Saturday, March 2, 2019

Thoughts and observations from Quinnipiac's 4-1 win over Brown

Quinnipiac clinched a first round bye with a win over Brown

Quinnipiac returned the favor against Brown and beat them 4-1 which was the same score they beat the Bobcats a few weeks ago in Hamden by. It was a solid rebound performance after a brutal second period six days ago against Clarkson led to a 5-3 loss in the regular season home finale on senior night. Once against Quinnipiac responded with a strong Friday night effort like they have all season long. Here are my thoughts and observations from the win over Brown.

- Quinnipiac wrapped up a first round bye in the ECAC playoffs for the first time since the 2015-2016 after a 4-1 win over Brown Friday night in Providence. The 24th win of the season ties the 2013-2014 Bobcats for the fifth most wins in a season in school history. After two seasons away from the NCAA tournament, Quinnipiac will be there again this season and the only thing that remains is if they will get to the tournament as an at-large team or as the ECAC tournament champion.

- A strong second half of the first period was the difference for Quinnipiac as they scored three goals en route to jumping on the Bears. Alex Whelan (11), TJ Friedmann (2) and Odeen Tufto (15) put the Bobcats on the scoreboard in the opening period as the team would never look back against Brown. It wasn't the greatest effort as Quinnipiac was sloppy a bit in the second and third periods and will need to be better going forward in the playoffs if it wants to get to Lake Placid. This time of year the need for a 60 minute effort each night is crucial.

- It took 33 games in the regular season but Quinnipiac got its first short-handed goal of the season courtesy of Alex Whelan. The junior raced into the offensive for a loose puck and ended up getting a quick breakaway before putting one past Luke Kania. Whelan has set a career high for points in a season with 21 a year after putting up 19 as a sophomore. 

- Speaking of Luke Kania he was really good again tonight for Brown with 31 saves and he really keep the score within reach with many key saves as Quinnipiac could have had at least 4-5 goals or more tonight. He has really been a key cog of why Brown has been very good in the second half of the season. 

- Andrew Shortridge was denied a shutout but was still very good in net but really was not tested in this game as he made only 16 saves. Give credit to the Bobcats defense as they held Brown to only 10 shots in the first two periods combined including just two in the second period. Add in the fact that they also blocked 13 shots and it was a good all around effort on the defensive end in order to let Shortridge see the puck well.

- Odeen Tufto surpassed his freshman season point total in five less games as he now has 42 points. With one game in the regular season left plus a potential of up to four to five ECAC tournament games and up to four NCAA tournament games, we could see him reach well over 50 points this season. Tufto has become a much more dangerous player as he has shown more ability to score goals this season than he did a year ago. 

- What a pretty goal that was by TJ Friedmann sniping one bar down in the slot. His celebration was even just as good as well. He has been part of a big contributing freshman class that has 112 of Quinnipiac's 333 points this season which is 33% of their offense. 

- It's pretty amazing that as we close the regular season tomorrow night that not one Quinnipiac player is a minus this season. You have to go back to the 2015-2016 season when every player but Craig Martin was a plus player for the season. 

- The final day of the ECAC regular season should be crazy with Cornell, Quinnipiac, Harvard and Clarkson separated by just two points. In order for Quinnipiac to win the Cleary Cup outright they would need to beat Yale tomorrow night coupled with Clarkson beating Cornell and Union beating Harvard. I think the latter might be pushing it with the way Union has struggled this season. It wouldn't shock me if the first two things happened but Harvard won thus splitting the Cleary Cup with the Crimson. Even teams in spots 5-11 are jockeying for positioning though teams 5-8 are locked into home ice already. The only team set in stone is St. Lawrence at 12th. 

- In order for Quinnipiac to win the Cleary Cup they will need to have an improved effort on Saturday as that has been a weakness for them this season as the record has not been good. Expect Yale to be energized in order to spoil Quinnipiac from possibly winning or getting a share of the ECAC regular season title.

- My final thought of the night is two words. Beat Yale!

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