|Captain Nick Jermain got the Bobcats on the board first with a back handed goal|
It was a lone game for Quinnipiac this weekend with a Sunday afternoon game against Hockey East foe Vermont. A strong sixty minute effort led to a 4-0 shutout win for the Bobcats as they moved to 4-1 on the young season as they now head west next weekend to face Arizona State for a pair of games. Here are my thoughts and observations from the win over Vermont.
- Just five games into this young season I thought Quinnipiac had its best effort so far. They started fast with two first period goals and never looked back as they scored two more goals, one coming in the second and third periods respectively. This is the type of effort the Bobcats need to bring on a night in and night out basis if they want to go deep into March and possibly April this season.
- This was a big start for Keith Petruzzelli and he delivered. Coming into this game the junior goaltender had a sub .900 save percentage (.890) and his goals against average was over 2.50. Those numbers couldn't keep up if the Bobcats have NCAA tournament hopes this season. Granted this was an offensively challenged Vermont team but Petruzzelli was strong with 21 saves and making sure the Catamounts did not find the back of the net. More of these games are going to be needed for Petruzzelli to silence the doubters out there and to fend off freshman Evan Fear as well.
- Four different Bobcats scored and three had multi point games. Captain Nick Jermain had a pretty back-handed goal to get the scoring started while Ethan de Jong, Wyatt Bongiovanni and Joe O'Connor had the other goals to balance the attack. Bongiovanni and de Jong each had an assist to go along with their goals while freshman Skyler Brind'Amour had his first career multi point game with two assists. Odeen Tufto had another assist (7) but has yet to find the back of the net five games into the season. That has to change and hopefully soon.
- Great job by the Quinnipiac penalty kill which had struggled in the early going this season. They went three for three killing Vermont power plays and had a big five on three early in the third period that they killed off which prevented any Vermont comeback.
- The same can't be said about the Bobcats power play which was 0 for 5 on the night including a five on three they had in the third period. There is just too much cycling the puck and not enough good looks on net. It seems the passes aren't crisp either. They just need to shoot the puck and try to get some luck because the extra passing has not seemed to help. This is definitely an area of concern right now at this point in the season because they are going to see better teams especially defensively.
- I liked the fact that Rand Pecknold went with the 13 forwards yesterday. I usually like the extra defensemen but Vermont is much better on the back end than they are up front and having an extra forward helped create more chances and different looks. The six defensemen Quinnipiac had back there were really strong clearing pucks and traffic. It definitely looks like they may start to gel on the defensive end as the talent is there to do so.
- I wasn't that impressed with Vermont and they really have limited talented at best. Stefanos Lekkas will steal them some games but he can't do it alone. That is offensively challenged team and will struggle to score goals this season. I have a feeling it will be another long winter for the folks in Burlington and could end with a coaching change at the end of the season.
- Next week is a big challenge for Quinnipiac as these are important non-conference games against Arizona State. The Sun Devils are clearly not as good as last season especially with the loss of goaltender Joey Daccord who turned pro. But these games will be at tiny Oceanside Arena which is always a tough place to play for opposing teams due to its low ceilings. However to me these games are must wins for Quinnipiac and when I say that I say they need to sweep the Sun Devils as I'd expect a regression from them this season.
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