Saturday, November 23, 2019

Weekend in Review: Cornell/Colgate

Rand Pecknold's team was swept on the weekend in upstate New York (file photo)
It was a lost weekend for the Quinnipiac Bobcats men's ice hockey as they got swept in upstate New York against Cornell and Colgate by scores of 2-1 and 3-1 respectively. After a home sweep last weekend, the hope was for Quinnipiac to at least get a split of the weekend series before the final two games of the first half of the season this weekend against Massachusetts. Here are my thoughts of the weekend that was for Quinnipiac hockey.

- Despite the loss Friday night, I thought Quinnipiac played its best game of the season. They went toe to toe with the number two team in their building and came up short by a single goal. Quinnipiac competed hard and never gave up against a more talented Big Red team that has a team that can reach the Frozen Four in Detroit this year. The officiating in this game wasn't good and William Fallstrom should have been assessed a two minute penalty not a five minute major on his hit late in the third period. Even though they lost, this game will help Quinnipiac in the long run as they look to become a better team in the second half of the season.

- Saturday night was another story. A game that Quinnipiac really needed to have they lost it. They got behind against Colgate, though tied it on the power play yet let in two third period goals including an empty net one to finish the weekend with zero ECAC points. That isn't a great Colgate team they played either but they had more jump in their step than Quinnipiac did.

- Captain Nick Jermain tied his career high with five goals with a goal in the Cornell game. That number should be eclipsed by a bunch by the time the season ends barring good health. Jermain reminds me of former Quinnipiac captain Cory Hibbeler as they both good leaders who were similar sized players that didn't score a ton as they did the little things in order to win.

- I've criticized the inconsistent play of Keith Petruzzelli at times but he was by far the best player this weekend for Quinnipiac. He kept the Bobcats in the game against Cornell with 20 saves with a few highlight ones and Saturday he was strong again with 22 saves including more highlight ones. This is four really solid games in a row for Petruzzelli who looks like he is becoming more comfortable each time out on the ice.

- Petruzzelli was more than good enough for the Bobcats to win this weekend but the offense for Quinnipiac which was expected to be a strength is failing this team. Two goals on the weekend just isn't going to cut it and one of them came on the man advantage. Friday I can excuse the one goal against a stout Cornell team with the best goaltender in the league. But Saturday one goal against a Colgate team that is sub .500 is inexcusable. The offense looked like it had heavy feet and they weren't playing well together. They had 34 shots on goal but not a ton of grade A chances. They may have to shuffle the lineup to see if things can get going because the month of November has not been kind to Quinnipiac as an offense as they have only scored three goals in a game twice this month.

- The power play is still having massive issues. They went zero for five on Friday night before going one for four on Saturday against Colgate. There is a lot of indecision on the power play along with slow passes and not a lot of shots. This gives the opponents easier opportunities to clear the puck and less time in the offensive zone. 

- The defense on this team is starting to come around. They are blocking shots as the defenders blocked 13 shots on the weekend. They are starting to move the puck out of the zone along with playing smart in their own end. Expect this defense to continue to get better as the season progresses as they have talent back on the blue line though it is inexperienced.

- Its the final two games of the first half, Quinnipiac will have a big challenge when they face the 2019 National Runner-Up in Massachusetts. Despite losing Cale Makar to the NHL, the Minutemen still return a strong team that is experienced and knows how to win games. They also have two really good goaltenders they can turn to and are well coached by Greg Carvel. This will be a big challenge for Quinnipiac and with the way the Bobcats are playing right now especially on offense, I think getting a split would be good accomplishment and a good way to end the first half of the season.

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