Monday, January 29, 2018

Scouting the Enemy: Princeton Tigers

It's all conference play from here on out for Quinnipiac. After winning and tying Arizona State out in the desert Quinnipiac returns home for their first home game in almost two months when they take on Princeton. They went 3-2-2 away from home in the first seven games of the second half of the season. Currently sitting at 9th in the ECAC standings, Quinnipiac has a lot of work to do in order to better position themselves for the conference tournament. If not then they could be playing on the road in a playoff series for the first time since 2006 which was the programs inaugural season in the ECAC. The last time these two teams met Quinnipiac won 6-2 back in November. 

Princeton Key Players: Max Veronneau (F), Ryan Kuffner (F), David Hallisey (F), Jackson Cressey (F), Eric Robinson (F), Josh Teves (D), Reid Yochim (D), Ryan Ferland (G)

Princeton has the third best offense behind the top two ECAC teams in Cornell and Clarkson. They average 3.10 good for 19th in the country. The Tigers have some dangerous players who are averaging over a point per game in Max Veronneau (25 points), Ryan Kuffner (22 points), David Hallisey (21 points). A 4th player in Jackson Cressey has 18 points along with 2 game winning goals and 3 power play goals. Princeton has the capability of exploding for a huge amount goals in any game they play. Eight times this season they have scored four or more goals in a game. However they have struggled a bit in the second half of the season going 1-3-2 in their last six games. Only once over those last six games did they explode on offense with a 6-3 win over Dartmouth in their last game on January 13th. Princeton is very strong on the power play at 22.67% (17-of-75). David Hallisey has six power play goals while Ryan Kuffner and Jackson Creesey have three each. The key for Quinnipiac is to stay disciplined and keep this game a five on five game. Giving Princeton power play opportunities could be a recipe for disaster even with the Bobcats solid penalty kill.

Defensively this team has struggled. They have given up 3.25 goals per game which ranks them 48th nationally. They have some nice players on the defensive end in Josh Teves (17 points, plus 6), Reid Yochim (4 points, plus 2) and Matthew Thom (3 points, plus 4). The rest of the defenseman are a combined minus 21. The Tigers have shown at times they are capable of playing solid defense but they just have not been consistent enough at that end. The penalty kill has been solid this season at 81% (60-of-74) good for 30th in the country. It has slipped a bit from the last time these two teams met back at the end of November. Quinnipiac's power play has started to improve in the past couple of games and that will be key for them if they want to make a run down the stretch.

Ryan Ferland has gotten the bulk of the starts this season and is 7-8-3 with a 3.00 goals against average and a .913 save percentage. He has two shutouts this season (Colgate and Arizona State). Quinnipiac pounded him for 5 goals on 30 shots in their game back in November. Princeton needs better goal-tending if it wants to have a strong second half because they have an offense that can really do a lot of damage. Its the back end that is hurting this team from having a better record at this point.

Every game right now for Quinnipiac is important as they try to position itself in the ECAC standings. With Princeton one point behind Quinnipiac, a win by the Bobcats would give this team a three point cushion and a tiebreaker against the Tigers.

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