Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Ty Smilanic drafted 74th overall by the Florida Panthers

Ty Smilanic became the highest drafted Quinnipiac player


Quinnipiac freshman forward Ty Smilanic has been selected 74th overall in the third round by the Florida Panthers. The Colorado native becomes the highest drafted NHL draft pick in the programs history surpassing senior goaltender Keith Petruzelli who was selected 88th overall in the 2017 draft. 

He finished the 2019-2020 season with 10 goals and 21 assists in 46 games played for the United States National Developmental Program. However, Smilanic was expected to go higher than the third round but injuries this past season caused his draft stock to fall. Still, the Panthers get tremendous value in the third round as they can await Smilanic's development under head coach Rand Pecknold for the next few seasons as he gets stronger and better as a hockey player.

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Friday, August 14, 2020

2004 Defenseman Aaron Brown commits to Quinnipiac

Aaron Brown during his time with the Quinte Red Devils

 The Quinnipiac Bobcats remain hot on the recruiting trail as they got a verbal commitment from their first 2004 born player in defenseman Aaron Brown of the Wellington Dukes (OJHL). Brown is a 6'1, 163 pound left shot defenseman who has upside as an offensive defenseman. Brown last season played with the Quinte Red Devils AAA Hockey Team in the Ontario Minor Hockey Association-Eastern Toronto Area (OMHA-ETA). He recorded 49 points (14G, 35A) including 40 penalty minutes in 67 games with the Red Devils last season.

Brown who will play in his first season with Wellington this fall was also drafted in the 3rd round of the 2020 OHL Priority Draft by the Flint Firebirds. He was also taken in the 7th round of the 2020 USHL Futures Draft by the Green Bay Gamblers. Brown is definitely a potential flight risk to major junior hockey should he continue an upward development because of the fact he was a top three round OHL draft pick. 

Links

EliteProspects Player Page

  

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Tuesday, August 4, 2020

2003 Defenseman Nick Wallace commits to Quinnipiac

Nick Wallace with the North Jersey Avalanche

It's been five months since our last blog post due to the COVID-19 situation going on in the world that shut down the college hockey season during the conference tournament. With August 1st as the new date juniors in high school can commit to a college, Quinnipiac picked up a new commit in 2003 born defenseman Nick Wallace of the North Jersey Avalanche who recently captained the U16 team. Wallace is a 5'9, 174 pound left shot defenseman with high end skating ability that can moves pucks out of the defensive zone quickly.

Wallace finished the 2019-2020 with one goal and 12 assists in 23 games for the U16 North Jersey Avalanche. He also played two games for the Tri-City Storm (USHL) which made him a second round pick in the 2019 USHL Futures Draft. However, his rights were traded this past May to the Madison Capitols where he will play the 2020-2021 season.

Links




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Monday, March 30, 2020

Q&A with Quinnipiac commit Seamus Campbell

Seamus Campbell playing at the NAHL Prospects Tournament
Its been a little over two weeks since the surprise end to the NCAA hockey season due to the Covid-19 outbreak in the United States. With no hockey and no sports in general in sight, its a good time to get a Q&A up with one of the Bobcats most recent commits in 2002 born forward Seamus Campbell, a Missouri native who spent this past season with the St. Louis Jr. Blues of the NA3HL. Thank you to Seamus for taking the time out of his schedule to do this interview.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: First off congratulations. What are you emotions like after making this decision to commit to Quinnipiac?

Seamus Campbell: Thank you! I'm very excited to have the opportunity in the future to play for a great program on a great campus. I cannot wait to get there and meet the people.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Tell us about your overall recruiting experience with Quinnipiac and in general as well?

Seamus Campbell: I first got into contact with Quinnipiac when I was about 14 years old. Since then I’ve stayed in contact with coach Bill Riga about how hockey was going for me in general. He was always there if i had any questions which was amazing.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Were any other NCAA teams recruiting you as well and if so which ones?

Seamus Campbell: I was talking to Boston University, Boston College and Michigan but I had decided Quinnipiac was the best option as i felt we were farther along in the recruiting process and I could pursue hockey more here.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Your currently playing the in the NA3HL. Most of the commits that we see across the NCAA rarely come from there. What are some of the reasons you are playing in that league and is part of it due to having the ability to still play high school hockey in Missouri ?

Seamus Campbell: Part of me wanted to play out of state this year and while I know that would have been a great option, I also know that this league was great for preparing me for any future junior leagues. It also was a plus to stay in St. Louis to get a local high school education along with playing high school hockey in my hometown. 
BobcatsHockeyBlog: What are some of the areas of your game that you want to improve upon in the next couple of years of junior hockey in order to prepare for the collegiate level?

Seamus Campbell:  I think the biggest aspect of my game that needs improving is my size. I need to spend most of my time working out and getting bigger and stronger to be able to play at the next level.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: You signed a tender with the Aberdeen Wings of the NAHL. What went into that decision to play in that league next season as opposed to playing possibly the USHL?

Seamus Campbell: I had met coach Lang at the NAHL top prospects weekend and he described to me the team and organization. It all seemed really well rounded and it sounded like I'd be a very good fit for the organization.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Your father Jim Campbell played a number of years in the NHL for multiple organizations. What did you learn from him growing up that has helped you get to this point of playing Division I hockey in the future ?

Seamus Campbell: My dad had always said to be the best and never give up. He has a saying my friends and I always quote, “score more”, and they tend to exaggerate his Boston accent. We always find a laugh from that. He also taught us from a young age "ELE" (everybody love everybody). So in a sense he taught me to be extremely competitive on the ice and a great friend off the ice. I think anybody in any league can take those sayings into account for themselves.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: You made history as the first active NA3HL player to make the NHL Central Scouting midterm rankings. Have you had a lot of conversations with NHL teams over that course of the season?

Seamus Campbell:  I haven’t talked to any teams yet, but I heard that during the top prospect camp, there was a few teams that came to watch which I’m super stoked about.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Do you feel any pressure to try to get drafted by a team or are you someone who says if it happens it happens as it’s not the end of the world and it will make you just go to push harder?

Seamus Campbell: I mean I do feel a little pressure because it would be great to get drafted, but if it doesn’t happen wherever I go, I’ll just play the best I can there and see what happens. I will definitely have a "prove them wrong" kind of mentality if I don't get drafted.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: In this day an age you are definitely seeing players drafted in their second and third draft years so there is that there is always next year mentality that you have to have

Seamus Campbell: Definitely. I think everyone should have that type of mentality.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: Who to this point in your life has been your biggest influence to get to this point?

Seamus Campbell: 100% my dad. I wouldn’t be here right now without him.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: What should the Quinnipiac community expect from Seamus Campbell on and off the ice when you arrive?

Seamus Campbell: Off the ice at Quinnipiac, I hope to be a student active in the community. I want to make as many friends as possible because I know they’ll last a lifetime. On the ice, I want to be a player who scores the most goals.

BobcatsHockeyBlog: What does Seamus Campbell like to do when he is not playing hockey?

Seamus Campbell: I have felt I always had pretty good artistic side, so I enjoy to drawing and listening to music. I'm not really one who goes to parties and all that as I think it’s too complicated. I'm always down to hang with my friends and watch movies. But i think when I'm not playing hockey, I am just relaxing and trying not to complicate my life.

