Saturday night the No. 4/6 Quinnipiac Bobcats travel to Hamilton, New York in their first visit to Colgate's new Class of 1965 Arena. The new arena has been a project years in the making and should help elevate Colgate's recruiting to a certain degree. On paper this is a team that is one of the least talented teams in the ECAC along with Brown and Princeton. That said they have a solid coach in Don Vaughan who has led Colgate behind the bench since the 1992-1993 season. He has taken three Raider teams to the NCAA tournament in his time in Hamilton (2000, 2005, 2014). He usually does a good job getting the most of out of the limited talent he has on the roster. However a season ago expectations were high in Hamilton and the bottom dropped out from under the team and they finished with an 11-24-2 record. Expectations are low this season for Colgate as they were picked 11th in the preseason coaches poll and 10th in the preseason media poll. So far they have not played great at home with a 1-1-3 record in the new barn.
|Class of 1965 Arena (photo by Colgate Athletics)|
Offensively, Colgate got cleaned out from last years team. They lost their top four scorers who combined for 114 points (48 goals and 68 assists) in the Spink brothers (Tyson and Tyler), Mike Borkowski and Darcy Murphy. So far they are ranked 49th in the nation in scoring offense at 2.36 goals per game but of the the ECAC teams that ranks 8th (RPI, Dartmouth, Brown and Princeton have worse offenses). They have had to rely on a handful of underclassmen for production this season with the top five scoring forwards either a freshman or sophomore. The teams leading scorer is sophomore Adam Dauda who has three goals and five assists in nine games played. Two freshman are the second and third leading scorers on the team in Bobby McMann (2 goals and 5 assists) and John Snodgrass (6 assists). A couple of other underclassmen have shown some production in sophomore Hunter Racine (3 goals and 1 assist) and freshman Jared Cockrell (2 goals and 2 assists). The lone draft pick up front is senior Tim Harrison (2013 6th round, Calgary) who has two goals and two assists on the season. For a team that has struggled offensively this season, Colgate has a middle of the pack power play at 29th in the country converting at 17.57% clip (13-of-74). Quinnipiac defensively should be able to match up well with this team, as they have the ability to close passing lanes and take away space against a team that does not have a lot of offensive talent. The Bobcats need to be able to force the inexperienced Colgate offense to make mistakes in turn capitalizing off those mistakes to produce offense of their own.
On defense the Raiders are a middle of the pack team as they are 34th in the nation scoring defense at 3.09 goals per game. Its another area where they are playing many underclassmen. They are led by two seniors in Brett Corkey (2 goals and 3 assists) and Jake Kulevich (1 goal and 4 assists) who are the 4th and 5th leading scorers on the team respectively. The players who have seen the most game action from the blue line for the Raiders are freshman Ross Craig (1 goal 2 assists), freshman Jacob Panetta (2 assists), sophomore Ken Citron (2 assists), sophomore Willie Brooks (1 goal) and freshman Paul Meyer. They are not a defense that wows you with talent or is great in transition but but they do a solid job with the talent they have. They do stand out on the penalty kill where they have killed 87% (67-of-77) of the opposing teams power play opportunities.
|Charlie Finn (photo by Dave Schwarz/St. Cloud Times)|
In goal they start four year starter Charlie Finn who has 49 career wins prior to Friday's game against Princeton. Finn is a smaller goalie in net at 5'11 175 pounds but has the ability to cover a lot of the net with quickness and agility. A season ago was the worst of Finn's career at Colgate when he went 10-23-1 with a 3.28 goals against average and a .899 save percentage. He has played in nine games so far this season and has bounced back a bit with a 2-4-3 record with a 2.67 goals against average and a .911 save percentage. He battled off season surgery and had to battle out highly touted recruit Colton Point a 2016 5th round draft pick by the Dallas Stars for the number one job.
Overall this is a very winnable game for Quinnipiac, as they are the more talented team across the board than Colgate and have a big coaching edge as well. As long as the Bobcats do not take dumb penalties and they can dictate the game on their terms there is no reason that they shouldn't walk out of Class of 1965 Arena with 2 ECAC points.
Jonathan Singer is a 2004 Quinnipiac alum. You can follow him on Twitter @jonathan_singer.
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