Thursday, April 27, 2017

Early preseason poll has Quinnipiac at number 10 stock photo
An early look at the 2017-2018 college hockey season by College Hockey News saw the Quinnipiac Bobcats men's ice hockey come in as the number 10 team in their Super Early Top 10 for next season. Senior College Hockey News writer Joe Meloni had this to say about the team in an excerpt from the Quinnipiac portion of the poll.

'It's a good sign for a program when it misses the NCAA tournament and everyone wonders what exactly went wrong. The Bobcats won 23 games last season but picked up just two wins against NCAA tournament teams in seven tries. If a few of those results flip, the Bobcats likely see their run of NCAA tournament appearances grow to five straight.

The Bobcats bring back 89 goals from last year's team, losing only Tim Clifton from their top scorers. The departures of Connor Clifton, Derek Smith and others from a successful senior class won't be easy to replace. However, QU has a become a program that reloads, rather than rebuilding."

On paper Quinnipiac should be one of the upper echelon teams in the ECAC again with 17 players returning, with many of them having played large roles last year or in past seasons. The Bobcats will bring in 11 new faces which includes two transfer blue-liners that practiced this year with the team. The recruiting class is highlighted by standout goaltender Keith Petruzzelli who should be the highest Quinnipiac draft pick in this June's NHL Draft. Joining Petruzzelli, will be AJHL scoring champion Matt Forchuk, speedy play-making forward Odeen Tufto, Hamden native defenseman Joe O'Connor along with transfers Brandon Fortunato (BU), John Furgele (UNH) and five other freshman who will bring quality depth and talent to the program.

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

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Chase Priskie named captain for 2017-18 season

Chase Priskie (photo by Matt Dewkett, SBNation)
Rising Quinnipiac Bobcats sophomore defenseman Chase Priskie was named the 45th captain of the program by his teammates and coaches for his junior season as announced by head coach Rand Pecknold at the teams annual postseason hockey banquet where other award winners were also announced. Along with Priskie, senior defenseman Kevin McKernan was named the teams assistant captain for next season.

Both players were in the QHockeyBlog poll for who should be the program's next captain. Chase Priskie won with 43% of the vote while McKernan tallied 9% of the vote. Both are deserving of leading the program in the 2017-2018 campaign as the team will have a lot of new faces on the ice. Priskie, a draft pick of the Washington Capitals will be the first junior captain in seven years since Scott Zurevinksi in the 2010-2011 season and only the eighth junior all-time to serve as the captain of the program.

Other award winners in the evening were Tim Clifton as the teams Most Valuable Player while Alex Whelan was named the Rookie of the Year. Both Tommy Schutt and Connor Clifton won the Coaches Award and Craig Martin was named the winner of the 7th Player Award. Derek Smith won the teams Academic Award following his win as the ECAC Hockey Academic Award winner.

Congratulations to the next captain Chase Priskie and the assistant captain Kevin McKernan along with this year's banquet award winners.

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

Friday, April 21, 2017

Corey Clifton signs National Letter of Intent

Corey Clifton signing his national letter of intent to play at Quinnipiac
Corey Clifton, the younger brother of graduating seniors Connor and Tim Clifton has officially signed his national letter of intent to play hockey for the Quinnipiac University Bobcats. The 1999 forward had verbally committed to Quinnipiac on April 22, 2016.

Clifton split his season playing for the North Jersey Avalanche 18 under team that made it all the way to USA nationals. In 48 games split between Tier I and the AYHL, Clifton had 35 points (14 goals, 21 assists). He added 3 points (2 goals, 1 assist) in 6 combined playoff games between both leagues. In 3 combined games at USA nationals, Clifton had a goal and 2 assists but North Jersey did not advance out of pool play. He was a teammate of fellow Quinnipiac commit in goaltender Justin Robbins. As a senior at Christian Brothers Academy High School in New Jersey, Clifton had 23 points (13 goals, 10 assists) in games played as he helped lead the team to the state semifinals.

Clifton is expected to play at least one senior, possibly two of junior hockey before enrolling at Quinnipiac. It is not known at this point where he will play for junior hockey next season. Congratulations to Corey and his family on his signing with Quinnipiac.

