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.

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