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Thursday, March 12, 2020

ECAC Quarterfinal: Quinnipiac vs Princeton

Quinnipiac will face Princeton this weekend if the games do indeed get played
I had my preview with Yale just about done and then the news of the Bulldogs bailing out out of the ECAC tournament forced me to revise in an instant. Quinnipiac has a new opponent this weekend if the games even get played due to the outbreak of the coronavirus with 11th seeded Princeton heading to Hamden after the ECAC had to reseed the tournament awarding byes to Cornell and Clarkson to Lake Placid while Quinnipiac faces Princeton and RPI faces Colgate. The winners will join the other teams in Lake Placid barring a further shutdown of the ECAC Tournament or the NCAA in general. This weekend will be played without fans as the NCAA is limiting crowds to all events.

Broadcast Information: ESPN +

Tale of the Tape:

#3 Quinnipiac Bobcats (#14 USCHO/#17 Pairwise) 21-11-2 (14-6-2 ECAC)
2.76 Goals scored per game (Tied 29th nationally)
2.29 Goals allowed per game (Tied 15th nationally)
18.4% Power Play (Tied 30th nationally)
82.5% Penalty Kill (23rd nationally)
Cleary Cup Championships: (4) 2019, 2016, 2015, 2013
Whitelaw Cup Championships: (1) 2016
NCAA Tournament Appearances: (6) 2019, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2002
NCAA Frozen Four Appearances: (2) 2016, 2013

#11 Princeton Tigers 6-20-5 (2-16-4 ECAC)
2.12 Goals scored per game (56th nationally)
3.22 Goals allowed per game (36th nationally)
21.9% Power Play (16th nationally)
79.4% Penalty Kill (42nd nationally)
Cleary Cup Championships: (0)
Whitelaw Cup Championships: (3) 2018, 2008, 1998
NCAA Tournament Appearances: (4) 2018, 2009, 2008, 1998
NCAA Frozen Four Appearances: (0)

Key Players:

QuinnipiacOdeen Tufto, F (38 points), Wyatt Bongiovanni, F (25 points), Alex Whelan F (24 points), Nick Jermain, F (21 points), Peter Diliberatore, D (21 points), Karlis Cukste, D (18 points) Ethan de Jong (18 points), William Fallstrom, F (17 points), Zach Metsa, D (17 points), Keith Petruzzelli, G (2.01 GAA & .920 save percentage, 3 shutouts)

Princeton: Jackson Cressey, F (22 points), Corey Andonovski, F (19 points), Luke Keenan, F (18 points), Liam Grande, F (15  points), Derek Topatigh, D (14 points), Spence Kersten, F (12 points), Mark Paolini, D (11 points), Jeremie Forget, G (2.79 GAA, .912 save percentage, 1 shutout)

ECAC Playoff History:

First playoff meeting

The Skinny:

This is a match-up that was put together just a few days prior to the start of the Quarterfinals due to Quinnipiac's rival Yale withdrawing over concerns of the coronavirus. While we were all looking forward for a few more games against Yale, Quinnipiac now welcomes the Princeton Tigers who upset Dartmouth last weekend to reach this point. This is a mismatch in terms of talent and records on the ice as Quinnipiac is 15 wins better this season than Princeton which has really struggled since its surprise Whitelaw Cup win two years ago. With not much time to prepare for a new opponent it will be interesting to see how both teams adjust on such short notice.

The Bobcats come into this series fresh off a first round bye, rested and relatively healthy. The status of Jayden Lee isn't known yet but if he is back in the lineup that is a big boost on the back end. Quinnipiac is a deeper lineup with many different players that can beat you. While the offense isn't as potent as it was a year ago it is capable of putting the puck in the net in quick spurts. The Bobcats defense is also rounding into form as they have been strong in their last 10 games only allowing three or more goals twice to Clarkson and RPI both teams still playing this weekend. Sprinkle in the dominance of Keith Petruzzelli and Quinnipiac could easily get hot in the ECAC tournament and win the Whitelaw Cup.

The Tigers come into Hamden with their worst team in four years when they won just five games in Ron Fogarty's second season. Not much has gone right for Princeton this season outside of two upset wins last weekend against Dartmouth on the road. Earlier this season Princeton stunned St. Cloud State and AIC for wins. The other two wins came against lowly St. Lawrence. The Tigers lack the elite scoring they had in past seasons but if there is one thing they can hang their hats on its the power which is a very solid 21.9% on the season. The Tigers will need some breaks and get on the power play in order to have a chance to win this series. The defense has not been good this season allowing 3.22 goals per game but they have been saved at times by the solid play of sophomore Jeremie Forget whose 2.79 goals against and .912 save percentage has been a relief for the Tigers on the back end.

The Prediction:

While Quinnipiac and Princeton played some tight games this season back in December, the Bobcats have been rolling in the second half while the Tigers have struggled all season and needed two overtime wins to reach the ECAC Quarterfinals. The run ends this weekend for the Tigers against a stronger Quinnipiac team.

Qunnipiac in 2

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Tuesday, March 3, 2020

2002 born defencemen Brody Gagno commits to Quinnipiac

Brody Gagno, right, challenges for an in the air puck (photo by Jenna Hauck, The Progress)

The Quinnipiac Bobcats picked up another future verbal commitment when 2002 born defencemen Brody Gagno of the Chilliwack Chiefs announced his commitment via a press release from the Chiefs organization. Gagno, a native of Langley, BC, Canada is a 6'0, 176 pound right shot defencemen who has played the last two seasons in the BCHL for Chilliwack as a 16 and 17 year old respectively.


In 105 regular season games played for Chilliwack, Gagno has 4 goals and 10 assists. In 13 playoffs games has recorded a goal and an assist. Prior to his time with Chilliwack he spent two seasons for the Yale Hockey Program in British Columbia. Gagno was a 2017 6th round pick by the Prince George Cougars in the WHL Bantam draft. This summer will be his first NHL draft eligible season. He is expected to play at least one more season in the BCHL to develop his game prior to his arrival at Quinnipiac. He was a teammate of current Bobcats forward Skyler Brind'Amour during the 2018-2019 season.

Links

Elite Prospects Player Page
BCHL Player Page

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Monday, March 2, 2020

Weekend in Review: Brown/Yale

Quinnipiac once against dominated their Whitney Avenue rivals
The Quinnipiac Bobcats ended the regular season on a high note sweeping the weekend against Brown and Yale to finish 21-11-2 and in third place in the ECAC standings with a first round playoff bye for the second consecutive year. The Bobcats also finished with the 8th 20 win season in the last nine years. The team is also back in position for an at-large berth thanks to some good fortune over the week. Here are my thoughts from the weekend that was.

- I don't know what it is but Quinnipiac has seen some real struggles with Brown over the past two seasons. Both games this year were tight low scoring games with Quinnipiac going 1-0-1 against the Bears. In both of the games they scored just two goals and on Friday night that was just enough to secure the two points. Sophomores Wyatt Bongiovanni and Ethan de Jong got the only two goals that paced the Bobcats offense for the win.

- Quinnipiac more than likely will not see the Bears again this season barring ECAC tournament upsets and that's probably a good thing with the way Brown played Quinnipiac this season along with a year ago as well. The only way for Quinnipiac to face the #9 seed Brown Bears would be for the Bears to beat Colgate along with both #11 and #12 seeds Princeton and St. Lawrence upsetting Dartmouth and Harvard respectively. I just cannot see that happening.

- William Fallstrom was a beast on the face-off dot this weekend winning 24 of 34 opportunities over the two games. Puck possession is key for the Bobcats success and if Fallstrom can continue his dominance on the face-off dot that will bold well for the Bobcats chances in the ECAC tournament. Fallstrom also had the primary assist on Ethan de Jong's game winning goal against Brown on Friday night.

