Saturday, February 24, 2018

Scouting the Enemy: Clarkson Golden Knights

It's the final game of the regular season and Quinnipiac is in control of its destiny for a home playoff series. All they need is a win against a slumping Clarkson team that is 1-5-4 in its last ten games. These two teams played at the beginning of the month in which Quinnipiac raced to a 3-0 lead after two periods before winning 4-1. Clarkson is currently 3rd in the ECAC and needs either a win or tie or a Harvard loss or tie to clinch the #3 seed. A Quinnipiac win gives the Bobcats home ice as either the 6th or 7th seed depending on the result in the Colgate game. A loss by Quinnipiac could create chaos and send them on the road next weekend.

Clarkson Key Players: Sheldon Rempal (F), Nico Sturm (F), Devin Brosseau (F), Jack Jacome (F), Josh Dickinson (F), Terrance Amorosa (D), Kelly Summers (D), Jake Kielly (G)

The Golden Knights have fallen a bit recently especially on offense as in the last ten games of the season they are only scoring 2.3 goals per game. Collectively on the season they are scoring 3.12 goals per game but for much of the season they were in the top 5 in scoring. Did Clarkson peak too early offensively? Its possible. Sheldon Rempal (38 points) went through a seven games stretch with just two points has started to heat back up for Clarkson with 7 points (3 goals, 4 assists) in his last three games. Nico Sturm has been cold with only 4 points (2 goals, 2 assists) in his last eight games while Devin Brosseau only has 3 points (2 goals, 1 assist) in his last eight games as well. For Clarkson to have any success moving forward they need that line to carry them going forward like they did earlier in the season. Freshman Jack Jacome (26 points) continues to push Quinnipiac's Odeen Tufto for ECAC rookie of the year as most of his points have come in conference play. The Clarkson power play is number one in the country at 27.74% (38-of-137) so playing disciplined and staying out of the box is key for Quinnipiac.

Clarkson has continued to excel defensively though the goals allowed has crept up to 1.91. When they met at the beginning of the month this number was at 1.54. The talent is strong but were they due to regress at some point as giving up just a goal and half plus seemed unsustainable all season long. Seniors Terrance Amorosa (plus 13) and Kelly Summers (plus 10) have been good and let a quality defensive core. The Golden Knights are strong on the penalty kill at almost 85.19% (115-of-135) good for 8th overall in the country. Quinnipiac showed that they can exploit the Golden Knights on defense putting four up on them at the beginning of the month. They will need to do it again if they want home ice next weekend.

Goaltender Jake Kielly has had a mini slump in the month of February. He has seen his goals against rise to 1.85 while his save percentage drop to .929 still impressive numbers. He has let in some goals he shouldn't which has contributed to some struggles. At this point you have to wonder if he is a bit fatigued playing in 32 games so far this season. Granted Clarkson will have a first round bye which should give him much needed rest but something has not been right for a month now and its not the time to have struggles with the playoffs set to commence.

Clarkson despite its struggles over the past month is still a tough team to beat at Cheel Arena as they have gone 8-2-5 there this season. However Quinnipiac is 5-1-1 in their last seven trips to Cheel Arena so the Bobcats have had a lot of success in the past in Potsdam.

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