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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