- Speaking of face-off dominance, I am not sure I have ever seen a thrashing like the Bobcats did to Yale on Saturday night. Quinnipiac won 40 face-offs to just 13 for the Bulldogs which helped Quinnipiac establish puck possession in a blowout 5-0 win over their Whitney Avenue rivals. The Bobcats will need that trend to continue as they head into the ECAC playoffs as they look to reach Lake Placid for the first time in three seasons.

Quinnipiac now heads to the ECAC Tournament as the #3 seed

- I'm still stunned at Quinnipiac's continued dominance on the ice against Yale. The win was the 24th all time for the Bobcats over the Bulldogs and Yale has had some good teams over the last decade as well. I just don't get how they don't get up for these games against Quinnipiac not only on the road but at Ingalls as well. This has essentially been a one sided match-up in the last decade and not really a rivalry. But winning the Heroes Hat is of an importance to Quinnipiac and that's why they constantly get up for this game time and time again. Personally I think the rivalry with Cornell is much better and I wish the students would consistently attend that game more as the games have been better, more physical and their has been actual hatred between the teams.

- It was great to see the seniors all contribute to the first goal against Yale on Saturday. Nick Jermain got the goal while fellow seniors Karlis Cukste and Alex Whelan had the assists. All three of these players have played a big role in the Bobcats turnaround from a tough first half of the season. Jermain has put together the best season of his four year career with 21 points and outstanding leadership while Cukste and Whelan continue to show the consistency each and every game. All three will be greatly missed once this season ends.

- Skyler Brind'Amour's goal was a thing of beauty when he undressed Yale's Billy Sweezey with a spin move. While the Bobcats had already blown the game wide open prior to that goal, it was still great to see the talent Brind'Amour brings to the ice. While he only has 4 goals and 13 points this season, I think big things are expected for him and I could see a massive jump in his production from his freshman to sophomore season.

- Speaking of breakout candidates, Zach Metsa has capped a really impressive sophomore season. A year ago he finished with just 4 points in 32 games played mostly as the 7th defensemen or as an occasional forward. This season playing strictly on defense, he has 17 points along with being a plus 9. He has been pretty responsible in his own defensive end and has really helped solidify a young defensive core with fellow sophomore Peter Diliberatore.

- Quinnipiac now has a much needed first round bye. They can get fully healthy and hope to have someone like Jayden Lee back for their unknown opponent in two weeks time. I think the Bobcats need to sweep whatever team comes in because at this point they cannot afford to drop anymore games the rest of the way for at-large consideration.

- It was a really good weekend for Quinnipiac with regards to the pairwise. They began the weekend 18th and finished in 14th. That was a big unexpected jump due to Northeastern getting embarrassingly swept up at Vermont while Western Michigan dropped two games against North Dakota. Maine also lost at Providence while Minnesota lost to Michigan. Practically everything broker Quinnipiac's way except UMass Lowell won both of its games against New Hampshire. Currently Quinnipiac has a 50% chance at the tournament according to the College Hockey News Matrix. 41% is via an at-large berth an 9% is as the automatic qualifier as the champions of the ECAC. The Bobcats have to also get help from other conferences as well and they cannot have any surprise tournament champions.

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Friday, February 28, 2020

Weekend Preview: Brown/Yale

Senior Alex Whelan will play his final two regular season home games this weekend
The final games of the regular season take place this weekend as Quinnipiac is still fighting to clinch a first round bye along with keeping its slim chance of an at-large bid alive. In order to do that they will need to sweep the weekend slate of games. Quinnipiac is also closing in on the third seed for the ECAC tournament. One more Quinnipiac win or an RPI loss or a Bobcats tie combined with a RPI loss or tie will clinch a first round bye for the Bobcats in the ECAC playoffs.

Brown Head Coach: Brendan Whittet (11th year)

2019-2020 Brown record: 7-18-2 (7-11-2 ECAC)

All-time vs. Brown: Quinnipiac leads 24-10-7

Brown Key Players: Justin Jallen (F), Brent Beaudoin (F), Michael Maloney (F), Bradley Cocca (F), Zach Giuttari (D), Tony Stillwell (D), Luke Krys (D), Gavin Nieto (G)

The Bears are heading for the 9th losing season in 11 years under head coach Brendan Whittet but Brown has played better in its last nine games with a 4-3-2 record. That includes a tie against this Quinnipiac team they will face in Hamden. Brown has been a thorn in the side of Quinnipiac dating back to last season when they took three of four games from the Bobcats including the sweep in the ECAC Quarterfinal series. Brown has a chance to play spoiler once again and win over Quinnipiac would probably end any at-large hopes the Bobcats may have.

The Bears offense still has struggled to score goals at just 1.74 per game this season. Justin Jallen  still leads the team with 9 goals while and Brent Beaudoin is second on the team with seven goals and scored both goals against Quinnipiac in the teams last meeting. While the Bears have been anything but elite offensively, they have the ability to stay in the game and make it close against Quinnipiac especially with how the Bobcats have played down to its competition in recent weeks. If Brown is going to win their 4th in a row at the People's United Center they are going to need goals on the man advantage and greasy goals as well.

Defensively Brown is giving up 2.81 goals a game but give credit to the Bears defense. Over the past five games they have been very solid outside of a stinker of a performance when they allowed five goals to Dartmouth. They have held good offensive teams like Quinnipiac, Harvard and Cornell to just six goals with one of those goals being an empty net one. They have made it tough on some good teams to score and expect the same this weekend when they face the Bobcats.

Gavin Nieto has played well during this winning stretch in the last nine games for Brown especially his last three games in which he gave up a total of four goals in three games. If Nieto is playing at a high level, its been tough to score goals on the Bears and Quinnipiac witnessed that at the beginning of the month when Nieto made 29 saves in a tie against the Bobcats.


Yale Head Coach: Keith Allain (14th season)

2019-2020 Yale record: 12-13-2 (9-9-2 ECAC)

All-time vs. Yale : Quinnipiac leads series 23-7-5

Yale Key Players: Curtis Hall (F), Tyler Welsh (F), Justin Pearson (F), Kevin O'Neil (F), Luke Stevens (F), Phil Kemp (D), Jack St. Ivany (D), Corbin Kaczperski (G)

The Bulldogs are likely headed for another season around the .500 mark and its fourth straight season missing the NCAA tournament. Times have been tough for Yale whose program has seen a decline after making six tournament appearance in eight seasons including winning the 2013 National Championship. Yale just can't sustain a prolonged winning streak and has been up and down this season. They played tough against Quinnipiac in their last meeting at Ingalls Rink falling 3-2 in overtime. While Yale doesn't have any at-large chances along with very little chance to win the conference tournament they do however have a chance to spoil the Bobcats final regular season home game of the year.

Yale's offense has only averaged 2.56 goals per game this season. They lack offensive depth in order to have multiple scoring lines. Sophomore Curtis Hall is very talented and his 14 goals lead the Bulldogs. Justin Pearson is tied for the team lead in scoring with Hall at 23 points and is just behind him with 13 goals. Hall and Pearson are clear building blocks as the two are currently both sophomores. Tyler Welsh is in the midst of a breakout season with 22 points as a junior and fellow junior Kevin O'Neill has 15 points. While this season isn't over yet, the Bulldogs do have some nice pieces returning for next season as they look to rebound.

Since these two teams last met, the Yale defense hasn't got any better and is still giving up 3.19 goals per game. Its surprising since they have some good talent back there with Phil Kemp and Jack St. Ivany who are both draft picks. Yale definitely expected more from Graham Lillibridge over his two years in New Haven as he was a really good player in junior hockey. The Bulldogs did a solid job on defense less than a month ago when these teams met but with Quinnipiac fighting for not only ECAC position but an outside chance at a NCAA berth you have to think the Bobcats will be very motivated at home against their Whitney Avenue rivals and be aggressive against a Yale defense that clearly has not been good this season.

