Saturday, February 2, 2019

Thoughts and observations from Quinnipiac's 4-2 road win over #10 Clarkson

Craig Martin finished with a goal and an assist in Quinnipiac's big 4-2 win over Clarkson

Quinnipiac entered Cheel Arena to face a Clarkson team that not only was ranked 10th in the country but a team that had only lost one home game all season to Yale. The Bobcats left Cheel on Friday night 4-2 winners in one of the best wins of the season for these young Quinnipiac Bobcats. Quinnipiac got two first period goals from Odeen Tufto and Michael Lombardi before Clarkson scored in the second and third periods to tie the score but freshman TJ Friedmann scored his first collegiate goal late while Craig Martin added an empty netter to seal the win. Here are my thoughts and observations from last nights game.

- Not only was this game huge in terms of ECAC points it was a boost to Quinnipiac's pairwise ranking as well. Coupled with Minnesota-Duluth's loss to Colorado College, Quinnipiac ended the night in the third spot in the pairwise rankings which will determine the seeds for the NCAA tournament. Its safe to say this win over another team in the top 16 in the pairwise was huge especially with it being on the road. The win also moved Quinnipiac into a tie with Yale for 3rd in the ECAC standings just two points behind Cornell for the top spot.

- Clarkson is a really good team. They made Quinnipiac work for everything they got. The Golden Knights brought speed and energy in this game and this was probably the toughest team Quinnipiac has faced outside of UMass this year. Clarkson will be a tough out in the ECAC playoffs, mark my words.

- I said it after the Holy Cross game that I don't expect Odeen Tufto's scoreless streak to continue. Well that streak ended at three games. Tufto scored the first goal by way of the power play and also assisted on the Craig Martin empty net goal. Tufto is a big time player and players like him are hard to keep off the scoreboard for a long stretch of time.

- What a time for TJ Friedmann to score his first collegiate goal. Just as this game looked to be heading to overtime, the freshman found the back of the net with 2:29 left in the game to give the Bobcats the lead. It just shows you the depth of this roster even with the youth that there are so many guys that can contribute on a nightly basis which helps make this deep dangerous come March.

- Speaking of Friedmann. I am not sure why he was wearing #28 last night which is Joe O'Connor's uniform. Did they forget to pack Friedmann's jersey by accident?

- Andrew Shortridge made 25 saves and showed that consistency in between the pipes that has made him the go to guy down the stretch for Quinnipiac. His poise in net has been fantastic and he has come up with some clutch saves including one on a breakaway last night.

- I love what Craig Martin brings to this team. Last night he assisted on the game winning goal and had the empty net goal to seal the win. Outside of a five game scoring rut earlier in the year, he has been a consistent scorer for this team after having a bit of down season in his junior year. He is four points away from his career high in points (27) set as a sophomore but more importantly he is a plus 11 and has played with a lot of discipline this season and toughness.

- Luke Shiplo returned from injury suffered in the Colgate game on Long Island and found himself in the lineup at forward. He has shown so much versatility going from defense to offense and vice versa. Not many players in the game can do that and Quinnipiac has a few of these guys that are selfless in nature and are willing to put the team ahead of their individual goals. Shiplo is one of these players and while he likely won't have big stat numbers he plays a great role for this team that is needed due to his incredible versatility.

- I thought Peter Diliberatore had a strong game on the blue line. He made an incredible block shot on a rush into the defensive zone by Clarkson that could have turned into a potential scoring opportunity. He also assisted on Friedmann's game winner. Since returning from winter break he has six points his in his eight games.

- Quinnipiac cannot lose focus after this huge road win over Clarkson. While the opponent is a large step down with St. Lawrence, Quinnipiac needs to stay the course and take care of business at Appleton Arena tonight and come away with two ECAC points. Anything less would be a disappointment especially after last nights huge win. Four points this weekend now becomes a must if this team wants to win the Cleary Cup as regular season champions.

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