Thursday, February 21, 2019

Weekend Preview: St. Lawrence/Clarkson

Captain Chase Priskie will play his final two regular season home games this weekend

St. Lawrence Head Coach: Mark Morris (3rd year) 29-64-11, 335-220-53 overall

2018-2019 St. Lawrence record: 4-24-2 (2-14-2 ECAC)

All-time vs. St. Lawrence: St. Lawrence leads series 15-14-5

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

Its been three weeks since Quinnipiac last played and beat St. Lawrence and in that time the Saints have yet to get a single win. They tied Dartmouth last Saturday and the night before skated to a tough 3-2 loss against Harvard. Since the 7-2 loss to Quinnipiac, St. Lawrence has been competitive in the last two weeks of ECAC play. Will they bring that same effort this weekend against Quinnipiac. Right now that is unknown but you can never overlook an opponent even as one as bad as St. Lawrence has played this season. Quinnipiac needs these two points as they continue to chase Cornell in the standings for the Cleary Cup crown.

St. Lawrence comes to Hamden with one of the worst offenses still in the country ranked 55th averaging 1.93 goals per game. That however isn't even the worst in the ECAC as that honor belongs to Colgate. Over their last four games, St. Lawrence has only average 1.75 goals per game.  They still do not have a goal scorer who has double digits in goals scored. Freshman David Jankowski has seven goals this year while sophomore Cade Gleekel has six and freshman Zach Risteau has five. Its a young offense with very experience that is suffering growing pains but should get better in the next couple of years. The Saints power play is almost middle of the pack at 17.2% which is 35th in the country.

The Saints continue to boost the worst defense in college hockey. However when these teams last played they were giving up over four goals per game. That number is now just below that at 3.93 per game. So there has been some slight improvement but part of it can be attributed to playing Colgate and Dartmouth in that four game stretch. Is this defense turning a corner or will Quinnipiac blow them out of the water like they did when they met in North Country? The penalty kill has not improved either as it has dropped to 77% which is down from 78.% when these two teams previously met.

Freshman Emil Zetterquist has played the past four games in goal and has given up 2.75 goals per game for the Saints. Those numbers may not be anything special but they are vast improvement over what St. Lawrence has done over the course of the season. At 6'1, 190, Zetterquist brings solid size in net for the Saints. This will be his first game against Quinnipiac should he get the start on Friday which is likely considering he has started the past four games.

Associate Captain Scott Davidson will be honored on senior night on Saturday

Clarkson Head Coach: Casey Jones (8th season) 139-126-36

2018-2019 Clarkson record: 20-10-0 (11-7-0 ECAC)

All-time vs. Clarkson: Quinnipiac leads series 16-11-3

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)

The last four weeks have been up and down for Clarkson. Over that time frame the Golden Knights have gone 4-4 and are currently sitting at 13th in the pairwise rankings which is a tough spot to be in this late in the season. For Clarkson they are going to need this game along with the Cornell one the following week in order to boost their pairwise status as they are clearly close to the cut line and a possible bubble team heading into March. For Quinnipiac they need to be able to continue to keep pace with Cornell in the race for the top seed and the regular season title.

While Clarkson has a very good offense, over the past eight games there has been some drop off. They are no longer in the top ten in goals scored as they are currently 17th at 3.10 goals per game while the power play has also dipped below 20% at a current rate of 19.4%. This is still a dangerous offense lead by Nico Sturm's 36 point and Haralds Egle's 31 points. Freshman Josh Dunne is third on the team with 11 goals scored while Jack Jacome and Devin Brosseau have 20 points apiece. It will be interesting to see if their recent offensive issues translate a bit this week on the road.

The defense has also slightly slipped in terms of stats but not a great as the offense has. Currently they are allowing 2.00 goals per game which is 7th in the country up from the 1.88 they allowed when Quinnipiac played them in North Country. The penalty kill is just a shade off from where it was a month ago as it is currently at 84.9% which is good for 12th in the country. Their top four of Aaron Thow, Greg Moro, Jordan Schneider and Connor McCarthy have been workhorses playing in every game this season for Clarkson.

Jake Kielly continues to put together another fine season in between the pipes for the Golden Knights. He has started all 30 games for Clarkson and is 20-10 with a 1.92 goals against average and a .929 save percentage with five shutouts this season. Against Quinnipiac the last time out he made 19 saves and gave up three goals in a 4-2 loss to the Bobcats. Over his last eight games during the up and down stretch for Clarkson, his goals against average is 2.12. Despite a little bit of down play, he has the capability of turning in a strong effort on a nightly basis.

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