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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