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

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sam Anas called up to the Minnesota Wild

Sam Anas (photo courtesy of Iowa Wild)
Former Quinnipiac Bobcat standout forward Sam Anas was called up to the Minnesota Wild along with 14 other players for the teams postseason push as put out in a press release by the organization. It is the first NHL call up for Anas who had 28 points (12 goals, 16 assists) in 66 games played for the Iowa Wild (AHL). He is the fourth former Quinnipiac player called up to the NHL following Michael Garteig (Vancouver Canucks), Matthew Peca (Tampa Bay Lightning) and Connor Jones (New York Islanders).

Anas was an integral part of three Quinnipiac teams that reached the NCAA tournament and the 2016 team that reached the Frozen Four before falling in the National Championship game. He finished his Quinnipiac career with more than a point per game average (1.09) as he had 132 points (69 goals, 63 assists) in 121 games played.  He was the NCAA top collegiate rookie as freshman back in the 2013-2014 season as well as the ECAC rookie of the year. He was a two time second team All-ECAC player (2014, 2015) and was on the first team All-ECAC in 2016. In 2014-15 he was a second team East All-American.

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

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Rand Pecknold named assistant for US National Team

Rand Pecknold (photo by Matt Dewkett/SBN)
Quinnipiac University men's ice hockey coach Rand Pecknold has been named as one of the assistant coaches for the United States National Team that will compete at the 2017 IIHF Men’s World Championships May 5-21 in Cologne, Germany and Paris, France as was announced today by USA Hockey. Pecknold will serve under Detroit Red Wings Head Coach Jeff Blashill and serving along side former RPI head coach Seth Appert as well as former New York Islanders head coach Jack Capuano who will also serve as assistants on the staff.

Pecknold was selected from an advisory group led by Jim Johannson of USA Hockey along with Stan Bowman (Chicago Blackhawks), Dean Lombardi (USA Hockey), David Poile (Nashville Predators) Ray Shero (New Jersey Devils), Dale Tallon (Florida Panthers) and Don Waddell (Carolina Hurricanes).

In 23 seasons at Qunnipiac, Pecknold has won 469 games which ranks 5th among active coaches and is also a school. He has won three ECAC regular season championships (2013, 2014, 2016) and one ECAC tournament championship (2016) and taken the Bobcats to the five NCAA tournament appearances (2002, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016), two Frozen Fours (2013, 2016) and two national runner-ups (2013, 2016). He was named the 2016 Spencer Penrose National Coach of the Year after leading Quinnipiac to a 32-4-7 record.

Congratulations to coach Pecknold along with his family on this great achievement in his coaching career.

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

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Michael Lombardi signs National Letter of Intent

Michael Lombardi signing with Quinnipiac
Kimball Union Academy 1998 forward Michael Lombardi made it official today when he signed a national letter of intent to play hockey at Quinnipiac University. The Barrington, Rhode Island native had 51 points (19 goals, 32 assists) in 39 games helping Kimball Union win its first title in 35 years in the elite division of the New England Prep Championships.

A three year player at Kimball Union, Lombardi also played for the Boston Jr. Bruins Under 18 short season team this year, where he had 22 points (9 goals, 13 assists) in 14 games played. This coming fall, Lombardi has signed to play for the BCHL's Chilliwack Chiefs who are currently in the league championship finals. He is expected to play one season for Chilliwack before enrolling in Hamden in the fall of 2018.

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

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Keith Petruzzelli named 2nd ranked North American goaltender

Keith Petruzzelli (photo by Muskegon Lumberjacks)
Incoming Quinnipiac University men's ice hockey freshman goaltender Keith Petruzzelli has been named as the number two ranked goaltender according to the final NHL Central Scouting rankings that came out today. He fell one spot behind Boston University's Jake Oettinger who finished an impressive freshman season with the Terriers going 21-11-3 with a 2.11 goals against average, a .927 save percentage with 4 shutouts and helping lead them to the NCAA West Regional final.

Petruzzelli is in the midst of his own impressive season with the USHL's Muskegon Lumberjacks where in 35 games played he went 22-10 with a 2.40 goals against average and a .918 save percentage with two shutouts. His 22 wins and .918 save percentage led all USHL rookie goaltenders. Muskegon is in the USHL Clark Cup playoffs where it is expected Petruzzelli will get the majority of the starts for the Lumberjacks.

With a high central scouting ranking and scouts raving about his size and talent he should at least be a second round selection and possibly could slip into the back of the first round depending on the team. Should he go higher than the 4th round, he will he become the highest selection ever by a Quinnipiac player followed by Devon Toews who was selected in the 4th round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders.

