to just six goals with one of those goals being an empty net one. They have made it tough on some good teams to score and expect the same this weekend when they face the Bobcats.

Gavin Nieto has played well during this winning stretch in the last nine games for Brown especially his last three games in which he gave up a total of four goals in three games. If Nieto is playing at a high level, its been tough to score goals on the Bears and Quinnipiac witnessed that at the beginning of the month when Nieto made 29 saves in a tie against the Bobcats.

Yale Head Coach: Keith Allain (14th season)

2019-2020 Yale record: 12-13-2 (9-9-2 ECAC)

All-time vs. Yale : Quinnipiac leads series 23-7-5

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)

The Bulldogs are likely headed for another season around the .500 mark and its fourth straight season missing the NCAA tournament. Times have been tough for Yale whose program has seen a decline after making six tournament appearance in eight seasons including winning the 2013 National Championship. Yale just can't sustain a prolonged winning streak and has been up and down this season. They played tough against Quinnipiac in their last meeting at Ingalls Rink falling 3-2 in overtime. While Yale doesn't have any at-large chances along with very little chance to win the conference tournament they do however have a chance to spoil the Bobcats final regular season home game of the year.

Yale's offense has only averaged 2.56 goals per game this season. They lack offensive depth in order to have multiple scoring lines. Sophomore Curtis Hall is very talented and his 14 goals lead the Bulldogs. Justin Pearson is tied for the team lead in scoring with Hall at 23 points and is just behind him with 13 goals. Hall and Pearson are clear building blocks as the two are currently both sophomores. Tyler Welsh is in the midst of a breakout season with 22 points as a junior and fellow junior Kevin O'Neill has 15 points. While this season isn't over yet, the Bulldogs do have some nice pieces returning for next season as they look to rebound.

Since these two teams last met, the Yale defense hasn't got any better and is still giving up 3.19 goals per game. Its surprising since they have some good talent back there with Phil Kemp and Jack St. Ivany who are both draft picks. Yale definitely expected more from Graham Lillibridge over his two years in New Haven as he was a really good player in junior hockey. The Bulldogs did a solid job on defense less than a month ago when these teams met but with Quinnipiac fighting for not only ECAC position but an outside chance at a NCAA berth you have to think the Bobcats will be very motivated at home against their Whitney Avenue rivals and be aggressive against a Yale defense that clearly has not been good this season.

Senior Corbin Kaczperski has not been a difference maker this season as he has struggled with consistency. On the season he has a 2.97 goals against average and a low save percentage of 900. Kaczperski has regressed each season he has been at Yale and is unlikely to steal a game against Quinnipiac as he just hasn't played that well against the better teams that Yale has faced.

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Monday, February 24, 2020

Weekend in Review: RPI/Union

Odeen Tufto's two goals lifted Quinnipiac to a 3-2 overtime win over Union
Quinnipiac's final road trip of the regular season was a lot more difficult and ended in just a split of the weekend. Friday night saw the RPI Engineers shut out Quinnipiac 4-0 for the their first ever shut out of the Bobcats. Quinnipiac rebounded on Saturday night with a come from behind 3-2 overtime win over Union. Here are my thoughts from this past weekends games.

- Give a lot of credit to RPI. That is a very underrated hockey team and in just his third season head coach Dave Smith deserves a ton of credit for the turnaround up in Troy. It helps when you top five scorers and six of your top seven are seniors. All of these seniors were recruited under former head coach Seth Appert and they have bought into what Smith is doing there. They have 12 players with 10 or more points so they are getting scoring from different parts of the roster and it has led them to a 15-15-2 record overall including 11-8-1 in the ECAC and still fighting for a first round bye. I think RPI is a team that no one wants to play in the upcoming conference tournament because they are peaking at the right time.

- RPI goaltender Owen Savory has been one of the hottest goaltenders in the country in the second half of the season and that has been a big factor in the turnaround season for the Engineers. His 37 saves gave him his fourth shutout of the second half of the season. The sophomore has the ability to steal games and with the way he is playing right now he could take his team all the way to Lake Placid.

- RPI did a good job capitalizing on special teams scoring two power play goals. They played from in front which is what you have to do against Quinnipiac and they never really gave the Bobcats too many elite scoring chances despite getting out shot 28-13 in the final two periods of play. It was one of the more frustrating performances of the season and only the second time this season that Quinnipiac was held scoreless.

- I think its really important for Quinnipiac to lock down the #3 seed to avoid a potential ECAC Quarterfinal match-up with RPI. Not that the Bobcats couldn't beat RPI in a series, it is that the Engineers are really peaking right now and have a goaltender playing on top of his game which makes for a very dangerous match-up. That would likely only happen if it was a 4-5 match-up so the Bobcats really need to take care of business this weekend and get that number 3 seed.

- I was really disappointed that Quinnipiac struggled to beat a 7 win Union team that has very little talent. More often this season, the Bobcats have played down to some of their competition which is frustrating but that probably happens at times with such a young team. Quinnipiac looked good early before Union got some chances and the early lead and things looked dim when Union scored a little over four minutes into period two but Michael Lombardi's goal just ten seconds after the Dutchmen goal was a huge momentum swing. It gave the Bobcats life in the game.

- Odeen Tufto will probably go down as one of the best players to put on a Quinnipiac sweater and I have seen many great ones stemming from Matthew Peca to Sam Anas, the Jones twins and Chase Priskie. But what Tufto did on Saturday night showed what type of player and leader he is. After going head first into the boards it looked like his night was going to be done at the least. But Tufto returned and not only did he score the tying goal, he scored the power play winner in overtime to give Quinnipiac two big ECAC points. He lifted the team on his back and carried them to the finish line in an important game. He has been one of the most consistent players the last three seasons as he closes in on his third straight 40 point campaign. I really hope he stays for his senior year as they will need his leadership and scoring for a team that could have big expectations.

