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.

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