Senior Corbin Kaczperski has not been a difference maker this season as he has struggled with consistency. On the season he has a 2.97 goals against average and a low save percentage of 900. Kaczperski has regressed each season he has been at Yale and is unlikely to steal a game against Quinnipiac as he just hasn't played that well against the better teams that Yale has faced.

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Monday, February 24, 2020

Weekend in Review: RPI/Union

Odeen Tufto's two goals lifted Quinnipiac to a 3-2 overtime win over Union
Quinnipiac's final road trip of the regular season was a lot more difficult and ended in just a split of the weekend. Friday night saw the RPI Engineers shut out Quinnipiac 4-0 for the their first ever shut out of the Bobcats. Quinnipiac rebounded on Saturday night with a come from behind 3-2 overtime win over Union. Here are my thoughts from this past weekends games.

- Give a lot of credit to RPI. That is a very underrated hockey team and in just his third season head coach Dave Smith deserves a ton of credit for the turnaround up in Troy. It helps when you top five scorers and six of your top seven are seniors. All of these seniors were recruited under former head coach Seth Appert and they have bought into what Smith is doing there. They have 12 players with 10 or more points so they are getting scoring from different parts of the roster and it has led them to a 15-15-2 record overall including 11-8-1 in the ECAC and still fighting for a first round bye. I think RPI is a team that no one wants to play in the upcoming conference tournament because they are peaking at the right time.

- RPI goaltender Owen Savory has been one of the hottest goaltenders in the country in the second half of the season and that has been a big factor in the turnaround season for the Engineers. His 37 saves gave him his fourth shutout of the second half of the season. The sophomore has the ability to steal games and with the way he is playing right now he could take his team all the way to Lake Placid.

- RPI did a good job capitalizing on special teams scoring two power play goals. They played from in front which is what you have to do against Quinnipiac and they never really gave the Bobcats too many elite scoring chances despite getting out shot 28-13 in the final two periods of play. It was one of the more frustrating performances of the season and only the second time this season that Quinnipiac was held scoreless.

- I think its really important for Quinnipiac to lock down the #3 seed to avoid a potential ECAC Quarterfinal match-up with RPI. Not that the Bobcats couldn't beat RPI in a series, it is that the Engineers are really peaking right now and have a goaltender playing on top of his game which makes for a very dangerous match-up. That would likely only happen if it was a 4-5 match-up so the Bobcats really need to take care of business this weekend and get that number 3 seed.

- I was really disappointed that Quinnipiac struggled to beat a 7 win Union team that has very little talent. More often this season, the Bobcats have played down to some of their competition which is frustrating but that probably happens at times with such a young team. Quinnipiac looked good early before Union got some chances and the early lead and things looked dim when Union scored a little over four minutes into period two but Michael Lombardi's goal just ten seconds after the Dutchmen goal was a huge momentum swing. It gave the Bobcats life in the game.

- Odeen Tufto will probably go down as one of the best players to put on a Quinnipiac sweater and I have seen many great ones stemming from Matthew Peca to Sam Anas, the Jones twins and Chase Priskie. But what Tufto did on Saturday night showed what type of player and leader he is. After going head first into the boards it looked like his night was going to be done at the least. But Tufto returned and not only did he score the tying goal, he scored the power play winner in overtime to give Quinnipiac two big ECAC points. He lifted the team on his back and carried them to the finish line in an important game. He has been one of the most consistent players the last three seasons as he closes in on his third straight 40 point campaign. I really hope he stays for his senior year as they will need his leadership and scoring for a team that could have big expectations.

- The Bobcats 3-2 overtime win over Union was the teams first win at Messa Rink since November of 2014. Messa has been a tough place for Quinnipiac to play at and I just can't figure out why especially since Union has struggled of late. Both of Quinnipiac's wins over Union this year were by just a goal each. Not a good look when the Dutchmen are one of the bottom teams in the ECAC.

- One more Quinnipiac win or an RPI loss or a Bobcats tie combined with a RPI loss or tie will clinch a first round bye for the Bobcats in the ECAC playoffs. Quinnipiac could use a week off to get fully healthy and to work on areas of need for the playoffs. With just a 14% chance at an at-large berth according to College Hockey News pairwise probability matrix, its looking like the way into the NCAA tournament will be winning the Whitelaw Cup in Lake Placid.

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Friday, February 21, 2020

Weekend Preview: RPI/Union

Quinnipiac heads to the New York Capital Region this weekend
Its a big weekend for Quinnipiac hockey as they head to the New York Capital Region for an important road trip needing wins to help in the pairwise rankings along with some help from teams around them. At this point they cannot slip up if they want a potential at-large berth, otherwise they will have to win the ECAC tournament to reach the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive season.

RPI Engineers

RPI Head Coach: Dave Smith (3rd Season)

2019-2020 RPI record: 13-15-2 (9-8-1 ECAC)

All-time vs. RPI: Quinnipiac leads 16-7-9

RPI Key Players: Chase Zieky (F), Patrick Polino (F), Mike Gornall (F), Ture Linden (F), Todd Burgess (F), Zach Dubinsky (F), Will Reilly (D), Simon Kjellberg (D), Cory Babichuk (D), Owen Savory (G)

The Engineers have seen vast improvement in the three years since Dave Smith has been at the helm. Its 13 wins currently, are the most since they had 18 wins in the 2015-2016 under former coach Seth Appert. RPI has a marquee win against Clarkson this year, but still has some troubles with the teams that are better than them. All in all you have to be impressed with how Smith has molded the Engineers in this time in Troy. This will definitely be a team that will be a tough out come the ECAC tournament next month.

While they don't have a player with double digit goals, they have a lot of balance scoring in their lineup with 12 players with 10 or more points this season. The Engineers only score 2.60 goals per game which is far from great. They are getting strong production from seniors Chase Zieky (20 points), Mike Gornall (17 points), Patrick Polino (15 points), Todd Burgess (14 points) and Jake Marrello (13 points). The biggest question is can the seniors elevate their game over the next month to become a factor in the playoffs? RPI's power play has not been good at just 15.1% this season.

RPI's defense has been solid this season allowing 2.83 goals per game. Will Reilly is the leader on defense with a plus 10 rating and second on the team with 17 points. But its the youth on defense that is playing well including freshman Cory Babichuk and Simon Kjellberg. The Engineers defense is clearly one of the reasons the team has played close to .500 this season. RPI's penalty kill is very solid at 83.8% which is 15th nationally.

Owen Savory has been one of the big reasons why RPI has been a very solid team this season and has a chance to make noise come March. While his record of 9-9-2 is far from impressive, his 2.38 goals against and a .920 save percentage are impressive. He has 3 shutouts to boot as well. Since the turn of the calendar to 2020, he has given up one goal or less in seven of the nine games he has played including three shutouts. His two worst games were to Western Michigan (6 goals) and Cornell (3 goals). He is in a groove right and definitely someone who can steal a game.

Union Dutchmen

Union Head Coach: Rick Bennett (9th Season)

2019-2020 Union record: 7-20-3 (5-12-1 ECAC)

All-time vs. Union: Quinnipiac leads 17-16-5

Union Key Players: Anthony Rinaldi (F), Sean Harrison (F), Gabriel Seger (F), Vas Kolias (D), Dylan Anhorn (D), Darion Hanson (G)

It has been a trying season for the Union Dutchmen who are in the midst of their worst season in the Rick Bennett era and worst since the days when Kevin Sneddon was the programs head coach. Its been a massive struggle for Union who have only two wins since the calendar turned to 2020. The lack of talent at Union is a real factor and you have to wonder if Rick Bennett regrets not taking a bigger job when his name came up in the past. Quinnipiac has not won at Union since November of 2014.

