Thursday, January 31, 2019

Weekend Preview: Clarkson/St. Lawrence

Andrew Shortridge and the Quinnipiac Bobcats look to have a strong weekend in North Country

Clarkson Head Coach: Casey Jones (8th season) 136-123-36

2018-2019 Clarkson record: 17-7-0 (8-4-0 ECAC)

All-time vs. Clarkson: Quinnipiac leads series 15-11-3

Clarkson Key Players: Nico Sturm (F), Haralds Egle (F), Jack Jacome (F), Devin Brosseau (F), Josh Dunne (F), Aaron Thow (D), Greg Moro (D), Connor McCarthy (D), Jake Kielly (G)

Quinnipiac now treks on its longest road trip of the season as they head to North Country to face Clarkson and St. Lawrence. First up it a match-up against #10 Clarkson at Cheel Arena. The Golden Knights are hot having won nine out of their last ten games with the lone loss a 4-3 overtime defeat at Harvard. They have quality wins against Arizona State and defending champion Minnesota-Duluth this season. They have a couple of bad losses to Canisius and St. Lawrence that they probably would like to have back especially if they are close to the cut line towards the end of the season but this is a very solid team and will be a big challenge for Quinnipiac on the road.

Clarkson's offense is legit. They are 8th in the country in goals scored per game at 3.38 and they boost a lot of talent up front. Nico Sturm leads the team with 12 goals and 29 points while Haralds Egle has 11 goals and 26 points. Freshman Josh Dunne has been strong for Clarkson with 8 goals on 13 points while Jack Jacome and Devin Brosseau have 19 and 17 points respectively. Not only are they strong offensively they bring a top 20 power play unit to the table converting at a rate of 20.73%. Quinnipiac is going to have to play strong sound defense as this is a team that can score at will at times.

Not only do they boost a top ten offense, they are also one of the top defensive teams in the country just behind Quinnipiac. They yield just 1.88 goals a game which is good for 3rd in the country and this is without guys like Kelly Summers and Terrance Amorosa who graduated after last season. Senior Aaron Thow is the leader of the group but it has been the emergence of junior Greg Moro, junior Jordan Schneider and sophomore Connor McCarthy that have paved the way for success for Clarkson. The defense was thought to have a bit of a drop off with the departure of Summers and Amorosa but they have been just as good as a season ago. Just as Clarkson has a good power play they have probably an even better penalty kill at just a shade over 85%. Quinnipiac will need a strong effort from its forwards winning neutral zone battles along with hunting the puck if they want to put some goals in against Clarkson and they also need to be able to create traffic in front of Kielly.

Goaltender Jake Kielly has been one of the most consistent goaltenders in the ECAC and probably the country the past three seasons. He had a strong season a year ago when he helped lead Clarkson back to the NCAA tournament and he has added to it with an even better season so far than a year ago. He's played in all 24 games this season and has five shutouts along with a .932 save percentage. Four of his shutouts have come since December 8th so he is in the midst of a hot streak right now.

These two teams for the past few years have usually split the season series. I would expect a hard fought game as not only are they teams jockeying for ECAC position but they are trying to cement their place in the pairwise rankings.

St. Lawrence Head Coach: Mark Morris (3rd year) 28-60-10, 334-216-52 overall

2018-2019 St. Lawrence record: 3-20-1 (1-10-1 ECAC)

All-time vs. St. Lawrence: St. Lawrence leads series 15-13-5

St. Lawrence Key Players: Carson Gicewicz (F), Zach Risteau (F), David Jankowski (F), Cade Gleekel (F), Michael Ederer (F), Jake Stevens (D),

St. Lawrence is by far the worst team in the east this season. A once proud program has been turned into a bottom feeder in three short years by Mark Morris. After a program worst 27 losses a season ago, the Saints are on pace to eclipse that mark this season. I'm not sure where this program is headed under Mark Morris who really never had to build a program in his college coaching career as he was put into a ready made situation at Clarkson. He's basically torn down everything Greg Carvel built and turned it into mush. For people that root for St. Lawrence hockey this era has to be pretty difficult to watch.

While this isn't the worst offense in the country, it is up their with the likes of other ECAC opponents in RPI and Colgate. St. Lawrence averages 1.92 goals per game. They have only scored four or more goals in a game four times this season and three of those were wins including a road win at Minnesota and their only ECAC win over Clarkson. Cade Gleekel leads the team in goals with five along with freshman David Jankowski. Junior Carson Gicewicz is the only Saint with double digit points (11). St. Lawrence also has a power play that has struggled (16.47%)  to find much consistency this season and Quinnipiac does a very good job of limiting opposing teams chances on the man advantage.

You will not find a worse defense in college hockey than the one St. Lawrence has. With no upperclassmen they have to roll with a defense that is entirely made up of sophomores and freshman. They have been atrocious giving up a nation high 4.08 goals per game this season. They struggle to move the puck out of their own zone and that is usually a recipe for disaster. Quinnipiac should be able to take advantage of the inexperience on the St. Lawrence defense especially with the skill they have up front. The penalty kill is below average at 78.7% for the season.

Arthur Brey who was the starter for the majority of last season has a been a disaster in goal much like his two teammates in Daniel Mannella and freshman Emil Zetterquist. They not found a goaltender that has been reliable but a lot of it can be attributed to the poor defense in front of them. Any of the three could get the start for St. Lawrence as not one player has nailed down the job full time.