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

Monday, April 10, 2017

Quinnipiac recruiting notes 4/10/2017

The college hockey season is officially over and the Denver Pioneers won their 8th national championship and first since 2005 with a 3-2 win over Minnesota Duluth. Denver is a worthy champion as they were best team all season long. Right now the only hockey being played is obviously the NHL and junior leagues that are heading to or are currently in the playoffs. There were a bunch of Quinnipiac commits that played this past week including multiple commits playing in the USA Hockey National Championships in many age brackets. Let's take a look at how a bunch of the future Bobcats did.

Ethan Phillips
2001 forward Ethan Phillips had a strong tournament with 4 goals, 1 assist in four games played as the the Selects Academy 15 under team fell in the semifinals 5-4 in heartbreaking overtime fashion to the same Yale Bulldogs squad that stunned them in the New England regional championships. He had a shorthanded goal in the semifinals and setup Selects first goal of the game. His teammate P.J. Fletcher, another 2001 forward had two assists in four games played with both of them coming in the tournaments first two games against the Phoenix Jr. Coyotes and Oakland Jr. Grizzlies.

Victor Czerneckianair, a 2002 forward playing for the Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers had one goal in three games played as his team went 0-3 in pool play in the 14 Under division. His goal came in the team's final game, a 5-3 loss to the Phoenix Jr. Coyotes.
Corey Clifton (photo by Chris Rotolo, Asbury Park Press)
Corey Clifton had a solid tournament in the 18 under division for the North Jersey Avalanche 18U team. In three games played, the 1999 forward and the younger brother of Connor and Tim Clifton had 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists) as the team finished 2-1 in pool play but did not advance. His teammate, 1999 goaltender Justin Robbins played in two games going 1-1 with a 2.50 goals against average and a .898 save percentage. Both players will be moving on from the Avalanche next season. Clifton's destination is unknown at this point while Robbins was an affiliate player of the Chicago Steel and has a good chance of being there next season.

1997 forward Odeen Tufto finished the regular season with an impressive 48 points (16 goals, 32 assists) in his first USHL season. After starting the season with the Fargo Force and getting traded to the Tri-City Storm, Tufto was traded once again to the western conference leading Sioux City Musketeers where in 21 games had 20 points (8 goals, 12 assists). His team opens the Clark Cup playoffs on Friday against the Des Moines Buccaneers.

Top goaltending prospect Keith Petruzzelli finished the season on a strong note with a 36 save performance in 5-2 win over the Chicago Steel on Friday. Petruzzelli finished the regular season 22-10 with a 2.40 goals against average and a .918 save percentage and had two shutouts. He will lead Muskegon into the first round of the Clark Cup playoffs starting Friday against the Dubuque Fighting Saints.

Matt Cassidy's season has come to an end. The 1999 forward out of Medford, New Jersey finished his first season with the Springfield Jr. Blues with 38 points (15 goals, 23 assists) in 56 games played. Its unknown if Cassidy will return to Springfield or head to the USHL as he was on the affiliate list this season for the Green Bay Gamblers.

1996 defenseman Joe O'Connor and the Brooks Bandits have moved on the the AJHL finals where they will face the Whitecourt Wolverines in a best-of-7 series. O'Connor did not have any points over the last two games as his playoff line remains at 2 goals, 6 assists in nine games played for the Hamden, CT native.

We highlighted this yesterday but both Dom Fensore and Connor Tait were selected in the OHL Priority Draft on Saturday. You can read more about it here.

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

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Two Quinnipiac commits selected in OHL Priority Draft

