Friday, December 31, 2021

Quinnipiac December Recruiting Recap

Anthony Cipollone is one of two commits this month for Quinnipiac

The Quinnipiac Bobcats picked two commitments in the month of December as earlier this month as Bonnyville Pontiacs (AJHL) forward Alex Power committed to the program. Power is a 6'1, 185 pound left shot forward who hails from St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada which is the easternmost city in Canada. In his first full season after playing 15 games a season ago, Power has 29 points in 30 games for the Pontiacs. This is the first commit for Quinnipiac from Newfoundland and Labrador which is not considered a huge hockey hot bed in Canada. Power is also the Bonnyville Pontiac first Quinnipiac commit since Jean-Marc Beaudoin who captained the Bobcats back in the 2009-2010 season. 

Quinnipiac's second commitment has a last name that Bobcats fans should all well and know. Just three days before Christmas, Anthony Cipollone the younger brother of current Bobcat Joey Cipollone committed to the program. The younger Cipollone is a 5'6, 165 left shot forward from Purchase, New York. In his second season with the Brooks Bandits (AJHL), Cipollone has 32 points (10 goals, 22 assists) in 34 games played. Prior to playing for Brooks he played at the Loomis Chaffee School along with the Yale Jr. Bulldogs Hockey Program.


Alex Power Eliteprospects Player Page

Alex Power AJHL Player Page

Anthony Cipollone Eliteprospects Player Page

Anthony Cipollone AJHL Player Page


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Monday, December 6, 2021

Thoughts & Observations from Quinnipiac's sweep in the New York Capital Region

Yaniv Perets has 3 consecutive shutouts for Quinnipiac

After a weekend off for Thanksgiving it was back to work for the Quinnipiac Bobcats who traveled to the New York Capital Region to face RPI and Union for the first time since the 2019-2020 season. The Bobcats took care of business in relatively easy fashion sweeping the weekend slate with back to back shutouts. This is Quinnipiac's third straight game with a shutout as prior to Thanksgiving they shut out St. Lawrence 8-0 in Hamden. The Bobcats will now wrap up the first half with a home and home with LIU. Here are my thoughts and observations from the weekend.

- It was another dominant defensive effort this weekend for Quinnipiac. They let up a total of 31 shots combined in two games including just 13 in Saturday's game against. This is the fifth time this season that Quinnipiac has held an opponent to 15 shots or fewer in a game. Quinnipiac's defense has had 11 games when they have allowed 20 or fewer shots in a game. So far in the first half of the season, the Bobcats defense has been downright dominant. 

- It has taken 16 games but its starting to look like Yaniv Perets is going to be the man in goal going forward. He started his fourth straight game and three of those games have been shutouts. Perets six shutouts are tied for first in the country and his goals against of 0.86 is by far and away tops in the country. His first half of the season has been quite impressive.

-  If there is a concern with a team that is 12-1-3, I would say the offense still has issues to me. They kept Rensselaer in the whole game until scoring a late empty net goal and the next night against Union, Quinnipiac let the Dutchmen hang around for two and half periods. To me they really should be beating these bottom ECAC teams pretty easily and not letting them hang around throughout the game. 

- For a team that is ranked second in the country not to have a player in the top 50 in scoring is pretty stunning but that is the case. Defense and goal-tending right now are the back bone of this team but the offense really needs to elevate its game because they can't just score in spurts and think everything is just fine. Consistency needs to happen on offense especially in the second half especially if this team wants to reach the Frozen Four in Boston this year.

- One thing that the coaching staff should focus on with the upcoming break is the power play. So far its been a disaster this season and for a team ranked #2 in the country to have a power play ranked 51st at 12.1% is just not good enough. They can get away with it when they are playing the ECAC bottom feeders but late in the season when the competition is going to increase they are going to need to score on the power play. This should be the number one focus this team can do to improve when they start the second half of the season.