This is a game Quinnipiac should win and win fairly easily. Its a game that they clearly cannot drop not only for ECAC standings but pairwise rankings as well. Anything less than a win against St. Lawrence would be an utter failure especially where these two teams are right now respectively.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Thoughts and observations from Quinnipiac's 4-1 win over Holy Cross

Quinnipiac won its final regular non conference game 4-1 over Holy Cross

Quinnipiac wrapped up non-conference play with a 4-1 win over Atlantic Hockey foe Holy Cross who sits in last place in their respective conference. The Bobcats got goals from Desi Burgart, Alex Whelan, William Fallstrom and Brandon Fortunato to pace their victory. Here are my thoughts and observations from the game.

- Quinnipiac cleaned up on its non-conference portion of the schedule going 11-1. The only loss was against then #1 UMass on the road but Quinnipiac beat UMass the prior night at home to split with the Minutemen. Prior to the season it was thought that the Boston College and Boston University games would have the biggest pairwise implications. Neither was the case and while Quinnipiac swept those two teams, both are having down seasons by their expectations. It was the UMass games that helped improve the pairwise for Quinnipiac which was not something we saw coming prior to this season. The great record in the non-conference slate has set the Bobcats up to make a return to the NCAA tournament after missing the previous two seasons. Now they just have to finish this season strong.

- I thought with a weaker opponent that we might see Keith Petruzzelli in between the pipes against Holy Cross. Andrew Shortridge made his 7th straight start in goal and was very solid once again with 25 saves on the night. The only goal allowed was when he misplayed the puck behind his own net which cut the Quinnipiac lead to a single goal. Plays like that can't happen especially when you play better competition. The Bobcats are lucky that Holy Cross is a weaker opponent or that play could have come back to bite them. We saw just how these types of plays can bite a team as it happened twice to Quinnipiac in National Championship games when in 2013 Eric Hartzell turned the puck over late in the second period and Yale broke the scoreless tie with four seconds left on the clock. In the 2016 National Championship game, Michael Garteig turned it over on the Quinnipiac power play to Brock Boeser who scored easily to give North Dakota a 2-0 lead. 

- Alex Whelan continues to show why he is an important player on this team. He always seems to be in the right places at the right times, hunts pucks, and gives a ton of effort. Last night he was rewarded with a goal and an assist and now has five points in his last four games. He is also closing in on his career high of points in a season at 19 as he currently has 17.

- It wasn't the cleanest performance last night as this was a game in which Quinnipiac should have won by a lot more than they did. Give Holy Cross some credit as they didn't make it easy at times for Quinnipiac and Tommy Nixon played solid in goal for the Crusaders.

- After two games with no power play goals, the Bobcats last two goals came by way of the man advantage on goals by William Fallstrom and Brandon Fortunato. In order to have continued success, Quinnipiac cannot go multiple games without scoring on the power play. 

- A day after being named the ECAC player of the week for his two goal, one assist performance against Boston University on Saturday, Brandon Fortunato had another goal in the win over Holy Cross. He has been a force for Quinnipiac in the second half with three goals and six assists in his last six games. There is a good chance he could get to 40 points by the end of the season at this pace. 

- Credit to the coaching staff and the captains on the team for not taking Holy Cross lightly in lieu of the big 4-3 win over Boston University on Saturday. Sometimes teams after a big win slip up the following game and while it was not the best game they have played this season, they did enough to get the win and that's all that matters.

- Odeen Tufto has been held scoreless in the last three games for the first time all season. While I don't expect that to continue it is something that bears watching especially with some of the big games that Quinnipiac has coming up with Clarkson (2), Yale (2) and Union. He is such an important player for the Bobcats and someone they need to score in big moments against some of these top teams remaining on their schedule. 

- Quinnipiac won't see the ice again until February 1st when they have a big showdown at Cheel Arena against Clarkson in the annual North Country trip. These two teams along with Cornell and possibly Yale will battle for the Cleary Cup as the regular season champion of the ECAC.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Weekday Preview: Holy Cross Crusaders

Senior Brandon Fortunato and the Quinnipiac Bobcats have a weekday match up with Holy Cross

Holy Cross Head Coach: David Berard (5th Season) 63-76-27 at Holy Cross, 75-82-29 overall

2018-2019 Holy Cross record: 4-14-3 (4-10-2 Atlantic Hockey)

All-time vs. Holy Cross: Quinnipiac leads series 23-5-4

Holy Cross Key Players: Anthony Vincent (F), Neil Robinson (F), Michael Laffin (F), Mitch Collett (F), Peter Crinella (F), Johnny Coughlin (D), Spencer Trapp (D), Erik Gordon (G)

Fresh off a thrilling 4-3 win on the road over Boston University, Quinnipiac now returns home for its final non-conference regular season game prior to ECAC play the rest of the way. They now welcome Atlantic Hockey last place team Holy Cross to Hamden. On paper this has mismatch written all over it but games aren't played on paper but on the ice. Quinnipiac needs to take this game seriously and avoid any mishap that could affect pairwise implications down the road.

Holy Cross suffered a huge blow on offense when its leading scorer of the first half in freshman Matt Barry decided to transfer to Miami University. The Crusader offense is in the bottom third of college hockey averaging 2.52 goals per game. Senior defenseman Johnny Coughlin leads the team in scoring with 17 points including 6 goals from the back end including three on the power play. Freshman forward Anthony Vincent has 12 points but just only one goal this season. Upperclassmen Michael Laffin, Mitch Collett and Peter Crinella have five goals apiece while Neil Robinson has four goals. The Holy Cross power play is middle of the pack at just a shade over 18.5% on the season. Against the better teams in the country like Clarkson, Providence and Massachusetts, Holy Cross has struggled to generate much offense scoring only two goals in three games.