- The Bobcats 3-2 overtime win over Union was the teams first win at Messa Rink since November of 2014. Messa has been a tough place for Quinnipiac to play at and I just can't figure out why especially since Union has struggled of late. Both of Quinnipiac's wins over Union this year were by just a goal each. Not a good look when the Dutchmen are one of the bottom teams in the ECAC.

- One more Quinnipiac win or an RPI loss or a Bobcats tie combined with a RPI loss or tie will clinch a first round bye for the Bobcats in the ECAC playoffs. Quinnipiac could use a week off to get fully healthy and to work on areas of need for the playoffs. With just a 14% chance at an at-large berth according to College Hockey News pairwise probability matrix, its looking like the way into the NCAA tournament will be winning the Whitelaw Cup in Lake Placid.

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Friday, February 21, 2020

Weekend Preview: RPI/Union

Quinnipiac heads to the New York Capital Region this weekend
Its a big weekend for Quinnipiac hockey as they head to the New York Capital Region for an important road trip needing wins to help in the pairwise rankings along with some help from teams around them. At this point they cannot slip up if they want a potential at-large berth, otherwise they will have to win the ECAC tournament to reach the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive season.

RPI Engineers

RPI Head Coach: Dave Smith (3rd Season)

2019-2020 RPI record: 13-15-2 (9-8-1 ECAC)

All-time vs. RPI: Quinnipiac leads 16-7-9

RPI Key Players: Chase Zieky (F), Patrick Polino (F), Mike Gornall (F), Ture Linden (F), Todd Burgess (F), Zach Dubinsky (F), Will Reilly (D), Simon Kjellberg (D), Cory Babichuk (D), Owen Savory (G)

The Engineers have seen vast improvement in the three years since Dave Smith has been at the helm. Its 13 wins currently, are the most since they had 18 wins in the 2015-2016 under former coach Seth Appert. RPI has a marquee win against Clarkson this year, but still has some troubles with the teams that are better than them. All in all you have to be impressed with how Smith has molded the Engineers in this time in Troy. This will definitely be a team that will be a tough out come the ECAC tournament next month.

While they don't have a player with double digit goals, they have a lot of balance scoring in their lineup with 12 players with 10 or more points this season. The Engineers only score 2.60 goals per game which is far from great. They are getting strong production from seniors Chase Zieky (20 points), Mike Gornall (17 points), Patrick Polino (15 points), Todd Burgess (14 points) and Jake Marrello (13 points). The biggest question is can the seniors elevate their game over the next month to become a factor in the playoffs? RPI's power play has not been good at just 15.1% this season.

RPI's defense has been solid this season allowing 2.83 goals per game. Will Reilly is the leader on defense with a plus 10 rating and second on the team with 17 points. But its the youth on defense that is playing well including freshman Cory Babichuk and Simon Kjellberg. The Engineers defense is clearly one of the reasons the team has played close to .500 this season. RPI's penalty kill is very solid at 83.8% which is 15th nationally.

Owen Savory has been one of the big reasons why RPI has been a very solid team this season and has a chance to make noise come March. While his record of 9-9-2 is far from impressive, his 2.38 goals against and a .920 save percentage are impressive. He has 3 shutouts to boot as well. Since the turn of the calendar to 2020, he has given up one goal or less in seven of the nine games he has played including three shutouts. His two worst games were to Western Michigan (6 goals) and Cornell (3 goals). He is in a groove right and definitely someone who can steal a game.

Union Dutchmen

Union Head Coach: Rick Bennett (9th Season)

2019-2020 Union record: 7-20-3 (5-12-1 ECAC)

All-time vs. Union: Quinnipiac leads 17-16-5

Union Key Players: Anthony Rinaldi (F), Sean Harrison (F), Gabriel Seger (F), Vas Kolias (D), Dylan Anhorn (D), Darion Hanson (G)

It has been a trying season for the Union Dutchmen who are in the midst of their worst season in the Rick Bennett era and worst since the days when Kevin Sneddon was the programs head coach. Its been a massive struggle for Union who have only two wins since the calendar turned to 2020. The lack of talent at Union is a real factor and you have to wonder if Rick Bennett regrets not taking a bigger job when his name came up in the past. Quinnipiac has not won at Union since November of 2014.

Union's offense has been downright awful at 1.80 goals per game. Senior Anthony Rinaldi (20 points) is having a nice season while Union has found a nice player with freshman Gabriel Seger (16 points) but not having Jack Adams due to injury has hurt and Parker Foo missed half the season and has not put up big points like he was expected to. Sean Harrison is the only other forward who has double digit points at 12. The Dutchmen power play which in years past was strong has been terrible this year at 11.8%. Frankly, Union just can't score goals and it is hurting them on the ice.

Union defensively hasn't been great this season allowing 3.07 goals. However, they have found a nice young piece in freshman Dylan Anhorn (13 points, plus 3) to build around. Senior Vas Kolias has had another double digit point season but is a minus 13 this year. Junior Brandon Estes who was very good as a sophomore has taken a step back this season going from 21 points a year ago to just 7 this year. The penalty kill has struggled at just 78.6% this season.

Darion Hanson's play is down this season but its due to a weak defense in front of him. If he wasn't the teams goaltender they would probably have given up the most goals in the country this season. That why having Hanson back there as a veteran presence has helped to a degree. His 2.82 goals against and a .904 save percentage are very average but the team in front of him is just not very good so his numbers are going to look worse. He held Quinnipiac to just two goals the last time these two teams met back in Hamden in mid November.  

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