- Quinnipiac right now is in excellent position for the Cleary Cup as they are only a point behind conference leader Cornell yet have played two less games than every team except Princeton, Darmouth and Yale who are 10,11 and 12 in the ECAC. With the way the Quinnipiac defense is playing along with seeing how other teams have played in the ECAC it would be a pretty big disappointment if Quinnipiac didn't win the Cleary Cup for the second straight year.

- The first half of the season concludes this weekend with a home and home with second year program LIU. Quinnipiac blew out LIU 7-1 a year ago and the Sharks don't have the talent on paper to compete with the Bobcats. I expect a split in goal this weekend with Perets and St. Cyr due to the quality of the opponent. 

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Monday, November 15, 2021

Thoughts and Observations from Quinnipiac's sweep of Arizona State

Quinnipiac swept Arizona State in two games this past weekend

Quinnipiac went into the weekend facing off against a high power offense in the Arizona State Sun Devils. The last time these two teams met back in the 2019-2020, Arizona State swept the Bobcats in the desert by scores of 5-3 and 4-1. It was only appropriate that Quinnipiac returned the favor this weekend and they did by having an offensive explosion scoring ten goals total in the two wins. This type of scoring has been few and far between this season. Maybe this was the weekend in which the Quinnipiac offense starts to put it together and now continues to build off this weekend as they head into the final stretch of games here in the first half of the season. Here are my thoughts and observations from the weekend.

- Lets start with my disastrous take on Friday night after Arizona State scored its third goal. I said I would be shocked if the Bobcats mounted a comeback because they have don't a big time offense that can score at will. I think up to that point you could question that, especially over the prior four games where they really struggled offensively scoring only eight goals total against some weaker opponents. Arizona State came in as one of the top offensive and power play teams in the country with some really skilled players. What I didn't expect was for Arizona State to start to lose steam in the second period and for Quinnipiac to continue to get stronger as the game on. The physical toll wore on Arizona State and the Bobcats made them pay with five unanswered goals. I have no problem eating crow and even having the team account having some fun at my expense.

-  This sweep was just massive for Quinnipiac for pairwise reasons. I know people think its early in the season still but wins like these will help later in the season. Just ask the 2016-17 or 2019-2020 teams. A couple early season losses against non-conference teams flipped to wins and those two teams are NCAA tournament teams. Note the 2019-2020 season was ended by the pandemic but Quinnipiac was still past the pairwise cut line. The Bobcats sweep pushed them to 7th in the pairwise. Had they split they would have been 12th. Had Arizona State swept they would have fell to 24th. The comeback Friday will prove big in the long run and there is no denying that.

- It is looking like the Quinnipiac power play could be turning a corner. They went 3 of 10 on the weekend with goals by Ty Smilanic, Michael Lombardi and Oliver Chau. I still think there is too much passing and not enough shots on goal along with traffic in front. I also think you need to take the fact that Arizona State is not a disciplined hockey team. They take way too many penalties and that costs a team like that in the long run. 

- One of the big things that won Quinnipiac the game on Friday was their conditioning. They are probably in the top five of top conditioned teams in the country and it showed against Arizona State as they rallied from a three goal deficit only to continue to get stronger as the game went along. That is impressive to say the least and strength coach Brijesh Patel should get a ton of credit working with these players. 

- It will be interesting to see how long the goaltender split will continue for Quinnipiac. I think Yaniv Perets has outplayed transfer Dylan St. Cyr with the eye test and frankly on the stat sheet. I am to the belief that there comes a point in the season where you need to ride one of the two goaltenders especially down the stretch. 

- Brendan Less was out of the lineup on Saturday due to an injury. Less has been a very consistent player on the back end for Quinnipiac. If there is any silver lining, its that Quinnipiac has the depth on defense this year to sustain an injury on the back end. In other years they may not but the Bobcats go at least nine deep and that doesn't include freshman Jack Babbage who has yet to see game action.