Defensively this is a team that has struggled to keep pucks out of its net. They give up 3.38 goals per game and collectively as a defense they are a minus 27 for the season. There are weaknesses to be had in this defense and a team like Quinnipiac should be able to exploit them early and often especially on home ice. The Crusader penalty kill is average at 80% on the mark but they would be wise to stay out of the box as the Bobcats have the ability to hurt teams on the man advantage.

Freshman goaltender Erik Gordon has a goal against of 3.09 and a sub .900 save percentage at .893. At 5'10 he is an undersized goaltender who will need to stand tall against a potent Bobcat offense. Gordon was a successful goaltender during his stint in the NAHL in the 2016-2017 season but really struggled for the Calgary Canucks in the AJHL a season ago. For Holy Cross to have any success they are going to need Gordon to play like he did two seasons ago to potentially keep this a game.

Quinnipiac is 8-0-1 in their last nine games against Holy Cross which dates back to the 2004-2005 season. With the talent Quinnipiac has this streak should continue. The goal needs to get a win and get out of this game with a clean bill of health prior to re-entering ECAC play.

You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Thoughts and observations from Quinnipiac's 4-3 win over Boston University

Quinnipiac picked up a key road win with a 4-3 win over Boston University

After four attempts Quinnipiac has picked up its first ever win over traditional national power Boston University with a 4-3 win on a snowy late afternoon Saturday at Agganis Arena in Boston, Massachusetts. Instead of a traditional recap here are my thoughts and observations from this game.

- Quinnipiac came to play against a team that on paper has much more high end talent with 12 NHL draft picks including four in the first round alone. Credit to Rand Pecknold and his coaching staff in preparing them well this past week after a tough loss to Harvard. 

- The Bobcats did a great job starting fast again with two goals in the first 13 minutes of the game. They really controlled the first period before Boston University got on the board via a Patrick Curry goal and a brutal defensive zone turnover via a drop pass on the Quinnipiac power play paved the way for Ty Amonte's shorthanded goal to tie the game. It was a lazy drop pass and frankly not something I would do against a team as talented as Boston University. 

- Brandon Fortunato got his redemption. The former Terrrier defenseman who had 40 points in two seasons on Commonwealth Avenue stuck the dagger right through the hearts of Terrier fans when he scored the game winning goal with 2.5 seconds left on the clock. Fortunato also added the Bobcats second goal of the game on a shot through traffic at the point and had the secondary assist on Daniel Winslow's goal in the second period. Fortunato has been one of the Bobcats best players this season and has set a personal season high with 23 points so far this season. Since the calendar turned to 2019 he also has eight points in five games. 

- It's really shocking to see a team as talented as Boston University have a losing record at this point in the season with an 8-9-3 record. While I expect them to likely go on a run, they really did not come out strong against Quinnipiac falling behind early. While we know Albie O'Connell can recruit, I think the jury is still out on him as a head coach.

- The Quinnipiac power play was 0 for 5 against the Terriers and I thought their were times they just passed way too much. Put some shots on net and get traffic in front and good things usually happen. They were trying to always look for that perfect shot and sometimes you just need to shoot the puck. The Terrier power play was not a factor either as they went 0 for 6 in the game. Credit to both teams defenses for not allowing man advantage goals. 

- Jake Oettinger was huge for Boston University in net last night with 40 saves. Without him I think this game would have been a blowout for Quinnipiac. He was that important to keeping the Terriers in this game with many key saves. The first goal he gave up to Desi Burgart was soft as Charmain toilet paper when Burgart slipped one short side. 

- Andrew Shortridge also stood out for Quinnipiac and showed that he is the clear number one in my opinion for this team. He made 31 saves and really made some key ones at critical points in the game. I don't think he can be blamed for any of the goals in this game. The first goal was good puck movement by the Terriers while the second goal was off a terrible turnover by the Bobcats in their own end while the third goal was a snipe by Shane Bowers from in close. He isn't going to miss that shot with his ability. This is the fourth straight start for the junior goaltender and he should see the majority of the bigger games against the best teams down the stretch.

- Peter Diliberatore continues to impress me as a freshman. He made the rare jump from the prep ranks to NCAA hockey which is not done very often and the transition has been pretty seamless. His ability to carry the puck from his own end to the offensive zone is impressive along with being trusted as a freshman on the the team's second power play unit. He already is a plus 11 for the season with 11 points in 23 games. 

- The Quinnipiac freshman class continues to rack up the points as they accounted for six of the twelve points on the night from Bobcat players. So far this season they have accounted for 78 of the 230 points which is 33% of the Quinnipiac offense. 

- This was a chippy game at times with 17 penalties assessed between the two teams and I was not impressed with the Hockey East officials at times especially when Quinnipiac freshman Wyatt Bongiovanni was cross checked to the ice in front of the net and was the one sent off for a roughing call when the Bobcats were on a power play.

You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Weekend Preview: Boston University Terriers

Peter Diliberatore has 3 goals in his last 5 games and takes a plus 10 rating in against BU

Boston University Head Coach: Albie O'Connell (1st Season) 8-8-3

2018-2019 Boston University record: 8-8-3 (7-5-2 Hockey East)

All-time vs. Boston Unversity: Boston University leads series 3-0

Boston University Key Players: Bobo Carpenter (F), Shane Bowers (F), Joel Farabee (F), Patrick Harper (F), Logan Cockerill (F), Dante Fabbro (D), David Farrance (D), Chad Krys (D), Jake Oettinger (G)

The Terriers are a team that is starting to get hot again. After starting the season 4-8-2, Boston University is 4-0-1 in their last five games dating back to mid-December. In those four wins they are averaging 4.5 goals per game as this talented roster is beginning to finally come together for another possible second half run. Quinnipiac has yet to beat Boston University in three previous meetings and this is likely to be a very challenging game with how Quinnipiac has played recently and the improvement of Boston University in the last month.

