Friday, January 4, 2019

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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