- Saturday saw the season debut of Chrtistophe Fillion who missed the first 11 games of the season. He immediately contributed with an assist on the Michael Lombardi power play goal. Fillion is expected to be a solid contributor especially after an 11 point campaign in his freshman season. He should be a boost to the lineup for the Bobcats going forward.

- Quinnipiac plays the next four games in league play with the North Country teams coming to Hamden this upcoming weekend followed by a road trip to the New York Capital region the following weekend to play RPI and Union. Friday night will see Quinnipiac play Clarkson in a match up with two of the top teams in the ECAC. The following night I expect to see Quinnipiac with some revenge in their eyes against St. Lawrence who won the Whitelaw Cup on the Bobcats home ice last March.

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Monday, November 8, 2021

Thoughts and Observations from Quinnipiac's ECAC opening weekend

Ethan de Jong had a goal this weekend in a win against Yale

It was the opening weekend of ECAC play for Quinnipiac and the Bobcats got off to the start they were expected to in conference play. They took care of business against both Yale and Brown shutting them both out on consecutive nights. Getting off to a good start in conference play is always a must as you never want to be playing catch up. Quinnipiac will now dive into non conference play with two home games against Arizona State this weekend. Here are my thoughts and observations from the opening weekend in ECAC play.

- We are almost a third of the way through this season and you can tell what the identity of the Bobcats is already. They are a defense oriented team first. When the Bobcats defense is on and playing its game it is going to be difficult to beat them because they essentially smother opponents into submission. This past weekend they gave up 24 shots total in two games. Its rare to see a team consistently give up so few shots but the Bobcats are one of those teams that just a fundamentally a great defensive team. Just ten games into this season and Quinnipiac already has four shutouts. Very impressive what they are doing on the back end. 

- For a team that is 7-1-2 you would think there wouldn't be any concerns but to me they are just struggling offensively right now. Quinnipiac has scored just eight goals in the past four games and none of these teams were world beaters either. That is just very concerning especially with the talent they have up front. This past weekend alone saw 72 Quinnipiac shots on goal and just four goals. And one of the goal was an empty net variety by TJ Friedmann in the Yale game. The offense has to improve if this team is going to be able to go toe to toe with some of the high powered offenses this year. 

- Sophomore Nick Bochen hasn't seen a ton of game action this year and a lot of that is due to the depth on the back end. He played in both games this weekend and scored the lone goal in a 1-0 win over Brown on Saturday. Bochen is a player who flashed last season especially on the power play. His goal on Saturday came on the power play. I wonder if Rand Pecknold will start to play Bochen more especially with the massive struggles on the Bobcats power play to the start of this season.

- Yaniv Perets saw back to back games for the second time this year and was rewarded with two shutouts on the weekend. His performance earned him ECAC goaltender of the week. He made 24 saves in two games this weekend but he was rarely challenged and didn't have to face an onslaught of shots because of his defense in front of him. Its kind of hard to get a read on his performance and Dylan St. Cyr's for that matter because the defense in front of them has been so good. 

- The power play struggles have continued and don't seem to get any better. It's same cycling of the puck that hasn't produced many results always looking for the one timer from the side. Can they get some traffic in front of the net and just fire on pucks and get some redirects? Both Ty Smilanic and Skyler Brind'Amour are big players who should be in front of the net to create space. They need to put more pucks on the net instead of always looking for that bomb from the side. 

- One thing I am concerned with almost a third of the way through the season is that while Quinnipiac is 7-1-2, ranked 5th and has beaten teams such as North Dakota, they are only 15th in the pairwise rankings. Its not a great spot to be in even though there is a ton of season left. One reason I am concerned is Quinnipiac hasn't played a great schedule to begin the season outside of Boston College and North Dakota and even Boston College has struggled so far. Looking ahead they really don't have any quality non conference games left as Arizona State is a mid tier team while Long Island is a bottom feeder and they are playing two games against them. They possibly could get a game with Connecticut should they meet in the Connecticut Ice Final. Coupled with the fact that the ECAC looks kind of weak this season gives me some concern. I don't think Quinnipiac can slip up many times remaining if at all because of where they are currently in the pairwise.