While the Terriers average 2.63 goals per game don't let that number fool you. The talent is better than that and they are finally starting to show it with the 4.5 goals per game in their last four wins. Bobo Carpenter leads them with 10 goals and he has been one of the Terriers most consistent players in the past four years on Commonwealth Avenue. Joel Farabee has shown why he was selected in the first round by the Philadelphia Flyers with 16 points in 19 games. Fellow first round pick Shane Bowers is second on the team with 7 goals and is starting to get hot with points in four of his last five games played. While Patrick Harper has been a bit of a disappointment on the stat sheet, he is still a player to watch as he can score at any time. The Terriers power play has also disappointed a bit as they are a middle of the pack team at 17.7% given the talent they have up front.

The Terriers are loaded with talent on the back end with five NHL draft picks all picked in the first three rounds, led by captain Dante Fabbro who leads the team in scoring with 17 points. For all the talent they have they are still a middle of the pack team in terms of goals allowed at 2.84 per game. That number in the last five games during their unbeaten streak is down to two goals per game so they have improved in the past month to where they are talent wise. Penalty kill wise they are a shade under 80% at 79.5% so this is a possible area where the 4th best power play in the country could do some damage.

Junior goaltender Jake Oettinger is likely in his final season with the Terriers and is having a solid season with a 2.54 goals against and a .924 save percentage. He takes up a lot of space in the crease with his 6'5 inch frame and has had good success against Quinnipiac going 2-0 with a shutout as well to boot. It will definitely be a challenge to get shots by him on Saturday.

This is the second to last non-conference game for Quinnipiac and important for pairwise implications as Boston University is a team primed to make a second half run and move up in the pairwise as well. A win against the Terriers coupled with them going on a big run down the stretch would make a potential win like this look much better come March.

You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Lackey's 46 save performance stymies Quinnipiac in 2-1 Harvard win

Quinnipiac fell 2-1 to Harvard on Saturday night

The second half of the season has not been kind to Quinnipiac so far. A night after pumping five goals in a win against Dartmouth, Saturday night saw the Bobcats wrap up a four game ECAC home stand with a 2-1 loss to the Harvard Crimson behind a stellar 46 save performance by Crimson senior goaltender Michael Lackey. The loss gave Quinnipiac a 1-2-1 record on its four game home stand which hurt their chances to extend their ECAC lead as they head into non-conference games for the next two weeks.

The first period saw the teams play mostly even with each other until the Crimson got on the board first by way of the nation's top ranked power play when John Marino ripped a one-timer past a shielded Andrew Shortridge for the games first goal. This was the first back to back start for Shortridge (25 saves) this season and despite the outcome he was excellent once in goal for Quinnipiac.
The Bobcats finish the home stand 1-2-1

The second and third period saw the Bobcats pound Lackey for 34 shots on goal. Alex Whelan was stoned in the second period while Quinnipiac hit a post in third period. It looked liked the game would end in a shutout after Jack Drury's empty net goal but Ethan de Jong put Quinnipiac on the board with 27 seconds left. They had a late chance when a one-timer by Wyatt Bongiovanni was pushed by Lackey before the puck was tied up along the boards and time ran out.

Clearly the star of the game was Michael Lackey who dominated a good Quinnipiac offense with several big times and saves at key moments. Quinnipiac now heads out of conference the next two weeks for single games against a surging Boston University team who are unbeaten in their game five games (4-0-1) and Atlantic Hockey bottom feeder Holy Cross. They do not get back into ECAC conference play until February 1st and its likely by that team they will not be in first place with many teams below them with multiple games in hand.

You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Quinnipiac returns favor, beats Dartmouth 5-1

Quinnipiac beat Dartmouth 5-1 in Hamden on Friday night

Two months ago, Quinnipiac suffered their first loss of the season 5-1 at the hands of the Dartmouth Big Green. Fast forward to tonight and the Bobcats returned the favor on home ice beating the visitors 5-1 to pick up two huge ECAC points after the struggles of a weekend ago. Despite being out shot on the night and losing the face-off dot battle, the Bobcats improved their record to 16-4-1 (7-3-1 ECAC).

The two teams played to a pretty even first period until Daniel Warpecha scored a weird angle goal with twenty seconds left in the period. With Quinnipiac still struggling a bit in the second period, it took the sloppy play of Dartmouth to wake the Bobcats up. Back to back Dartmouth penalties lead to consecutive power play goals from Chase Priskie and Peter Diliberatore. Ethan de Jong scored late second period back breaking goal on a dish from Odeen Tufto.

With the Bobcats fully in command now heading into the third, they quickly extended the lead just 1:24 into the period on Alex Whelan's 7th goal of the season. Craig Martin capped the scoring on the night with his 8th goal of the season. While it wasn't the most crisp performance, Quinnipiac still got a needed win. Andrew Shortridge (24 saves) picked up his 8th win of the season as he could be edging closer to the starting job down the stretch.

Quinnipiac moves to 16-4-1 overall (7-3-1 ECAC)

Three Bobcats had multi point games in Craig Martin (1 goal, 2 assists) while Chase Priskie and Alex Whelan each had a goal and an assist apiece. For Priskie it was his 27th point which is a career high for him in a season. Quinnipiac wraps up the weekend at home on Saturday night against Harvard who dropped a 4-2 game to Princeton Friday night.