Union's offense has been downright awful at 1.80 goals per game. Senior Anthony Rinaldi (20 points) is having a nice season while Union has found a nice player with freshman Gabriel Seger (16 points) but not having Jack Adams due to injury has hurt and Parker Foo missed half the season and has not put up big points like he was expected to. Sean Harrison is the only other forward who has double digit points at 12. The Dutchmen power play which in years past was strong has been terrible this year at 11.8%. Frankly, Union just can't score goals and it is hurting them on the ice.

Union defensively hasn't been great this season allowing 3.07 goals. However, they have found a nice young piece in freshman Dylan Anhorn (13 points, plus 3) to build around. Senior Vas Kolias has had another double digit point season but is a minus 13 this year. Junior Brandon Estes who was very good as a sophomore has taken a step back this season going from 21 points a year ago to just 7 this year. The penalty kill has struggled at just 78.6% this season.

Darion Hanson's play is down this season but its due to a weak defense in front of him. If he wasn't the teams goaltender they would probably have given up the most goals in the country this season. That why having Hanson back there as a veteran presence has helped to a degree. His 2.82 goals against and a .904 save percentage are very average but the team in front of him is just not very good so his numbers are going to look worse. He held Quinnipiac to just two goals the last time these two teams met back in Hamden in mid November.  

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Thursday, February 20, 2020

2002 forward Seamus Campbell commits to Quinnipiac

Seamus Campbell
The Quinnipiac Bobcats picked up a verbal commitment from St. Louis Junior Blues forward Seamus Campbell according to a press release from the Jr. Blues orgnization. The 2002 born forward is playing in the NA3HL which is the Tier III hockey under the NAHL platform. Campbell is the son of former NHL player Jim Campbell who played for the Ducks, Blues, Canadiens, Blackhawks, Panthers and Lightning organizations playing in 285 NHL games.The younger Campbell is a 6'1, 185 right shot forward.



He has played for three different clubs this season primarily with the St. Louis Jr. Blues where he has 26 points (11 goals, 15 assists) in 43 games. He played four games for the Springfield Jr. Blues (NAHL) where he has one goal. Campbell also plays for Kirkwood High School in Missouri where he has 16 points (7 goals, 9 assists) in 12 games. He recently took part in the 2020 NAHL Top Prospects tournament in Massachusetts and had one assist in two games with a minus one rating. 

Not much is known about Campbell but he is ranked 206th on the 2020 NHL Central Scouting Mid-Term rankings for North American skaters which is a surprise considering the level he is playing at in the NA3HL. He also becomes the first NA3HL player to commit to a Division I program since 2016.

Links

EliteProspects Player Page
St. Louis Jr. Blues Player Page

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Sunday, February 16, 2020

Weekend in Review: Clarkson/St. Lawrence

Quinnipiac beat St. Lawrence 6-1 on Saturday night
Quinnipiac came into the weekend looking to improve upon its pairwise status. However it left the weekend in a worst place than they started despite a split of the weekend. On Friday Quinnipiac had zero luck in a 3-2 loss to Clarkson in which they dominated the pace of play for the majority of the game. Saturday the Bobcats struggled for two periods before Odeen Tufto changed the Bobcats fortunes with a highlight reel goal leading to the flood gates opening in the third period. Here are my thoughts from this weekends game along with the outlook for the next few weeks.

- Friday night was a tough loss against a good Clarkson team. A game that Quinnipiac really needed, the Bobcats found themselves behind the eight ball quickly as Clarkson was up two within the first six minutes of the game. Neither of the goals were Petruzzelli's fault with the first goal just inching past the goal line in which an official review confirmed. I was really surprised with the early struggles by Quinnipiac in such a big game as I thought we would see more energy and passion from the start.

- Usually when a team dominates the shot count and the face-offs it usually wins. That wasn't the case on Friday when Quinnipiac out shot Clarkson 41-24 and crushed them 36-21 on the face-off dot. The Bobcats just didn't have any puck luck while Clarkson goaltender Frank Marotte was really good with 39 saves on the night. Quinnipiac also couldn't take advantage of the injury to the best Clarkson forward in Haralds Egle.

- I find it surprising that Clarkson doesn't score as much with the talent they have up front. They have an unheralded defense and a good goaltender but no superstars on the blue line. All the talent is up front and they rarely have put up big offensive numbers this season. I wonder if that will come back to hurt them come tournament time against teams that have high powered offenses.

- The Bobcats did a good job of erasing a two goal deficit on Friday but they just couldn't push ahead of Clarkson. Quinnipiac got goals from Michael Lombardi and Ethan Leyh but were stifled most of the night by the Clarkson defense.

- I was really disappointed at the lack of calls in the Clarkson game on both sides. The game was chippy and to have only one power play for each team is shocking. The referees swallowed their whistles and their was really no reason to. Maybe the game is different if they call this game tight as Quinnipiac could have had some more power play opportunities. This was two games in a row with poor officiating in which Quinnipiac played in.

Five different Bobcats found the back of the net against St. Lawrence
- Just as Quinnipiac struggled on Friday night early, the same happened Saturday against just a terrible St. Lawrence team. It was nerve racking for almost two periods as Quinnipiac trailed 1-0 yet was dominating on the shot count. It wasn't until Odeen Tufto's spectacular individual effort for a goal late in period two saw the momentum change towards the Bobcats. If you haven't seen the goal yet I would watch this link below. This could easily be one of the goals of the year in the NCAA. Just a tremendous effort when the Bobcats really needed a spark.

- It seemed like only a matter of time that Quinnipiac would take control after that Tufto goal. It also helped that St. Lawrence would lose its composure in the third period taking six straight penalties which led to four power play goals. Quinnipiac added an even strength goal late as they capped a five goal third period to win in a runaway. The score wasn't as indicative of how close this game really was early.

- I thought St. Lawrence played a disgraceful third period and if Brent Brekke approved play like that then shame on him. If he didn't then he needs to clean some of this dead weight off the roster as soon as the season ends. Most of these players are the garbage that Mark Morris brought into St. Lawrence so he should want to clean some of these goons out as soon as possible.

-  Its pretty amazing that you can crush a team 6-1 yet it hurts you in the pairwise rankings. That's exactly what happened as Quinnipiac fell from 15th to 18th in the pairwise. They clearly need to win out now and probably get to Lake Placid and possibly even to the conference championship game. A lot will depend on what happens with the teams around them as teams like Lowell, Western Michigan, Minnesota, Maine and Providence have some challenging games. There is still a lot to shake out the next few weeks but Quinnipiac is clearly a bubble team at this point due to its slow start to the season and because of a loss to Colgate and a tie to Brown which are really hurting them at this point.

- Quinnipiac heads on its final road trip of the regular season to the New York Capital Region as they take on an ever improving RPI team Friday night before facing a struggling Union team Saturday. RPI is probably Quinnipiac's toughest remaining game and that is due to goaltender Owen Savory who has been really good this season for the Engineers. His play is one of the reasons why RPI is still fighting for a possible bye in the ECAC tournament.