- This weekends series against Arizona State is a very important one. It is tough say to how good the Sun Devils are but they have a lot of talent especially offensively and a roster with six NHL draft picks. The last time these two teams played was the 2019-2020 season in which the Bobcats were swept out in the desert. 

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Thursday, November 4, 2021

Defenseman Lucas Sorace commits to Quinnipiac

Lucas Sorace during his time with Burnaby Winter Club

Quinnipiac this past week picked up another future defenseman commitment when Lucas Sorace of the Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL) verbally committed to the Bobcats per the press release from Chilliwack. Sorace is a 6'1, 170 pound left shot defenseman. The 2004 born native of Port Moody, BC, Canada has only played in one game this season for Chilliwack and is currently skating with the North East Chiefs U18 team. He previously played for the Burnaby Winter Club in the 2019-2020 season. Not much is known about Sorace who isn't expected to arrive in Hamden until the 2023-2024 season.


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BCHL Player Page 


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Monday, November 1, 2021

Thoughts and Observations from Quinnipiac's weekend series with AIC

Zach Metsa scored the game winning goal 51 seconds into overtime

Quinnipiac this past weekend had a home and home series against AIC of Atlantic Hockey. A short drive up I-91 saw the Bobcats and Yellow Jackets skate to a 2-2 on Friday before Quinnipiac won a thrilling 2-1 game in overtime on Saturday on Zach Metsa's goal. I didn't get the chance to see the Friday game because I was not going to fork over cash to something that wasn't ESPN Plus in which all leagues should be on. So with that you will only get my thoughts on Saturday's game.

- It was a struggle this weekend for Quinnipiac against a lesser opponent. The Bobcats are fortunate to come away without a loss and that is the best part you can say about a weekend like this. AIC probably is better than their record showed as four the losses came against Boston College, Providence and UMass Amherst. AIC is also a well coached team under Eric Lang who has turned the Yellow Jackets into a respectable program that was once a laughingstock. 

- What a game winning goal that was by Zach Metsa to send the Bobcat faithful home with a win after really dominating Saturday's game on the stat sheet but not with goals. Quinnipiac out shot AIC 45-15 and won 39 face-offs to AIC's 23. It was a pretty dominant effort and the Bobcats were not rewarded for it until the Metsa rocket of a goal just 51 seconds into overtime. Metsa has heated up with four points in his last three games and has seven points in eight games this year.

- I am little concerned so far with Quinnipiac's lack of scoring this season as in five of the eight games played, the Bobcats have scored two goals or less in them. They are averaging 2.75 goals per game this season, but ten of those goals game in two games against North Dakota and Holy Cross which means they are averaging just two goals per game in games they don't score five or more goals. More is needed from the forwards and on a consistent basis if the Bobcats want to be playing deep into March and April this year. 

- Defense is clearly the strength of this game and will win them a lot of games until they can score consistently on offense. It's such a deep unit that Nick Bochen who played 24 games last season has only played in one game while graduate transfer Tony Stillwell who played 80 games at Brown has only been able to get into the lineup for three games.

- The power play is a real challenge now for Quinnipiac. This weekend they went 0 for 7 and on the season they are a measly 8.6%. That just isn't going to cut it especially for a team in the top ten. They need to figure something out fast because its not trending well for them. 

- On the flip side the penalty kill continues to be strong as they kept AIC off the board on five opportunities this weekend. At 91.7% and in the top ten in the country in this category, this is more like a Quinnipiac team on the special teams. 

- Dylan St. Cyr had to come on in relief on Friday night as Yaniv Perets didn't play in periods two or three. Its unknown if Perets suffered some sort of injury in Friday's game so that is a situation that will have to be monitored as the duo of St. Cyr and Perets has been good to start the season. 