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Friday, January 11, 2019

Weekend Preview: Dartmouth/Harvard

After an 0-1-1 weekend, captain Chase Priskie looks to get Quinnipiac back on track

Dartmouth Head Coach: Bob Gaudet (22nd Season) 310-316-75 with Dartmouth. 403-458-106 overall

2018-2019 Dartmouth record: 5-7-2 (4-2-1 ECAC)

All-time vs. Dartmouth: Quinnipiac leads 20-10-2

Dartmouth Key Players: Will Graber (F), Drew O'Connor (F), Quin Foreman (F), Alex Jasiek (F), Carl Hesler (F), Connor Yau (D), Joey Matthews (D), Adrian Clark (G)

Dartmouth has been a very Jekyll and Hyde team so far this season. While they sit in fourth place in the ECAC standings with a 4-2-1 record, overall they are 5-7-2 with a minus eight goal differential. They are a very weird team to figure out because they blasted Quinnipiac in Hanover in early November and put up seven goals on Harvard yet they have lost to the likes of UNH, Vermont and they tied Bentley.

The Big Green offense tore through the Quinnipiac defense in their last meeting. Underclassmen Quin Foreman and Drew O'Connor have been key for them with seven goals apiece. Both of those players scored against Quinnipiac in the first meeting. Keying on those two players will be a must along with Will Graber and Carl Hesler. While Dartmouth got two power play goals against Quinnipiac in that previous meeting, the unit has not been good this season converting at just 13.5%.

Dartmouth's defense which was solid at times in November started to show some cracks in losses against UNH, Boston University and Providence. In their last meeting they blew a 2-0 lead and a late 3-2 lead against Bentley which ended in a tie. This is an area Quinnipiac needs to exploit especially when they get on special teams.

While Adrian Clark was good against Quinnipiac with 24 saves, he wasn't really tested all that much in that game as Dartmouth controlled most of the play. He has struggled since then and has a sub .900 save percentage with a 2.78 goals against average. For Dartmouth to win he will need to play well like he did in the first meeting against the Bobcats.

This is a game Quinnipiac really needs to have especially after the results of last weekend. Overall they are a better team than Dartmouth as they just need to show it on the ice. Special teams will be a factor in this game as the Bobcats have superior special teams than the Big Green and need to use that to their advantage.

Harvard Head Coach: Ted Donato (15th Season) 225-204-55

2018-2019 Harvard record: 6-4-3 (3-3-2 ECAC)

All-time vs. Harvard: Series tied 14-14-5

Harvard Key Players: Lewis Zerter-Gossage (F), Casey Dornbach (F), Jack Badini (F), Jack Drury (F), Adam Fox (D), John Marino (D), Reilly Walsh (D), Jack Rathbone (D)

This is a different Harvard team than the one Quinnipiac saw back in early November. After starting the season 0-2-2 with the some shaky defensive performances, the Crimson have stabilized the back end and found some young forwards who have stepped up.

The Harvard offense has found a rhythm. In its last nine games they have scored 29 goals an average of 3.2 per game. While Lewis Zerter-Gossage leads the team with 10 goals, it has been two freshman forwards in Casey Dornbach (19 points) and Jack Drury (13 points) have been catalysts for the Crimson up front while Jack Badini and Henry Bowlby provide good support as well. This is an offense that features the nations top power play at 36%. They are the only team in the country that is over 30% in that category. It is essential Quinnipiac stays out of the box and in five on five situations against them.

The Crimson defense got off to a shaky start this season but you knew that was not going to last as they are too talented on the back end for those struggles to continue. They have an elite talent in Adam Fox who is averaging 1.62 points per game. Despite only having just a single goal in the last four games, he is the player Quinnipiac needs to key on as he brings so much offense from the back end. Marino, Walsh and Rathbone make up the rest of the top four of their defensive core and they are all really talent players. Walsh and Rathbone bring a good amount of offense from the blue line as well making them ever more dangerous. John Marino is a steady blue liner though his numbers are down from a season ago. For a defense as talented as Harvard they have struggled on the penalty kill at just 75%, so that is an area Quinnipiac may be able to exploit.

Michael Lackey has stabilized play in net for the Crimson after a shaky start. In his last six starts he has given up a total of nine goals. He has a 2.36 goals against average and a .914 save percentage which are career highs for him. Quinnipiac didn't see him the last time as they saw Cameron Gornet and put five past him. Expect Lackey to be in between the pipes tonight for Harvard and he brings the most consistency in net for the Crimson.

Expect this game to be a back and forth affair as these are both very good teams. Both these teams are expected to be in contention for the ECAC crown by the end of the season so this game could have a lot of meaning of possible tie-breaker situations.

You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

In the Pipeline: 1/8/2019

The second half has officially begun and the Bobcats have gotten off to a bit of a rocky start going 1-1-1 in three games. They were stunned 5-4 in overtime on Friday by Colgate a team they destroyed 6-0, six days prior on Long Island. They rebounded to tie #20 Cornell 2-2 on Saturday. This weekend they welcome Dartmouth and Harvard to Hamden in key ECAC games. Lets take a look at how some future Bobcats did this past week.

Jayden Lee is riding a 6 game point streak

BCHL commits

Jayden Lee was strong again this past weekend for the Powell River Kings. He had three assists in two games and is riding a three game point streak (1 goal, 5 assists). On the season he has 32 points (5 goals, 27 assists) in 37 games played.

Skyler Brind'Amour picked up a goal in a lone game for the Chilliwack Chiefs. He is riding a four game point streak with two goals and four assists. In 36 games played this season he has 29 points (10 goals, 19 assists).

The newest commit Ethan Leyh picked up two assists in three games played for the Langley Rivermen. The team scoring leader has 34 points (15 goals, 19 assists) in 34 games played.

