|Zach Metsa had a five point series as Quinnipiac swept Sacred Heart|
For the first time since February 29th, the Quinnipiac Bobcats took to the ice for a live hockey game as they played host to Sacred Heart to kick off its season two months later than normal due to the COVID-19 situation still on going in the world. The 2019-2020 season ended abruptly prior to the ECAC Quarterfinals with the Bobcats finishing with a record of 21-11-2.
The 2020-2021 season has seen eight of the twelve ECAC teams not take part this season with only Quinnipiac, Clarkson, Colgate and St. Lawrence playing on. The Bobcats will play a 26 game season having already lost two games to cancellation.
Quinnipiac got off to a good start this year with back to back wins against Sacred Heart, 9-2 and 2-1 in overtime. Here are my thoughts and observations of these last two games.
- This might be Quinnipiac's most talented and deepest team since the 2016 National Runner Up team that lost to North Dakota. The Bobcats are deep up front with their top six having lots of skill and scoring ability. Even the Bobcats bottom two lines having scoring ability and toughness. While the defense doesn't feature one senior, it is a talented bunch that can score and defend. Throw in the fact that Keith Petruzzelli looks to have picked up right where he left off last season and this has the makings of a potentially very good Bobcats team.
- The Bobcats looked great in game one winning 9-2 with nine different players scoring goals. They got off to a slow start in the first period but that has to be expected as they were working out the kinks before exploding in the second and third periods. However, I was more impressed with the win in game two though as they gutted out a 2-1 win in overtime. I thought Sacred Heart played really well in the second game and really took it to Quinnipiac at times especially in the second and third period. The Bobcats remained focused and didn't let going to overtime affect them as Wyatt Bongiovanni ended it 2:19 into the extra frame. Being able to win tight games is something that is needed to see what teams are made of.
- Zach Metsa broke out as a sophomore last season and it looks like the junior defenseman could be in store for an even greater season. Metsa was strong with a five point series and had the secondary assist on the Bongiovanni game winner in overtime. He is a workhorse on the back end and should be able to help fill the void with the graduation of Karlis Cukste.
- Skyler Brind'Amour and Odeen Tufto were both strong on the face-off dot against Sacred Heart. Brind'Amour won 24 of 34 face-offs while Tufto won 29 of 46. Having two good players on face-offs are big especially with the loss of William Fallstrom who was very good at it.
- It was only two games but you can tell that the power play for the Bobcats has the ability to be very good this season. They got tons of quality looks and while they only went 3 for 13 in the series you can just tell they have the talent and ability on the man advantage to get results more so this season.
- Ty Smilanic was held scoreless in the Quinnipiac rout but more than made up for it with his nifty goal in the second game. The goal was a thing of beauty with Smilanic featuring soft hands and great hand eye coordination and speed. He is a one of the Bobcats best players and should have a very good season once he gets his feet wet.
- Its always nice to get a player like senior Josh Mayanja some playing time. One of the top locker room and team guys the past four years he got to see some late action in the blowout win against Sacred Heart making three saves in five minutes. Its always nice to rewards players for being strong team players and Mayanja has been one of them in his four years with the program.
- Its nice to see Marcus Chorney chip in with his first two points of his career. After only playing 15 games in two seasons, the junior is expected to play a lot more this season and take on a bigger role to help anchor the Bobcats defense. He showed some nice ability down the stretch last year and it looks like it has carried into this season.
- It stinks that students, alumni and fans can't be in the building this season due to COVID-19 but the team will have full support behind them and hopefully by the 2021-2022 fans will be able to return to the People's United Center along with all sporting events.
- Quinnipiac will play its toughest non-conference games this weekend when they host Bowling Green who already have seven games under their belt this season. Granted two of them were against Division III Adrian which do not count in the standings but this is a team looks to be in a groove right now. The only defeat for Bowling Green was at the hands of Mercyhurst back on December 5th.
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