- Quinnipiac will open ECAC play this weekend when they travel to down Whitney Avenue Friday night to play Yale and then head to Providence on Saturday to face Brown. It is the first time Quinnipiac has faced rival Yale since February 29, 2020 to conclude the regular season. The two teams were supposed to meet in the ECAC quarterfinal before the season got shut down due to COVID-19. 

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Monday, October 25, 2021

Thoughts and Observations from Quinnipiac's weekend split with North Dakota

Quinnipiac defeated North Dakota for the first time on Friday

This past weekend Quinnipiac returned home in front of a home crowd for the first time in 601 days when they welcomed the University of North Dakota to Hamden as the two teams met for the first time since the 2016 National Championship game in Tampa, Florida. One of college hockey's most storied programs finally made the trek to Connecticut in a highly anticipated top ten match-up. The weekend series did not disappoint as Quinnipiac stormed out to a 5-2 win on Friday night before North Dakota returned the favor the following night with a 3-1 win. It was a treat to watch both these teams and it would not shock me to see them play again later in the season. Here are my thoughts and observations from the weekend.

- Friday night was one of the best games Quinnipiac has played in the programs history in my opinion. I definitely rank this as a top ten win since the team made the jump up to Division I level and as its up there with NCAA tournament wins and ECAC tournament wins. The atmosphere was rocking and that was to be expected with fans in the building for the first time in 601 days. Going into this game I felt if Quinnipiac was going to get at least one win, this was going to be the game. The energy and the juice was there as the Quinnipiac scored four unanswered goals after Matteo Costantini got North Dakota on the scoreboard 7:44 into the game. If Quinnipiac can consistently play like they did Friday then they have a chance to go really far this season. 

-  Saturday night saw Quinnipiac get a lot of quality scoring chances on North Dakota but Fighting Hawks goaltender Zach Driscoll's 35 saves were the big difference in North Dakota splitting this series. But I thought that North Dakota had way to much offensive zone time and it helped when they won the face-off battle in game 2 much like it helped Quinnipiac in game 1 when they had more puck possessions because of face-off wins. You have to give North Dakota a ton of credit for the way they responded. They are a well coached talented team that still putting all the pieces together this early in the season. I expect North Dakota to be there as a favorite come March.

- I loved Quinnipiac's offensive output on Friday. Four different Bobcats scored goals including two from transfer Oliver Chau, Ty Smilanic, Jayden Lee and Joey Cipollone. Chau recorded a three point night while Zach Metsa, Ethan de Jong and Ethan Leyh each tallied two assists each. It was the type of balanced scoring attack that made this a very satisfying win and showed that Quinnipiac is a potential dangerous team to play all season long. 

- Quinnipiac's power play finally got going on Friday night with two power play goals by Jayden Lee and Ty Smilanic. It was only a matter of time before they got one as they have been looking solid on the power play but just not converting. The penalty kill's clean streak finally ended as they gave up two goals on the man advantage to Jake Sanderson and Judd Caulfield. It is tough to continue to take penalties and expect to keep a team like North Dakota from converting on man advantage opportunities during this series.

- Man is Jake Sanderson an alpha dog. His high end talent was on full display this weekend including a beauty of a goal on Friday night when he ripped one high short side past Yaniv Perets. He also assisted on the last two North Dakota goals on Saturday. You can see why he was drafted so high as he can move the puck and score from the back end. I wouldn't be shocked to see him on the Ottawa Senators roster by the end of this season. He is that good.

- Of the two Quinnipiac goaltenders that played this weekend, I thought Yaniv Perets was by far the better goaltender between him and Dylan St. Cyr. While neither faced a ton of of shots, 16 for Perets and 19 for St. Cyr, I thought the sophomore played pretty mistake free on Friday. St. Cyr had a terrible turnover on the first North Dakota goal where he played the puck aggressively trying to push the play quick out of the defensive zone that led to a turnover to Mark Senden who buried it home for the tying goal. The second goal he gave up was a scrum in net where the puck was under him and he didn't hold his space to keep the puck out of the net. On the third goal the Quinnipiac defense had a defensive zone turnover leading to a Connor Ford goal. I thought St. Cyr was a little slow closing off the short side that Ford scored on. St. Cyr is clearly in a platoon situation right now at this point in the season but he needs to be better than what he showed on Saturday night against a high end opponent. You may be able to get away with those type of mistakes against the likes of Vermont, but against a North Dakota they will make you pay. I would expect to see Rand Pecknold continue the goaltender platoon but at some point in the season he will likely ride with one of them.