Corey Clifton played in his first two games since November 18th and picked a goal this past weekend. He has 19 points (5 goals, 14 assists) in 31 games played.

Tyler Ghirardosi had a four point weekend for the Trail Smoke Eaters with two goals and two assists. In 40 games played he has 23 points (7 goals, 16 assists).

Christophe Fillion had a goal and an assist in three games this weekend for the Wenatchee Wild. He now has 29 points (15 goals, 14 assists) in 40 games played.

Christophe Tellier had a lone assist in three games this weekend for the Wenatchee Wild. He now has 26 points (9 goals, 17 assists) in 36 games played.

USHL commits

Evan Fear gave up 4 goals on 18 shots in a loss to Fargo over the weekend for the Green Bay Gamblers. On the season, Fear is 8-9-2-0 with a 3.42 goals against and an .899 save percentage.

Logan Britt picked up an assist in one game played for the Lincoln Stars. He now has 13 points (3 goals, 10 assists) in 28 games played.

Nick Kent has moved to the Green Bay Gamblers from the Buffalo Jr. Sabres of the OJHL. So far he has played two games with no points and is a -2.

Connor Tait is another Bobcat commit riding a 6 game point streak

NCDC commits

Connor Tait had a goal and two assists in three games for the Jersey Hitmen. He is riding a six game point streak with two goals and four assists.

Yaniv Perets picked up two wins for the Jr. Bruins this past weekend giving up five goals in two games making 75 saves. On the season he is 17-6-0-1 with a 2.29 goals against and a .933 save percentage with three shutouts.

Midget, Prep & High School commits

Jack Silich had two goals and two assists in two games this past weekend for the Chicago Mission U15 team. In 60 games played he has 87 points (37 goals, 50 assists).

Liam McLinskey had three goals and an assist for the Jersey Hitmen 18U team this weekend. In 24 games for them he has 25 points (14 goals, 11 assists). He also had a two goal, one assist game for Don Bosco Prep on January 2nd. He has 23 points (12 goals, 11 assists) in 10 games for them this season.

You can follow the BobcatsHockeyBlog on Twitter @QHockeyBlog.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Quinnipiac and Cornell skate to a 2-2 tie

Quinnipiac and Cornell played to a 2-2 draw on Saturday night

A night after a stunning overtime loss to Colgate, Quinnipiac ended the weekend with a 2-2 tie against rival Cornell. For the second straight game the Bobcats raced out to a multi goal lead only to see the opponent make a comeback. This time though, Quinnipiac found a way to snatch a point from what should be deemed a disappointing weekend in ECAC play.

Freshman Ethan de Jong got the Bobcats on the board just over eight and a half minutes into the game off a rebound from Cornell net-minder Austin McGrath. Quinnipiac found the back of the net again just under six minutes later when fellow freshman Peter Diliberatore hard wrist shot from the almost the edge of the blue line found the back of the net.

The two goal lead was short lived as a Nick Jermain penalty led to a power play goal from Cornell sophomore Cam Donaldson whose strong effort in front of the goal pushed the puck past Andrew Shortridge (30 saves). Cornell tied the game when Morgan Barron raced into the zone on a two-on-one and ripped a shot high past Shortridge.

Odeen Tufto was a force on the face-off tonight against Cornell

Neither team mustered much in overtime with only three shots on goal between the teams. Andrew Shortridge made some key saves in both the third period and one late in overtime. If their is one positive in this game it was Quinnipiac on the face-off dot as they won 50 of 81 face-offs against the Big Red.

Quinnipiac ended the weekend in a first play tie with Yale but their Whitney Avenue rivals have a game in hand. The Bobcats now welcome in Dartmouth and Harvard next weekend to Hamden.

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Friday, January 4, 2019

Colgate stuns #5 Quinnipiac 5-4 in overtime

Colgate stunned #5 Quinnipiac 5-4 in overtime

Sixty minutes. That is the number of minutes you are required to play in order to win a hockey game. Tonight the Quinnipiac Bobcats played probably about fifteen minutes of good hockey in this game and even against a team that on paper is not as good as them in Colgate, fifteen minutes is just not enough to win you a game even against teams lesser than them. The Raiders shocked the #5 Quinnipiac Bobcats 5-4 in overtime at the People's United Bank Center on Friday night in the teams return to ECAC conference play.

What started out as a possible blowout in favor of Quinnipiac turned into one of the most shocking losses that the Bobcats have suffered in a long time. Colgate came into this game one of the worst offensive teams in the country and a team that Quinnipiac easily dispatched on Long Island 6-0. In fact they had beaten Colgate twice by a combined score of 11-0. Games are not won on paper and you need to bring the effort to the rink every night if you expect to win. In this one you have to give Colgate a lot of credit for winning battles to pucks, fore-checking and just being the better team tonight in almost sixty three minutes of hockey.

Things looked promising for Quinnipiac early as they scored just 1:06 into the game by William Fallstrom. They added two more goals by Wyatt Bongiovanni and Scott Davidson and looked to be on their way to another easy win. Colgate found life after Quinnipiac took a too many men on the ice penalty resulted in a Trevor Cosgrove goal. Colgate trimmed the lead to just one goal almost four and a half minutes into the second period when Hunter Racine scored his first of the year.

Quinnipiac had a golden chance to blow this game wide open late in the second period when Colgate took back to back penalties with one being a five minute boarding major on Ken Citron. Just forty-two seconds into the third period saw Quinnipiac extend the lead back to two on Odeen Tufto's 11th goal of the season. The power play ended when Brogan Rafferty took a holding call in front of the Quinnipiac net putting the teams skating four aside. Colgate got a shorten power play and capitalize on a Nick Austin goal to trim the lead back to a lone goal.