Two future Quinnipiac commits were selected Saturday in the Ontario Hockey League Priority Draft. 2001 born United States players in defenseman Dom Fensore (P.A.L Islanders) and forward Connor Tait (Team Maryland) both were selected by the Windsor Spitfires and Kitchener Rangers respectively.
Dom Fensore (photo courtesy of USPHL)
Fensore, a smaller quicker defenseman with a great transition game and offensive skill was selected by Windsor in the 8th round. The recruiting website has Fensore a 4.25 star recruit and was the 17th best US born player eligible for the OHL draft. Recently, Fensore took part in the USNTDP evaluation camp and the BobcatsHockeyBlog reported that he has made the Under 17 team even though the roster has yet to be formally announced. Fensore averaged over a point per game for the P.A.L. Islanders and was a power play threat as well. With Fensore making the US Developmental Program, it's unlikely he would head north of the border to play in the OHL ending his college eligibility especially with him being drafted in 8th round and already committed to a college.
Connor Tait (photo courtesy of Gonzaga Prep Athletics)
Tait, was selected in the 12th round by the Kitchener Rangers. A product of Team Maryland, Tait is a combination of size, speed, strength and skill. He is a 4 star according to the website Neutral Zone, and was the 20th best US prospect eligible for the OHL draft. Recently he was selected as the Washington Post Player of the Year after a 39 goal, 22 assist season for his high school team, Gonzaga Prep, which he helped lead to their first league title since 2014. Even with Tait's hockey season in the rear view mirror, he still working to get better with his skills via this Instagram video. As with Fensore, Tait is not expected to head north across the border due to his college commitment and where he was selected in the draft but until he or Fensore step foot in Hamden its always possible players can go the major junior route.

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

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Grading the Bobcats: Second Semester Report Card

Quinnipiac ended the season winning 7 of 8 games prior to losing in the ECAC Semifinals 4-1 against eventual ECAC Champion and Frozen Four team Harvard. The team finished 23-15-2 and made it to the ECAC final four for the 5th consecutive season. While team team didn't reach a 5th straight NCAA tournament, there was still a lot of positives that came out of it for the future and many solid grades the players on the team. Next week the BobcatsHockeyBlog will do a season in review but for now here is the individual grades in the second half.

Offense - B

Overall there was a drop off in scoring from a year ago but that happens when you lose players like Sam Anas, Travis St. Denis, Soren Jonzzon and Devon Toews. The second half of the season saw the Bobcats average a tick over three goals per game coming in at 3.14. Some of that was due to large wins over Brown and RPI. There was some definite improvement and signs from some of the younger players that the team can get back to its high scoring ways of the 2015-16 season.

Craig Martin (So.) - A

Martin was easily the most improved Bobcat from a season ago where he was caught in a numbers game with the amount of the depth the team had. After scoring only 4 points in 18 games a season ago, Martin broke out this season with 27 points (11 goals, 16 assists) in 40 games played. His 7 power play goals was tied for the team lead with Tim Clifton. A plus 1 on the season, Martin also was 4th on the team with 41 blocked shots as he showed the ability to sacrifice himself for the team. He should be a focal point of the Quinnipiac offense in the 2017-2018 season.

Tommy Schutt (Sr.) - A

Schutt had a career high in points with 14 (6 goals, 8 assists) on the season. He is not known as a scorer but means so much to the Bobcats in many other ways. He brings a ton of leadership to the team, wins face-offs and blocks shots. Schutt is the type of player that every winning team needs to have and he was a perfect player for Rand Pecknold who stresses the little things that win games and the senior associate captain embodied that. He recently signed an ATO with the Manchester Monarch's of the ECHL and no doubt will be missed as the program moves to next season.

Landon Smith (Jr.) - B+

Smith finished the season with 8 points fewer than a season ago but was strong down the stretch in the final six weeks of the season scoring 11 points (5 goals, 6 assists). With 97 career points for the Bobcats, he will crack the 100 point mark early next season barring him foregoing his senior season to sign a professional contract. He will be one of the important Bobcat forwards next year where the team will greatly rely on his offense and for him to take a greater leadership torch with the graduation of six seniors.

Tim Clifton (Sr.) - B+

While he didn't finish with the numbers he put up his junior season, Clifton's importance to this team cannot be understated. Finishing with 25 points (13 goals, 12 assists), Clifton was second on the team in shots behind Landon Smith. His ability to win face-offs, battle in the corners, play physical and do the little things in Rand Pecknold's system will sorely be missed. His four years of hard work paid off as he arrived at Quinnipiac as a 3rd/4th line player, finished a 1st line player for the last two seasons and now has a two year free agent contract with the San Jose Sharks. He will no doubt be missed.

Alex Whelan (Fr.) - B+

Whelan was one of the biggest improved players from the first half to the second half. After struggling early in the season with the pace of the college game and practices, Whelan showed what type of player he can be going forward for the Bobcats. While he had only 10 points (6 goals, 4 assists), some of that was due to poor puck luck. He was 5th on the team in shots with 96 and was a dominant force in the playoffs against Brown and St. Lawrence. He plays with a wrecking ball mentality and is willing to get dirty in the corners. Put him through a summer workout program with Brijesh Patel and I think he could be one of the players having a major breakthrough next season.