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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Weekend Preview: Clarkson/St. Lawrence

Quinnipiac returns home for a huge game against Clarkson on Friday

Clarkson Head Coach: Casey Jones (9th season)

2019-2020 Clarkson record: 20-6-2 (13-3-0 ECAC)

All-time vs. Clarkson: Quinnipiac leads series 16-13-3

Clarkson Key Players: Haralds Egle (F), Jack Jacome (F), Devin Brosseau (F), Josh Dunne (F), Greg Moro (D), Connor McCarthy (D), Frank Marotte (G)

With only three losses since mid November and 20 wins in total this season, the program is on pace to have the best season of the Casey Jones era. At 9th in the pairwise rankings, Clarkson is inching closer to a third straight NCAA appearance for the first time since the late 1990's. Jones has this program as one of the elite programs of the ECAC and expect them to be in the upper echelon for a very long time. For Quinnipiac, this game is a must win considering the Bobcats are on the bubble at 14th in the pairwise which is too close to the cut line. Much like the Cornell game a couple of weeks ago, a win could propel this team a few more spots higher in the pairwise rankings.

Clarkson this season is averaging 2.93 goals per game which is a little bit low for a team as good as the Golden Knights. The offense is built around seniors Haralds Egle (30 points) and Devin Brosseau (27 points). Sophomore Josh Dunne has 12 goals and third in points with 26. Zach Tsekos and Jack Jacome are other solid contributors for Clarkson. The Golden Knights power play has scored 26 goals this season at a clip of a shade just under 23.9%. Clarkson has the ability to change a game in an instant and Quinnipiac saw that when these teams met a month ago when Jack Jacome scored two goals 23 seconds apart to give the Golden Knights a lead they would not relinquish.

Clarkson is built to win on defense. Giving up just 1.75 goals per game, the Golden Knights defense is third best in the nation behind Minnesota State and Cornell. While Connor McCarthy is the only player putting up big numbers from the blue line, the Golden Knights are just getting consistent play from guys like sophomore Brian Hurley along with Seniors Jordan Schneider and Greg Moro. Sophomore Michael Underwood is tied for second on the team with a plus 10. Clarkson isn't flashy, they just get the job done and do a really good job preventing other teams from scoring. They also boost the nations number one penalty kill at 92.9%.

Frank Marotte continues to be one of the top goaltenders in all of college hockey. He has played in every game for Clarkson this season and his .940 save percentage and 1.67 goals against are both second in college hockey in those categories. Simply put he is difficult to score on but part of that is the players he has in front of him. Quinnipiac has shown it can beat a strong goaltender when it put five goals on Cornell's Matthew Galajda just a few short weeks ago.

St. Lawrence Head Coach: Brett Brekke (1st year)

2019-2020 St. Lawrence record: 3-21-4 (1-14-1 ECAC)

All-time vs. St. Lawrence: Quinnipiac leads 16-15-5

St. Lawrence Key Players: Zach Risteau (F), Keenan Suthers (F), Jordan Steinmetz (F), Andrew McIntyre (F), Jake Stevens (D), Bo Hanson (D), Daniel Mannella (G)

St. Lawrence hasn't found the win column in three months coming into this weekend dating back to November 9th when they beat Union 3-2 in overtime. Since then they are 0-15-3. It has been a rough first season for new head coach Brett Brekke but he cannot be judged with this team as it lacks talent and players he recruited. For Quinnipiac, this is a must win at home and a game they surely cannot lose if they want to make the tournament. A loss would have a massive negative impact and would almost certainly end any at-large hopes for them. A month ago Quinnipiac just squeaked by St. Lawrence 3-2 up in North Country.

The Saints are the worst offensive team in all of college hockey averaging just 1.64 goals per game. Sophomore Zach Risteau (21 points) is St. Lawrence best offensive player but he has been held scoreless in his last six games. Junior Keenan Suthers is tied for the team lead with seven goals while freshman Jordan Steinmetz has 10 points. Its an offense that lacks high talent and players that put a scare in you. St. Lawrence has a power play that has struggled at 13.9% this season with only 15 goals scored via the man advantage.

The Saints defense has gotten tad better since these two teams last met. St. Lawrence is down to giving up 3.25 goals per game which is more than a quarter of a goal better than a month ago. Its baby steps for the Saints but the improvement on paper has been real. Bo Hanson is the best defencemen that St. Lawrence has and he found the back of the net the last time these two teams played. At 76.1%, the Saints boost one of the nations worst penalty kills so look for that to be an area that Quinnipiac exploits on Saturday night.

Over the second half of the season, St. Lawrence has rotated games between senior Daniel Mannella and freshman Francis Boisvert. It was Mannella who played against Quinnipiac up in Canton a month ago and kept the Saints in the game. It remains to be seen who Brent Brekke starts as he could go either way.

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Monday, February 10, 2020

Weekend in Review: Yale/Brown

Quinnipiac once again beat their Whitney Avenue rivals
Quinnipiac had a three point weekend against Yale and Brown but it was far from easy against each of them with each game going into overtime. What should have been a weekend that was much smoother with a pair of victories turned into two nail bitters for the Bobcats. Still they didn't lose either game but the tie against Brown wasn't helpful and we will get more into that later. Here are my thoughts from this weekends games.

- It wasn't pretty but it was another victory over its Whitney Avenue rival. The Bobcats spotted Yale a 1-0 lead just 55 seconds into the game before scoring the next two goals of the game, one by Alex Whelan in the latter stages of the second period and early in the third period by Hamden native Joe O'Connor. A late Evan Smith goal for Yale forced overtime at Ingalls but the Bobcats ended things quickly just 18 seconds in when Odeen Tufto scored the game winner.

- Quinnipiac did a really good job of holding Yale's best player Curtis Hall scoreless on the night. Hall finished a -2 and only won 13 of 25 face-offs against Quinnipiac. Shutting him down was key as he came into the weekend with 13 goals. The game could have been much different if Hall had got going.

- Despite winning the game, Quinnipiac lost the face-off battle against Yale but William Fallstrom went 11 of 16 which is impressive. As long as Quinnipiac continues to win face-offs which turn into puck possession they should be ok.

- Jayden Lee took a major hit against Yale which knocked him out of the game. He was not healthy enough to make the trip to Brown to play. Let's hope he won't be out too long as he is an important puck moving defencemen despite not putting up big point totals as a freshman. Lee had played in every game this season until he missed Saturday's game against Brown which shows how important and reliable he has been this season.

- Saturday's game against Brown was ugly at times. Quinnipiac had some nice sustained early pressure but couldn't get anything past Gavin Nieto. The Bobcats had two power plays in the opening period and had some nice looks but couldn't find the back of the net. Brown got on the board first late in the period after a Michael Lombardi roughing call. Brent Beaudoin found the back of the net as Keith Petruzzelli wasn't in the best position to make a save. It continued to be ugly in the second period in which Quinnipiac was dominated by Brown in shots and got a late goal by Beaudoin again.

Quinnipiac needed a comeback to force a 2-2 tie with Brown
- Things looked pretty bleak after that second Beaudoin goal coming late in the second period but Quinnipiac's goal by Ethan de Jong with three seconds left in the period was a momentum shift. Instead of being down 2-0 heading into the third, Quinnipiac was only down one. That greasy goal in traffic was just what the Bobcats needed going into the third period.

- It was back to back games that Alex Whelan had a big goal. The senior got Quinnipiac on the board Friday night against Yale and Saturday he took the puck bowled over a defender and rifled one high past Gavin Nieto for the game tying goal. Whelan has now hit double figures in goals in three straight seasons and is one of the most important players on the team in my opinion. You saw the struggles when he was out of the lineup earlier this season. He brings so much passion and energy on each shift that its tough to replace when he is not out there.