Colgate outplayed Quinnipiac for the majority of this game

After Willie Brooks tied the game, Rand Pecknold replaced Keith Petruzzelli (17 saves) with Andrew Shortridge. The newly minted ECAC goaltender of the month for December saved Quinnipiac a few times late in the third period when Colgate sustained a magnitude of pressure in the Bobcats zone. The teams headed to overtime where just over halfway in Ben Sharf fed Jeff Stewart who blew past Brogan Rafferty and put the puck under Shortridge for the game winner. The hard luck loss was the first suffered by Shortridge (7 saves) on the season as he previously had been 7-0.

Brandon Fortunato had three assists while Chase Priskie had two assists as the Bobcats suffered their first ECAC loss since a 5-1 loss to Union back on November 10th. Quinnipiac returns to action tomorrow night for a big showdown with #20 Cornell at the People's United Bank Center.

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Two Bobcats take home ECAC Hockey monthly awards

Peter Diliberatore has a 1-7-8 line his freshman season so far

Fresh off winning the ECAC rookie of the week on Monday, Peter Diliberatore was today name the ECAC rookie of the month for December. He averaged a point-per-game during the month of December, scoring a goal and adding three assists. The 2018 6th round draft pick of the Vegas Golden Knights has a 1-7-8 stat line in 18 game played this season for Quinnipiac with a plus 12 rating.

Andrew Shortridge has a .970 save percentage this season for Quinnipiac

Junior goaltender Andrew Shortridge has been named the ECAC goaltender of the month after allowing a single goal in two games in the month of December. He shut out then #1 UMass 4-0 in Hamden on December 7th with multiple spectacular saves and he gave up no goals in a 6-0 win against Colgate but was pulled for sophomore Josh Mayanja before he could record his 4th shutout of the season. This season he is 7-0 with a .72 goals against average and a .970 save percentage in seven games played with three shutouts. This is the second award for Shortridge as he was named the ECAC goaltender of the week award for the week of December 10th.

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Weekend Preview: Colgate/#20 Cornell

Chase Priskie and the Bobcats head back into ECAC play this weekend

Colgate Head Coach: Don Vaughan (26th Season) 411-430-100

2018-2019 Colgate record: 4-10-2 (1-3-2 ECAC)

All-time vs. Colgate : Quinnipiac leads 23-15-2

Colgate Key Players: Bobby McMann (F), Adam Dauda (F), Josh McKechney (F), Nick Austin (D), Trevor Cosgrove (D), Mitch Benson (G)

The Raiders started the second half with a blowout loss to Quinnipiac on Long Island losing 6-0 and giving Rand Pecknold his 500th career victory. Its the second time this season that Colgate has gotten beaten up by Quinnipiac and its possible it could happen again this weekend when the teams meet up in ECAC play in Hamden.

Colgate has yet to score against the Bobcats this season. They are the worst offensive team in the of any team in the east this year and only trail bottom feeders Alaska Anchorage and Alabama Huntsville in goals for with 1.19 this season. Expecting to put up much against the #1 defensive team in the country is a lot to ask and not expected this weekend.

Colgate's defense is going up against the third ranked offense in the country and an offense that has blasted them 11-0 in two wins this season. This is a daunting task for them especially when they have the worst penalty kill of any team in the country at 70%. The only thing that is going for Colgate as Quinnipiac won't likely have a full student section with students still on break so the crowd effect won't be as daunting.

Neither Mitch Benson or Andrew Farrier has done much against Quinnipiac this season as both have gotten shelled in each game they have played. Neither goaltender has been great all season either but its been Benson who has seen the majority of the starts and with Farrier getting lit up in net last Saturday I could see them turning back to Benson for this one.

Quinnipiac needs this game for ECAC positioning along with the fact they can't afford to lose to bad teams and Colgate is a bad team not likely to get better this season. At this point in the season its about getting wins and staying high in the pairwise rankings.

Cornell Head Coach: Mike Schaefer (24th Season) 443-253-91

2018-2019 Cornell record: 6-5-0 (4-2-0 ECAC)

All-time vs. Cornell: Cornell leads 22-17-3

Cornell Key Players: Mitch Vanderlaan (F), Morgan Barron (F), Cam Donaldson (F), Max Andreev (F), Michael Regush (F), Yanni Kaldis (D), Alec McCrea (D),

Cornell has not played a game since December 1st. So they are over a month without a real game. That ends this weekend when they face Princeton Friday followed by a match up with Quinnipiac Saturday night in Hamden. Its been an up and down season so far for the Big Red. Cornell lost its opening two games of the season to Michigan State but won four straight games before going 2-3 to close out 2018 with a home loss to the Bobcats in that stretch. Health has been an issue and Cornell should get healthy in the second half.

The Cornell offense has struggled this season. A year ago they were top 15 in scoring and now they are middle of the pack. They have one player in Mitch Vanderlaan who averages a point per game and he only has one goal. Sophomore forwards Morgan Barron and Cam Donaldson each have five goals apiece. Two players that were expected to carry more offensive load in Jeff Malott and Brenden Locke have struggled and have four points combined. They have been decent on the power play at just a shade under 20% but they need to find more offense if they are going to make a second half run.

Associate head coach Ben Syer confirmed that Brendan Smith is expected to play this weekend while Alex Green is not expected to play. Both have been dealing with injuries. The Big Red have had consistency issues with their defense this season and injuries have played a role in that. The team that was the #1 ranked defense a season ago when they gave up 1.58 goals per game has jumped to 2.64 this season. They have really struggled on the penalty kill as they are sub 80% in that category at 76.4%. Quinnipiac has the type of offense to make an average defense pay and at this point the Big Red have been just that.

