Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Scouting the enemy: Connecticut Huskies

Quinnipiac has a mid week matchup with it's in state rival the Connecticut Huskies. Mike Cavanaugh's team is off to a solid start at 2-0-2. They swept Alabama Huntsville and followed that up with road ties at Colgate and Rochester Institute of Technology. Connecticut was picked 7th in the preseason coaches Hockey East poll and they have the talent to finish higher than that if things break right for them. All time against the Huskies, Quinnipiac is 13-11-2 with a 7-5-1 record at home and a 2-0 record at High Point Solutions Arena.

They are led by Tage Thompson (2016 NHL 1st round, St. Louis) the 6'5 sophomore forward out of Orange, CT has already tallied 6 points in 4 games (4 goals, 2 assists). Fellow sophomore Maxim Letunov (2014 NHL 2nd round, San Jose) has 5 assists in 4 games played. The top six scorers for the Huskies are a mixture of four sophomores and two juniors.

Tage Thompson, Connecticut Huskies
Quinnipiac's defense will have a tough matchup with this set of forwards as many of them bring a lot of size. The Bobcats must be physical with them in the neutral zone and cut off the Huskies spacing in order to have success. Both Connor Clifton and Derek Smith must rebound from a poor weekend of play at Maine in order for the Bobcats to have success on defense. They are captains of the team and the leaders of the defense that needs to show improvement.

The Huskies feature one of the biggest defenses size wise you will see in college hockey with 7 of the 8 defenseman on the roster 6'2 or greater. They have good mixture of youth and experience on defense. The big names back there are Joseph Masonius (2016 NHL 6th round, Pittsburgh) and Miles Gendron (2014 NHL 3rd round, Ottawa) are both talented sophomores for the Huskies. Quinnipiac will need to use their speed against the bigger Huskies to get into the offensive zone to create scoring opportunities.

Connecticut features two talented goaltenders in senior Rob Nichols (2-0-1, 1.30 GAA .944 Save %) and freshman Adam Huska (2016 NHL 7th round, NY Rangers) who got the start in the 1-1 tie against RIT.  Huska is the bigger goalie in net while Nichols has the experience as this is his 3rd full season as the starter. Either player starting against the Bobcats should be a challenge.

On paper this is a very tough matchup as the Huskies come into the game 4th in the nation in team defense at 1.25 goals allowed and they are 15th in scoring offense at 3.75 goals per game. They have one of the nations best penalty kills early on killing off 20 of 21 power plays on the season. Their power play is middle of the pack scoring on just 3 chances out of 23.

Quinnipiac must be able to stay out of the box this game along with playing better defense in front of either Chris Truehl or Andrew Shortridge depending on which one of them gets the start. Quinnipiac's power play came alive last weekend at Maine with 3 goals. Getting the Huskies to take penalties to get on to the power play would be a good way to win this matchup against a quality opponent. The Bobcats have gotten off to fast starts with leads in each of the 4 games they have played this year. They need to do that again tomorrow night but also be able to close out the game like previous years Quinnipiac teams have been able to do.

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


  1. Coaches should not make sudden changes i believe this makes the team more disturbed and got lose just because of sudden changes. Hope they will win next match.

  2. Its great that you share the best reviews of the matches. Quinnipiac must stay defensive and block the attacks in order to remain in the match. Its good to hear from you. Keep posting!