- Is there a more embarrassing official than Chip McDonald. He was awful on Saturday night during the Brown game. Not only did he miss a bunch of offside calls on each side, he missed a too many men on the ice penalty against Brown (they had seven players on the ice) and called a ridiculous embellishment penalty on captain Nick Jermain which should have given Quinnipiac a 5 on 3 as a penalty had been called prior to that play. Instead of a Bobcats full two man advantage he called the single embellishment on Jermain thus the teams skating at four aside. Its time for the ECAC to get rid of McDonald who continues to botch calls time and time again.

- How damaging was that tie against Brown? The tie cost Quinnipiac two spots in the pairwise rankings as a win puts them at 12th. They are currently 14th which is dangerously close to the cut line. Think about this for a minute. Had they beaten Brown on Saturday and won against Colgate up in Hamilton back in November this team would be 8th in the pairwise rankings and in a comfortable position. You just can't lose or tie games to bad teams as its always going to come back to bite you later on.

- Its another big weekend for Quinnipiac who have a huge game against Clarkson Friday night. A win will give Quinnipiac a big boost in the pairwise rankings which they clearly need. Saturday they face St. Lawrence in a game that they definitely cannot lose or even tie at this point. We will have more on these teams later in the week.

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Friday, February 7, 2020

Weekend Preview: Yale/Brown

Quinnipiac has a big road trip against Yale and Brown this weekend

Yale Head Coach: Keith Allain (14th season)

2019-2020 Yale record: 9-11-1 (6-7-1 ECAC)

All-time vs. Yale : Quinnipiac leads series 22-7-5

Yale Key Players: Curtis Hall (F), Tyler Welsh (F), Justin Pearson (F), Kevin O'Neil (F), Luke Stevens (F), Phil Kemp (D), Jack St. Ivany (D), Corbin Kaczperski (G)

It has been another middling season for one of the Bobcats biggest rivals as the Bulldogs are likely to finish .500 or below for the fourth straight season. The teams best win was a 3-1 win against a solid Maine team that probably will fall short of the NCAA tournament. Since winning a surprise national championship in 2013, Yale has seen its program really fall down in the ECAC and nationally. The question is can they ever get back to one of the elite teams in the league and the country? They face Quinnipiac at probably the wrong time as the Bobcats have won 10 of their last 12 games and have owned Yale over the last half decade plus.

Yale's offense has been a struggle this season to get going. Just like a season ago when they were essentially one a trick pony with Joe Snively, the same is pretty much this year in terms of scoring as Curtis Hall (15 points) has taken Snively's place as the go to player. His 13 goals lead Yale with four of the goals being of game winning goals. He is also second on the team with three power play goals. Junior Tyler Welsh and Justin Pearson are tied with Hall for the team lead in points with 15 apiece. Pearson does lead the Bulldogs with five power play goals. Junior Kevin O'Neil (11 points) and senior Luke Stevens (9 points) help pace the offense that is only averaging 2.38 goals per game good for 45th in the country. They have a middle of the pack power play at 18.5% which is 33rd nationally.

The Yale defense was expected to be a strength of the team has really struggled this season allowing 3.19 goals per game which is 46th nationally. They have good talent back there in Jack St. Ivany, Phil Kemp, Graham Lillibridge and Billy Sweezy but can't seem to keep goals out of the net. While St. Ivany has just about matched his point total from a year ago his plus minus has really taken a step back. A year ago he was a plus 8 for the season and now he is a minus 10. Yale has juggled through nine defencemen this year so its hard to get consistency when you can't get a set lineup. The Bulldogs have struggled on the penalty kill at 76.9% good for 50th in the country.

Gone is Sam Tucker who transferred to Boston University with a year left of eligibility. Senior Corbin Kaczperski has struggled this season with a 2.92 goals against average and a .900 save percentage. His 19 games are the most he has seen in a season as he had split time with Sam Tucker the past two seasons. His worst games have been against teams with high powered offenses in Cornell, Harvard and Sacred Heart. He will play solid against the bad teams and most likely falter against good ones.



Brown Head Coach: Brendan Whittet (11th year)

2019-2020 Brown record: 5-16-0 (5-9-0 ECAC)

All-time vs. Brown: Quinnipiac leads 24-10-6

Brown Key Players: Justin Jallen (F), Brent Beaudoin (F), Michael Maloney (F), Bradley Cocca (F), Zach Giuttari (D), Tony Stillwell (D), Luke Krys (D), Gavin Nieto (G)

A season after taking a step forward with just the second winning season in the Brendan Whittet era that ended with a trip to Lake Placid, Brown finds itself towards the bottom of the ECAC standings once again. The team that knocked Quinnipiac out of the ECAC tournament in stunning fashion comes into this weekend having lost 11 of its last 13 games. The two lone wins came against Union and St. Lawrence, both of which are the two worst teams in the league. The Bobcats come in as the superior team and need to play like it.

Brown's offense is the worst in the nation this season at 1.67 goals per game. Justin Jallen (9 goals) and Brent Beaudoin (5 goals) are the only two players on the roster with five or more goals this season. Only twice this season have the Bears scored four or more goals and both times were in wins against Colgate and Yale. Its been a challenge for Brown to score goals and with the Bobcats defense improving each and every week along with Keith Petruzzelli having a strong year, it is likely Brown will have a lot of trouble scoring goals. One area where the Bears may be able to score is on the power play where they are converting at an 18.6% clip good for 32nd in the country. If Quinnipiac stays disciplined and out of the box I really can't see the Brown offense challenging them.

Defensively the Bears are middle of the pack defensively at 2.90 goals per game. Brown has taken a step back defensively as players such as Zach Giuttari and Tony Stillwell haven't played as well in their own zone as they did a year ago. Coupled with the fact that the Bears have played three freshman for a combined 51 games on the back end and the struggles are to be expected. The Bears defense is solid enough to keep them in a game but more often than not they will lose because of their poor offense. Brown's penalty kill is solid at 81% this season good for 28th.

Gavin Nieto has gotten the majority of the starts for the Bears and despite a losing record, he has a 2.67 goals against and a .909 save percentage for the season which is pretty respectable given the state of the team. Nieto has proven that he can play big against Quinnipiac with his strong play in last years ECAC Quarterfinal series in which he held the Bobcats to just four goals over two games helping Brown to a shocking sweep in Hamden.

This is an important weekend for the Bobcats as a sweep is a must. The Bobcats at-large hopes rest on not losing against any of the bad teams in the ECAC and these two teams aren't very good. Quinnipiac needs to come out of this weekend not only healthy but with four points.


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Monday, February 3, 2020

Weekend in Review: Cornell/Colgate

Quinnipiac shutout the #1 team in the country in Cornell 5-0

It was a payback weekend for Quinnipiac who avenged a pair of losses in upstate New York back in November when they lost to Cornell and Colgate. Friday saw Quinnipiac put an absolute beat-down on the #1 team in the country in the Cornell Big Red shutting them out 5-0 behind a 22 save performance by Keith Petruzzelli and they followed it up by gutting out a 2-1 win over Colgate the following night. Here are my thoughts of the weekend sweep.

- The win over #1 Cornell was massive for Quinnipiac's pairwise ranking. The win soared the Bobcats from 19th to 14th and while their is still plenty of work to do this is a big win considering they will get a quality win bonus for it. With eight regular season games remaining, the schedule clearly favors the Bobcats who have one really challenging game the rest of the way on February 14th when they host Clarkson. Every other game on the schedule is winnable and I clearly expect them to win. This team clearly has the ability and the favorable schedule to run the table the rest of the way. If they do that they will be in a great position for the NCAA tournament.