Goaltender Matthew Galajda who was the goaltender and rookie of the year in the ECAC has not repeated his success of a year ago. He has turned a .939 save percentage in his rookie season to a sub .900 save percentage at .885%. His goals against has gone from 1.51 to 2.59 this season. Cornell will not make a run this season if those numbers don't improve. Goal-tending was a major factor on why the Big Red were so good a season ago.

This game has turned into a rivalry game of sorts as both teams really don't like each other. For Quinnipiac they need to continue to put together a strong second half as they make a push for the ECAC crown and the NCAA tournament. This might be the time to face Cornell who have struggled of late and are coming off a long layoff.

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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Q&A with Quinnipiac commit Ethan Leyh

Ethan Leyh with the Langley Rivermen (photo by Langley Rivermen)
It was an early Christmas present for Quinnipiac fans when the Bobcats picked up a big commitment when former Wisconsin commit Ethan Leyh announced he would attend Quinnipiac for the fall of 2019. Rated on the NHL Central Scouting watch list, Leyh is someone that should be drafted come June when the draft commences on his hometown of Vancouver. The BobcatsHockeyBlog caught up with Ethan for a Q&A about his commitment, hockey and more. Thanks for Ethan for taking the time to do this out of his busy schedule.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: First off congratulations on your commitment. What are your emotions like after making this decision to commit to Quinnipiac for next fall?

Ethan Leyh: Obviously, I’m super excited to get the opportunity to come to such an amazing school like Quinnipiac and I can’t wait to get going with all the coaches and players next year. My family and I can’t wait for this opportunity.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: This isn’t your first time committing to a school as you previously had committed to Wisconsin in November of 2016. You were quoted on as you thought that Quinnipiac would be a better place for you and that you cited four 2001 forwards that were already going to Wisconsin as a factor. Was this a decision you were thinking of for awhile or was this a more recent decision due to possible over commitments on the Wisconsin end?

Ethan Leyh: I just felt like Quinnipiac was the right place for me as a hockey player moving forward in my hockey career.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: When did Quinnipiac first reach out to you to show their interest in you as a player. The article also says you visited Quinnipiac recently. What was your impression of the school and the hockey facilities after your visit?

Ethan Leyh: They first reached out to me after I decommitted from my previous school and my first impression of the school was very good as I really like the area and how the school was laid out and everything. As well I was really impressed with the hockey rink and the facilities inside the rink and really got me excited for the future.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: You recently played in the World Junior A Challenge representing Canada West and had a strong tournament with 3 goals and 2 assists along with winning a bronze medal. What was that experience like for you as a player and what can you take away from a tournament going against some really good talent on the ice?

Ethan Leyh: It was a huge honor to be able to wear the Canadian jersey and it was an amazing experience for me to be able to play against some of the worlds best players while learning from some of my teammates. It was an overall amazing experience for me.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: This is your second season in the BCHL with Langley and you are the teams leading scorer this season with 32 points in 31 games played. How has the coaching staff helped you with your development over the past year and a half so far, especially with making the jump to the Junior A level as a 16 year old player?

Ethan Leyh: They have helped me become a faster and smarter player which has really helped me late last year and as well as this year.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Tell us about your overall game as a player. What would you say are some of your strengths?

Ethan Leyh: I would say my strengths as a player are my smarts along with playing below the dots and my shot as well.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: This is your last year of juniors prior to enrolling at Quinnipiac next fall. What are some of the areas of your game you want to improve upon in order to be prepared for the jump to NCAA hockey?

Ethan Leyh: I would like to improve my neutral zone play, as well as my first three steps as the game gets faster and faster as you move up levels in hockey.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: What type of role does the Quinnipiac coaching envision you in next season and was that something you discussed when you made your commitment to the program?

Ethan Leyh: We didn’t really talk about where I would be in the lineup while making this decision. I will have to earn my spot just like everyone else.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Quinnipiac has 11 future commitments including yourself playing in the BCHL. What does it say about the league when Quinnipiac continues to recruit hard in Western Canada?

Ethan Leyh: It’s a very good look on the league as a whole and really shows that development is a very big part of the BCHL and something that this league takes very seriously.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: You are rated a C prospect on the NHL Central scouting watch list which is a potential 4th, 5th and 6th round pick. At this point in the season have you had any contact with NHL scouts?

Ethan Leyh: At this point in the season, I have had some contact with some of these NHL teams.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: You were selected to play in the Canadian Junior Hockey League all-star game. How excited are you to play in that game in January?

Ethan Leyh: I’m super excited to get the opportunity to play in that game and showcase my talents.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Is there any player in the game today that you try to model your game after?

Ethan Leyh: Joe Pavelski of the San Jose Sharks and Kyle Connor of the Winnipeg Jets are two that come to mind.

 Are you a big fan of the Canucks being from Port Moody, B.C. which is just east of Vancouver?

Ethan Leyh: No. I’m a fan of the San Jose Sharks actually.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: How did you become a Sharks fan being despite growing up so close to Vancouver?

Ethan Leyh: I always was a huge fan of Joe Thornton and I met him at a young age and that made me a fan of them.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Who to this point in your life has been your biggest influence to get you to this point in getting an opportunity to play NCAA Division I hockey?

Ethan Leyh: I would have to say both my mother and father.

 What type of person is the Quinnipiac community going to get in you on and off the ice?

Ethan Leyh: They will be getting a very energetic, competitive person who is very responsible and respectful who always has a smile on his face.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Off the ice what are some of things that Evan Leyh enjoys doing?

Ethan Leyh: I enjoy football and basketball along with watching any type of sport basically.

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