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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