|Quinnpiac got revenge against Harvard for an earlier defeat|
Quinnipiac had by far its best weekend of the year this past weekend when they crushed Harvard and Dartmouth by a combined score of 11-2. The wins couple with last weeks sweep of Princeton moved the Bobcats from 10th in the ECAC to tied for third with Harvard and put them in position to move up even further. Here are my thoughts on this past weekends slate of games.
- It was a complete sixty minute effort for the Bobcats both nights as they got revenge on Harvard from a 7-2 defeat back in November with a blowout win of their own. Quinnipiac scored the first goal before the Crimson tied it but scored five unanswered goals in the second and third period. Granted Harvard did not have Jack Drury in this game as he was with the US World Junior team but that wouldn't have made a difference. Quinnipiac played fast and aggressive offensively and was strong on the back end. The next night against Dartmouth was much more of the same except the teams were scoreless through one period. Quinnipiac scored four unanswered goals before a late garbage time goal that Quinnipiac immediately responded to with a goal of their own. The Bobcats were relentless this weekend, hunting pucks, winning battles and scoring goals. That is the formula for winning games.
- This was back to back games where Quinnipiac dominated on the face off dot and against Dartmouth it led to goals by Wyatt Bongiovanni and Ethan Leyh. Winning face offs is key to lead to greater puck possession and frankly quick goals when the defense can't get in position to make a play.
- It was a huge weekend for some of the Bobcats best skill players. Odeen Tufto had a six point weekend (1 goal, 5 assists) while Wyatt Bongiovanni had a four point weekend (3 goals, 1 assist). It was a huge weekend for Ethan de Jong who looks to have broken out with a five point weekend (2 goals, 3 assists). Ethan Leyh (3 points), Peter Diliberatore (3 points), Skyler Brind'Amour (2 points) and Karlis Cukste (2 points) all had mulit point weekends. They will need these type of efforts from the young skill players down the stretch.
- The Quinnipiac power play had his best weekend of the year going 4 of 7 with two goals from Ethan de Jong, one from Wyatt Bongiovanni and one from Nick Jermain. Maybe this is the start of an improved power play which would be ideal for Quinnipiac to have down the stretch. Special teams have always been a staple of good Quinnipiac teams and maybe this young team is starting to go down that path as a good Bobcats team.
- It was another strong weekend for Keith Petruzzelli who is turning in the best season of the his time at Quinnipiac. He has won five straight games and in four of them has yielded just a single goal in each. Petruzzelli is now a strength for the Bobcats and that is not something we could have said early in the season. His goals against average of 2.13 is very good but his save percentage of .918 continues to improve as well. You have to give a lot of credit to Petruzzelli as something has clicked for him.
|Quinnipiac beat Dartmouth 5-1 on Saturday night|
- For a defense that had a ton of inexperience early in the season, they are growing up fast. To hold good offensive teams such as Harvard and Dartmouth to just a goal each is outstanding. Karlis Cukste has been a very good leader back there but young players like Jayden Lee, Logan Britt and CJ McGee are growing before our eyes and lets not forget that sophomores Peter Diliberatore and Zach Metsa are putting together fine seasons as well. The young Bobcats on defense should only get better as the season heads down the stretch for these last three months. They may not be as explosive offensively as past Bobcat teams from the blue line but they are more than capable of chipping offensively at times.
- You have to give props to Rand Pecknold and the coaching staff. The players are buying in and the team is getting results. After a tough November month when the team went 3-6-1, it looks like the month off was good for these young Bobcats as they looked like they have hit the reset button. It seems like the time off was good for them as they could practice on many different things with no games to worry about. This is what makes Rand one of the best coaches in the country as he can take a team as young as this one and have it competing for a potential NCAA spot.
- Don't look now but this five game winning streak and four straight ECAC wins has moved Quinnipiac from 10th to tied for third with Harvard as I said earlier but now this team has moved up to 16th in the pairwise rankings. That is not an ideal spot to be in as the cut line is usually between 13-15 depending on conference tournament upsets. But the Bobcats are positioned to make a second half run and they still have games against Clarkson twice and Cornell which would go a long way in the pairwise should they win those.
- On tap is a trip to North Country which is always difficult. They will face St. Lawrence on Friday followed by Clarkson on Saturday. One note is that Quinnipiac won't have have to face St. Lawrence at Appleton Arena as the construction is still on going so the game will be played at Roos House on the campus of SUNY-Canton. The game against Clarkson will have major impact on the top of the ECAC standings along with the pairwise rankings.
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