Thomas Aldworth (So.) - B+

After a four point first half of the season, Aldworth had 12 points in the second half of the season to finish with 16 points (10 goals, 6 assists). His six power play goals were second on the team behind Tim Clifton and Craig Martin who tied for first with seven. Next season, Aldworth is going to be one of the upperclassmen expected to pick up the scoring slack even more and he has the ability to do it. Its been about consistency with Aldworth and at times early in the season he didn't show it but in the second half he was pretty consistent especially in the final nine games of the season. He might have the most skill of any player on the current Quinnipiac roster and just needs to have the confidence and consistency to harness that skill into major production.

Bo Pieper (Jr.) - B+

Pieper had a breakout season as a junior. A season after having 9 points (5 goals, 4 assists) in 42 games, Pieper had 25 points (13 goals, 12 assists) in 40 games played. He was sixth in the team in shots and had five power play goals. He also had six multi-point games on the season. He will be someone that the team will look for some increased leadership along with helping carry the offensive load as a senior.

Luke Shiplo (So.) - B+

This grade is a combination of him playing both as a forward and defensemen. Shiplo was asked to do a lot this season as he played both positions and looked seamless at this times. He finished a plus 5 and had 12 points (4 goals and 8 assists) and elevated his game in the playoffs with points in four of the team's six playoff games. Players like Shiplo are so valuable especially when injuries crop up because he has the ability to play either forward or defense in a pinch.

Tanner MacMaster (Jr.) - B

MacMaster had some injury issues early in the season but still put up solid numbers with 19 points (8 goals and 11 assists). He was great in the Brown playoff series but was held scoreless in the team's last four playoff games. MacMaster blocked 30 shots this year and was also a plus 8. Going into his senior season in 2017 more offense is needed from him as the Bobcats look to return to the NCAA tournament.

Nick Jermain (Fr.) - B

Jermain showed a lot of flashes of very good skill this season in only 26 games. While he had only 6 points (4 goals, 2 assists) he had some impressive goals especially one against Brown on senior night. He potted his first two goals at Ingalls Rink in a win against Yale. Let's not forget the fact that Jermain was suppose to be in the BCHL this season and was accelerated when Sam Anas departed early for the pros. I think Jermain is someone who could break out even further in his sophomore season.

K.J. Tiefenwerth (Sr.) - B-

Tiefenwerth finished the season with 18 points (3 goals, 15 assists) and a minus 3 rating. The small speedy wing was 5th on the team in assists and also blocked 17 shots. He was a solid contributor this past season as he could play a variety of roles. He finished his career in Hamden with 43 points but transferring to Quinnipiac played a huge role in saving his life and nothing could be greater than that.

Kevin Duane (Jr.) - B-

Duane played 29 games this season as he battled some injuries during the season. He put up a career high 13 points (4 goals, 9 assists) but was a minus 3 for the season. He had a stretch from December 2nd to January 13th where he had a point in 8 of the 9 games played in that time span. I didn't think he used his big frame enough to create traffic in front of the net and that is something the team could have used more of this year. He was held scoreless in the playoffs and looked to be a healthy scratch in the semifinals against Harvard. With six forwards coming in for next season's recruiting class this is a big off season for Duane as he could be battling for consistent playing time with some of the newcomers on the roster.

Scott Davidson (So.) - C+

Davidson was used on multiple different lines playing with many different players this year. He couldn't find consistency on the score sheet recording just eight assists for the year after recording 15 points (9 goals and 6 assists) a season ago. Some of it was probably poor puck luck as well. Defensively he was good as he was plus 2 this season along with blocking 27 shots. The Bobcats really needed his production from a season ago to increase and it didn't. He is definitely someone that should rebound next year and have better overall numbers.

Logan Mick (Fr.) - Incomplete

Mick played in six games this season recording two assists. Its hard to give a full assessment on him when he didn't play many games this season. His best game was on the road against Yale in which he recorded his only two assists on the season. This will be an important off season for Mick with six new forwards coming in competing for the same playing time as he will be.

Joe Fiala (Sr.) - Incomplete

Fiala played in four games for the Bobcats this season including senior night against Brown. He didn't record any points this year but only has two points in 32 career games played. He would get an A for leadership from me as he was well liked and showed leadership in the locker room despite playing sparingly in his four seasons in Hamden.