- Quinnipiac did a great job surviving an early flurry of chances from Cornell. Give credit to Keith Petruzzelli who made nine saves that opening period to keep the game scoreless early on. The game could have been different had Cornell drew first blood. His play gave Quinnipiac the opportunity to keep the game scoreless until captain Nick Jermain and defencemen Zach Metsa scored 52 seconds apart to take command of the game. Petruzzelli finished a strong weekend with 52 saves in two games allowing just the lone goal on Saturday against Colgate.

- The Bobcats offense was on fire Friday against Cornell goaltender Matthew Galajda. I never thought that would happen as Galajda has been the best goaltender in the league this season and one of the best in all of the country. He has a tremendous track record of success against Quinnipiac and was a big factor of why they won the earlier match at Lynah Rink. Give Quinnipiac a lot credit for continuing to pepper Galajda in periods one and two and until he was relieved in goal by Austin McGrath.

- I think we have all heard the term "Save the best for last". In this case captain Nick Jermain certainly represents that term. He had another strong weekend with a three point game against Cornell including two goals. Jermain's 10 goals this season are not only second on the team but a career high for him. His 15 points also eclipsed the 14 he had in his sophomore season, his only other full season of health. With 8 games to play he should easily hit the 20 point plateau and possibly even get to 25.

- While Quinnipiac has only one player averaging a point per game (Odeen Tufto) they are getting contributions from a lot of different players during this second half turnaround. Guys like Zach Metsa, Peter Diliberatore, Ethan Leyh, William Fallstrom, Skyler Brind'Amour, Ethan de Jong and Wyatt Bongionvanni have really helped carry this team during a 10-2 stretch dating back to the end of the first half win at UMass.

Quinnipiac beat Colgate 2-1 on Saturday
- I had a good feeling the Colgate game wasn't going to be easy and boy was I right. While Colgate lacks high end skill and talent, they have a ton of will and have clearly played above their skill ability. Head coach Don Vaughan is getting more out of his team than I ever thought he would this year and has put them for a home ice series in the first round of the ECAC playoffs. Colgate should be competitive down the stretch and can help Quinnipiac by possibly stealing a game against Cornell next weekend.

- I never thought this was possible back in November but Quinnipiac still has a decent chance to win the Cleary Cup but will need some help to do it. First off the Bobcats will need to win out which is entirely possible given the schedule they have remaining. The most challenging game is Clarkson which is at home while RPI is their most challenging road game. Every other game is against Yale (2), Brown (2), St. Lawrence and Union. The help that Quinnipiac will need is for Clarkson to beat Cornell on February 29th along with Cornell also possibly losing another game outside of Clarkson for an outright title.

- Quinnipiac now heads out on the road for a short road trip down the road against Yale on Friday night before heading to Providence against Brown on Saturday. The Bobcats have had a ton of success against Yale and have won their last three games at Ingalls Rink which includes two playoff games. While you can't overlook Yale, Saturday night you have to think Quinnipiac will look to have revenge on their minds against a Brown team that swept Quinnipiac at the People's United Bank Center in the ECAC Quarterfinal series last year.


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Thursday, January 30, 2020

Weekend Preview: Cornell/Colgate

Alex Whelan and the Quinnipiac Bobcats have their most important game this weekend

Cornell Head Coach: Mike Schaefer (25th Season)

2019-2020 Cornell record: 14-1-4 (9-1-2 ECAC)

All-time vs. Cornell: Cornell leads 23-17-4

Cornell Key Players: Morgan Barron (F), Cam Donaldson (F), Ben Berard (F), Michael Regush (F), Brendan Locke (F), Yanni Kaldis (D), Sam Malinski (D), Alex Green (D), Matthew Galajda (G)

The biggest game of the season for Quinnipiac takes place when they host the #1 team in the country in Cornell. Sitting at 19th in the pairwise rankings, this is essentially a must win game for any at-large chances for Quinnipiac. A win would be a huge for the Bobcats giving them the quality win they need to try to get back into the top 16. Cornell is off to one of its best starts in years and has just a lone road loss to Dartmouth this season. The Big Red are unbeaten in their last eight games going 4-0-4 over that time span. They are pretty much a lock at this point for the NCAA tournament.

The Big Red have a strong offense at 3.37 goals per game which places them 10th in the country. Junior forward Morgan Barron is having a strong season averaging 1.11 points per game. Brenden Locke and Cam Donaldson have 17 and 16 points respectively while defencemen Yanni Kaldis has 16 points from the blue line. Sophomore Michael Regush is second in the team with 8 goals. At 25.3%, Cornell has a top 10 power play and can strike at any time. Staying out of the penalty box is a must for Quinnipiac.

The Big Red have the #1 defense in the country and for good reason. They have loads of talent on the back in with Yanni Kaldis, Alex Green along with freshman Sam Malinski and Travis Mitchell. Cornell is giving up 1.47 goals per game which is one of four teams in all of Division I giving up less than two goals per game. They are extremely tough to score on. One area of weakness for Cornell is the penalty kill where they are just 79% for the season. Despite a weak penalty kill, Cornell is disciplined and doesn't take many penalties. 

Matthew Galajda is in top form this season and is well on his way to winning the ECAC goaltender of the year. Playing in every game this season Galajda has a 1.46 goals against average and .940 save percentage which places him in second in both categories. He also has two shutouts to boot. He has a strong track record of success against Quinnipiac with a 5-1 record in six starts. Goals surely will be a tough chore for the Bobcats against him.

Colgate Head Coach: Don Vaughan (27th Season)

2019-2020 Colgate record: 8-10-6 (6-3-3 ECAC)

All-time vs. Colgate : Quinnipiac leads 23-17-2

Colgate Key Players: Bobby McMann (F), Colton Young (F), Ben Sharf (F), Jared Cockrell (F), Paul McAvoy (F), Nick Austin (D), Trevor Cosgrove (D), Mitch Benson (G)

Colgate is having a very solid season under long time head coach Don Vaughan after multiple losings seasons. While they are still under .500 for the season, the Raiders are a respectable 6-3-3 in ECAC play this season and can play with anyone in the conference on any given weekend. Just ask Quinnipiac who got beat 3-1 by Colgate back in November. While lacking high end talent, the Raiders have played hard this season with solid wins against Lowell, Harvard, Quinnipiac and a tie with Providence. Don't overlook this Raiders team.

Offensively it has been a struggle for Colgate as they are averaging 2.12 goals per game this season. Senior Bobby McMann is the leading scorer with 14 points while senior Ben Sharf has given the Raiders unexpected production with 13 points. Freshman Colton Young (12 points) has been a nice find for Colgate but they just lack high end talent up front to score at will against teams. The Raiders also have by far the worst power play in the country at a measly 4.5%. 

The Raiders defense has been the key to a solid season for them. Giving up just 2.50 goals per game, they have been able to win games by limiting the opposing team on the scoreboard. For Colgate to win this game, it will have to be on the back end limiting Quinnipiac chances in the the offensive zone. Nick Austin, Trevor Cosgrove and Jacob Panetta have been consistent on the blue line this season and will need to be this weekend as well. The Raiders also must avoid the penalty box as their penalty kill is just 77.3% for the season. 

Colgate has seen a goaltender rotation between sophomores Mitch Benson and Andrew Farrier with both playing well this season. Colgate's record is better with Farrier in between the pipes and he has started the last four games going 1-1-2 in the stretch. His 2.18 goals against and .925 save percentage lead the team as well. Benson has a 2.38 goals against and a .918 save percentage on the season. When these two teams met back in November, it was Farrier who got the win with a 33 save effort.


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