|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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