Defense - B+ 

The defense improved in the second half of the season as the they gave up 2.38 goals against per game. There was still some games where they had some hiccups but that happens to all teams at times. A couple of those games happened to be against Harvard and Union, two NCAA tournament teams. As usual the defense blocked shots, provided solid transition and contributed offensively.

Chase Priskie (So.) - A

The talented sophomore matched his production from a season ago with 26 points (7 goals, 19 assists) despite missing two games this season and the team playing five games less than a year ago. He is a power play threat with 20 of his 26 points coming with the man advantage including 5 power play goals. He is an emerging leader and one of the most important players on the roster. When he is playing well it seems like the Bobcats as a whole are doing well.

Kārlis Čukste (Fr.) - A

Cukste had a really good freshman season. The San Jose Sharks draft pick was a late addition to the Bobcats after the loss of Devon Toews. He lead the team with a plus 11 along with being second in blocked shots with 67. He also showed some offensive ability with 15 points (5 goals, 10 assists) and played on the power play and penalty kill units at times this season. He showed strong defensive play all season and showed that he was smart and reliable with the puck as a freshman.

Connor Clifton (Sr.) - B

A year after setting career highs with 28 points and a plus 20 rating, Clifton dipped to 14 points (7 goals, 7 assists) this season with a minus 2 rating. The teams co-captain was third in the team in shots taken with 101 but his penalty minutes were the most he had since his freshman season. This was his only season in Hamden where he had a minus rating as a player. At times he looked inconsistent along with taking a handful of poor penalties. He was fantastic at blocking shots with a team leading 68 for the year and he played well in the playoffs with three goals in six games. His leadership and toughness will definitely be missed in Hamden.

Derek Smith (Sr.) - B

The senior co-captain was solid defensively this year blocking 54 shots which was third on the team. He had 11 assists with a minus 3 rating but missed 8 games this year due to various injuries throughout the season. He brought leadership to the team and was a consistent player on the back-end not only this year but all four seasons in Hamden. He is another player that will be missed.

Kevin McKernan (Jr.) - B

The junior defenseman had his best season with 14 points (4 goals, 10 assists) and a plus 8 rating. He blocked 33 shots and was solid defensively for the team along with being a physical presence on the blue lin . Set to be the lone senior on the blue line next season, its likely he will become one of the leaders to some of the younger defensemen.

Brogan Rafferty (Fr.) - B

Rafferty cooled off a bit in the second half after scoring 15 of his 24 points in the first half of the season. He had a very solid freshman season with 24 points (2 goals, 22 assists) and helped man the point on the power play and had 13 points on the man advantage. He made some mistakes defensively this year but that is expected as a freshman. I would expect that to get better as he grows more comfortable and gets more experience. He was one of the better freshman defensemen in the ECAC and has started to generate NHL interest.

Goaltending - B+

We came into the season with this position being an open competition. While Chris Truehl won the job to begin the season it was Andrew Shortridge who ran away with the job in the second half of the season. This will truly be a position of strength next season with Shortridge returning as the starter but will likely be heavily pushed by top goal-tending prospect Keith Petruzzelli.

Andrew Shortridge (Fr.) - A

Shortridge was a tremendous down the stretch seizing the job from junior Chris Truehl. Prior to the semifinal loss to Harvard, Shortridge in his last 20 appearances had a 1.79 goals against average and a .931 save percentage as a freshman. He finished the season with 26 games played along with a record of 13-7 with a 2.08 goals against average and a .920 save percentage and one shutout. The work put in with goaltender coach Jared Waimon paid off as his play really helped the Bobcats turn things around in the final weeks of the season to make it to Lake Placid.

Chris Truehl (Jr.) - B

Truehl played in only six games in the second half of the season after being supplemented in net by Shortridge. He won two of his five starts in the second half with his wins being Boston College and Yale. He struggled in a pair of back to back starts against Robert Morris and Harvard which opened the door for Shortridge who took the opportunity and ran with it. He gives the Bobcats quality depth in goal and will be part of what could possibly be the strongest goal-tending in the country next season with Shortridge and the addition of Keith Petruzzelli.

