Monday, October 7, 2019

Thoughts and Observations from Quinnipiac's 4-4 exhibition tie against Brock

Quinnipiac and Brock played to a 4-4 tie on Sunday in Hamden

The Quinnipiac 2019-2020 hockey season officially kicked off this past weekend and while the game did not count it was still good to see this team back on the ice since we last saw them bowing out in the Allentown regional final to eventual national champion Minnesota-Duluth. This game had some good things and some not so good things and areas that they will need to work on. Here are my thoughts and observations from the exhibition game against Brock.

- The team never gave up despite trailing by a goal late and down 4-2 at the end of the second period. That shows to me this team likely has some strong character to make a comeback down from two goals. Trailing late William Fallstrom tied the game with the Quinnipiac goaltender pulled forcing overtime. While they didn't get the game winner in overtime it was still good to see this team put a late effort to tie the game. They will likely have a few more of these types of games this season so its good that they can show a come from behind effort.

- Odeen Tufto was held out of the game with a minor undisclosed injury and from a source, it is nothing serious. He probably could have played from what I have heard but keeping him out against a CIS team was smart. Those teams are notoriously dirty and we saw it again yesterday so keeping the Bobcats best player out of the game was the smart and right call. Get him healthy and ready for AIC this weekend.

- It was another game where Quinnipiac clearly dominated in shots (57-23) but only could muster four goals. These hit some posts but they need to finish there chances better especially some of the younger players. It was the veterans in Cukste, Jermain, Bongiovanni and Fallstrom providing the goals. Only one freshman recorded a point in PJ Fletcher with a lone assist. But the talent is there with the freshman to produce, they just need to show they can.

- The Bobcats have more size than they have had in awhile especially up front which I feel can get against some of the physical teams that the ECAC brings each and every week. Ten of the fifteen Bobcat forwards are six feet over. The Bobcats will need to use there size to out-physical teams especially in the corners to force turnovers that turn into extra possessions and into goals.

- I wouldn't anoint Keith Petruzzelli the guaranteed starter just yet. While Andrew Shortridge is no longer here, this is the season for the junior goaltender to take the reins and have a breakout campaign. However, he was shaky in his two periods of work giving up four goals on 12 shots before giving way to freshman Evan Fear who didn't surrender a goal and made 11 saves through the third period and into overtime. I think Fear is going to challenge Petruzzelli very soon and its possible that head coach Rand Pecknold platoons the two early in the season because it seemed the defense played a lot better in front of Fear than they did for Petruzzelli.

- Speaking of the defense, it was an up and down performance for them. The first two periods were shaky surrendering four goals on just 12 shots. But they improved in the third period and overtime with Evan Fear behind them clearing pucks better and holding Brock to 11 shots in the third period and overtime. It will be a work in progress mixing and matching with the 11 defenders they have on the roster but they should get better over the course of the season.

- Nick Jermain had a highlight reel goal and that's not a first for him as he had one against Brown a few years ago. The senior captain has always had the skills to be a scorer but he just needs to be healthy for a full season. He is looking to close out his Quinnipiac career with a strong season.

- Jayden Lee despite being one of the smallest players on the roster and the smallest Bobcats defensemen looks like he has the ability to quarterback a power play which will be needed on the back end especially with the graduations of Chase Priskie and Brandon Fortunato. I really liked his puck movement on the power play and he has a hard slap shot to boot. He should be a guy that gets a bunch of assists on the man advantage.

- Now its onto the regular season and the opening weekend is no cupcake. A home and home with AIC the defending regular season and tournament champion of Atlantic Hockey. The Yellow Jackets reached their first NCAA tournament and only knocked out top seed St. Cloud State before falling in a closer than the score indicated game against Denver 3-0 in the regional final. AIC is well coached and is a veteran team with a fair amount of upperclassmen and will provide a tough opening weekend test for a young Quinnipiac team.

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