Monday, March 20, 2017

Quinnipiac recruiting notes 3/20/17

The Quinnipiac Bobcats men's ice hockey season came to an end this past Friday with a loss in the ECAC semifinals to Harvard University. While it is disappointing that the program did not reach the NCAA tournament for a fifth consecutive season, the team gave everything they had against the Harvard Crimson, a team that has been one of the best teams in the country this season and is a number one seed in the NCAA tournament for a reason with a good chance at winning the National Championship. The coaching staff led by Rand Pecknold and his associate coaches Bill Riga and Joe Dumais did a great job leading this team to 23 wins with the amount of injuries they had at times and the lack of overall depth on the roster. They have a good nucleus of players returning along with a very solid incoming recruiting class that has the potential for some immediate impact. While the college season is over for Quinnipiac, it doesn't mean the hockey season is over as many junior programs are still going on so we will continue to do the recruiting notes until season concludes. Let's take a look at how some of the future Bobcats did over the past week.
Nick Kent (photo by Delta Hockey Academy)
Delta Hockey Academy Elite 15 2001 defenseman Nick Kent had a great week. Not only was he selected to take part in the USA Hockey NTDP Evaluation Camp, he had the best three game stretch of his season in the playoffs for Delta. In three round robin playoff games, Kent was tied for the team lead in playoff scoring with six points (2 goals and 4 assists). While Delta did not advance past the round robin stage of the playoffs, Kent's play should give him some good momentum heading into the evaluation camp this week with a shot at winning a spot on the Under-17 team for next season. Best of luck to Nick this week.

Also joining Nick at the evaluation camp is fellow 2001 defenseman Dom Fensore. I talked a lot more about both of them last week in this piece. I also wish Dom the best of luck this week as he also looks to win a spot on the Under-17 team for next season.
Odeen Tufto (photo by Dan Hickling)
1997 forward Odeen Tufto had a three point game Saturday for the Sioux City Musketeers (USHL) in an 8-1 win over Team USA. Tufto had a two goals and an assist in the win. It's the third three point game of the season for him along with his tenth multi-point game. The Chaska, Minnesota native has 40 points (13 goals and 27 assists) in 52 games played for the USHL Western Conference leaders. Tufto's 27 assists tie him for 8th in the USHL in that category. Hockey scout Kirk Luedeke took in the Sioux City game and had this to say to me about Tufto after his three point performance. "Quick little slashing skater. Goal lucky- sharp angle & billiard shot but little buzz saw type. Will be good NCAA player".

Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL) 1999 goaltender Keith Petruzzelli picked up his 19th win of the season as he continues to lead all rookie USHL goaltenders in that category. Petruzzelli made 18 saves in a 9-1 Lumberjacks win over the Tri-City Storm on Friday. Petruzzelli, the top ranked North American goaltender in the NHL Central Scouting Rankings is 19-10 with a 2.43 goals against average and a .910 save percentage with two shutouts this season for Muskegon which is second in the USHL Eastern Conference in the standings.

1999 forward Matt Cassidy of the Springfield Jr. Blues (NAHL) had a three point weekend with a goal and two assists. His goal and assist game on Friday was his ninth multi-point game of the season. In 49 games played, Cassidy has 33 points (12 goals and 21 assists).

Sources with the BobcatsHockeyBlog confirm Michael Lombardi, a 1998 forward who played this season with New England Prep Champion Kimball Union Academy has signed to play the 2017-18 season with the Chilliwack Chiefs of the BCHL. This is a good landing spot for Lombardi, who has the talent to flourish in the BCHL and continue his development. He scored 51 points (19 goals and 32 assists) in 39 games played for Kimball Union this season.

With Lombardi finding a home expect other prep and high school players to find a home soon for next season. 1999 forward Matt Fawcett's rights are held by the Sioux City Musketeers so he could land there next season as he already played a couple games with them already this year as an affiliate player. Two North Jersey Avalanche players also will have new teams next season. 1999 goaltender Justin Robbins possibly could land with the Chicago Steel as he was on the teams protected list this season and saw action in one game for the Steel this year. 1999 forward Corey Clifton's next location is unknown at this time, though could be a good fit with a team in the BCHL.

1996 forward Dan Nybondas committed last week and I highlighted him in this piece. Nybondas commitment likely concludes the 2017 incoming class. Playing for the HIFK U-20 team in the Jr. A SM-liiga, Nybondas has 32 points (14 goals and 18 assists) in 48 games played. His playoff statistics are not none at this time.  He is playing on an olympic sheet of ice in Finland as well so he will have to make the transition to the smaller size rinks that are used in the United States. Quinnipiac found him via word of mouth with a coaching staff member traveling to Finland to see him. The hope is that this will lead to Quinnipiac building relationships with the Jr. A teams in Finland where the Bobcats can secure talented Finnish players before they come over to the United States to play junior hockey. Maybe this will help the Bobcats find their own version of Eeli Tolvanen a top Finnish prospect committed to Boston College and playing in the USHL who is expected to be a first round pick in this June's NHL entry draft.

Four commits are currently playing in the playoffs with their respective junior or midget clubs. 1998 defenseman Zach Metsa of the Merritt Centennials is in the second round of the BCHL playoffs. He has one assist in six playoffs games. 1996 defenseman and Hamden native Joe O'Connor is playing the Brooks Bandits in the second round of the AJHL playoffs. Brooks is the odds on favorite to win the AJHL championship as they are loaded with 10 NCAA commits. O'Connor has two assists in two playoff games as Brooks had a bye in the first round. 1997 forward Devin Moore is playing for the Brockville Braves in the first round of the CCHL playoffs. In three playoff games, he has one assist as his team trails two games to one. 2002 forward Jacob Quillan is playing in the NSMMHL best-of-5 finals starting tomorrow against the Cape Breton West Islanders. Quillan has 7 points (1 goal and 6 assists) in 8 games played, highlighted by his overtime winner in Game 2 of the semifinals against Halifax McDonalds. Here is the video of his overtime winner.

One other note of importance is 1998 forward Khristain Acosta who is currently playing for the Sioux Falls Stampede is no longer committed to the program.

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

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