Coaching Staff - B+

23 wins is nothing to sneeze at and with the injuries this team sustained at times along with the limited roster depth, it made things tough with some rough patches in the season. The coaching staff did a really solid job getting the team on the right track in the second half along with turning to Andrew Shortridge full time down the stretch. The freshman class developed better than expected with key contributions on defense from Brogan Rafferty and Kārlis Čukste along with freshman Alex Whelan and Nick Jermain who took big strides in the second half of the season giving this program something to build upon for next season. The team is expected to have 11 new faces which includes two transfers that practiced with the team this season so there should be much greater depth and talent with next years program with many talented commits heading to Hamden in the fall.

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

Monday, April 3, 2017

Quinnipiac recruiting notes 4/3/17

Its the week of the Frozen Four in Chicago and while Quinnipiac is not in it this season, that doesn't mean the college hockey season is over yet. Quinnipiac associate head coach Bill Riga has interviewed for the RPI job and could possibly be one of the finalists for the gig. His loss, if he were to be offered and accept the RPI job would be a huge impact on the Bobcats recruiting in the future as he has recruited many of the talented future players that Quinnipiac has in its pipeline. Moving on from that, there are still a few Quinnipiac commits playing in the regular season along with some in the playoffs. Let's take a look at a few of them over the past week of game action.

Keith Petruzzelli (photo by Muskegon Lumberjacks)
It was a strong weekend of play for 1999 goaltender Keith Petruzzelli of the Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL) as he made 64 of 68 saves in two games played. He won his start on Friday against Bloomington 5-2 while losing a shootout 3-2 to Team USA on Saturday. Petruzzelli has been strong in the last six weeks of the season giving up two goals or less in 8 of his last 11 starts. The top rated goaltender in North America will likely take the lead role in goal for Muskegon in the Clark Cup playoffs. On the season, Petruzzelli is 21-10 with a 2.41 goals against average, a .917 save percentage and has two shutouts.

1997 forward Odeen Tufto had his five game point streak come to an end in yesterday's Sioux City Musketeers (USHL) 4-1 win over Tri-City. Tufto had a goal in Friday's 4-2 win over the Sioux Falls Stampede. He finished the five game point streak with 10 points (5 goals, 5 assists). On the season, Tufto has 47 points (16 goals, 31 assists) in 57 games played. Those totals tie him for 11th in scoring in the USHL. He has three games left in the regular season to try to eclipse 50 points. 
Matt Cassidy (photo by Joni Coons)
Matt Cassidy had two assists this past weekend for the Springfield Jr. Blues (NAHL). The 1999 forward out of Medford, New Jersey has had points in 6 of his last 7 games totaling 7 points (3 goals, 4 assists). In 54 games played, Cassidy has 37 points (14 goals, 23 assists). Springfield has two games left in the season as they did not qualify for the playoffs. 

1996 defenseman Joe O'Connor has been a point per game player in the playoffs so far for the Brooks Bandits (AJHL). In 6 playoffs games he has 7 points (2 goals, 5 assists). The Hamden, Connecticut natives team is currently tied at a game apiece in the AJHL south division finals. Over the weekend he had a goal and two assists as the team split the first two games of the series.

While the official US National Development program roster has yet to be formally announced, the BobcatsHockeyBlog reported that per a source, defenseman Dom Fensore made the team. Congrats to Dom and his family on this great accomplishment.

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

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Connor Jones called up to New York Islanders

Connor Jones, Courtesy: Puck Stopper Photography
Former Quinnipiac Bobcats standout forward Connor Jones, '14 was recalled today by the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League. Its the first call NHL call-up for the 26 year-old Jones, who in 56 games for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers has 18 points (5 goals, 13 assists) with a plus-8 rating. He is expected to be in the Islanders lineup tomorrow when they play the Buffalo Sabres.

On February 22, 2017 the third-year pro signed a one-year, two-way (NHL/AHL) contract with the Islanders through the remainder of the season. He plays in Bridgeport along three other former Bobcats in his brother Kellen, Devon Toews and Travis St. Denis. This is his second season with the Sound Tigers as a season ago he recorded 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in 51 games last year. He also appeared in three Calder Cup Playoff games with the Sound Tigers in 2015-16.

In four seasons at Quinnipiac, Connor played in 153 games totaling 129 points on 49 goals and 80 assists. In his junior season he helped lead the Bobcats to the programs first ever Frozen Four in Pittsburgh back in the 2012-2013 season. After finishing his standout career with the Bobcats, Jones signed with the AHL Oklahoma City Barons and then had a stint with the Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL before arriving in Bridgeport. Congrats to Connor on this great achievement in his hockey career.

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