- This was a really physical series with the teams combining for 22 penalties. Its the type of physical hockey you love to see between two really good teams early in the season. As a fan of college hockey, I would love to see a third physical match-up with a team like North Dakota in the NCAA tournament later this season. 

- I thought the Quinnipiac defense was fantastic Friday night closing scoring lanes, moving the puck out of the zone quickly and limiting mistakes. It was a really good effort that unfortunately wasn't matched on Saturday when they turned the puck over, played a lot in their own end and struggled to move the move puck at times. While the performance Saturday wasn't the worst I have seen and probably would have been good enough against weaker teams, it just was not good enough against a caliber of an opponent like North Dakota.

- I definitely want to say thank you to the University of North Dakota for making the long trek out to Connecticut when many teams from out west choose not to. I am hoping we can continue to get teams like North Dakota to come east in the future especially when Quinnipiac returns the favor and heads out to play these teams in their arenas. Its a treat for Quinnipiac fans anytime you can get a western power to come east as we rarely get to see them teams on a consistent basis. 

- Up next for Quinnipiac is the return of Bill Riga to Hamden as the Bobcats face his new team, Holy Cross on Tuesday. Coach Riga's team is 1-4 on the season but he got his first win on the road against Bentley 3-2 on Saturday. This will be an interesting game as while Riga doesn't have the talent to match Quinnipiac but he does have deep inner knowledge of all things in the Quinnipiac program and most of the current players on the team. Former Bobcat Tyler Ghirardosi is the leading scorer for the Crusaders with five points. It is definitely a game Quinnipiac cannot overlook as coach Riga will have his team ready to play come Tuesday night.

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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Q&A with University of Hockey Blog

The last time Quinnipiac and North Dakota played was the 2016 National Championship Game

In anticipation of this weekends home opening massive series against North Dakota in which fans will be in the building for the first time in 601 days, I had a chance to do a Q&A with the University of Hockey Blog who focuses on all things North Dakota hockey. Thanks again to them for taking the time to do this and you can follow them on Twitter @UofHockeyBlog.

@QHockeyBlog: What are your expectations for this weekends series between Quinnipiac and North Dakota especially with students being back in the building in Hamden for the first time in 601 Days.

@UofHockeyBlog: My expectations are that it’s going to be a tight, possibly lower scoring battle between two good teams. As far as the crowds go, North Dakota is no stranger to them as they played in front of reduced crowds of about 4,000 last season and a full building for their three home games and one exhibition so far this season.  I’m sure Quinnipiac will come out fired up with the crowd behind them. This will make it important for North Dakota to handle the first push, because in their last game they gave up two goals in the first 90 seconds or so. It’s one thing to play from behind like that at home but on the road it could be too much to overcome.

@QHockeyBlog: North Dakota is coming off back to back 20 plus win seasons. What are the expectations like in Grand Forks this season for this North Dakota team. Is it national championship or bust? 

@UofHockeyBlog: I’m not sure the expectations have been set because it’s tough to say how a team that turned over half their roster will gel together.  They lost eight of their top nine scorers from last season and both goalies. Rather than bring a massive freshmen class, North Dakota hit the transfer portal and picked up two of the leading scorers from the WCHA, a very good starting goalie and some assistance on defense as well. That being said to replace guys that are already producing in the NHL is never an easy thing to do. This weekend, I think will be big in determining what sort of trajectory we expect North Dakota to take this year. If they get swept, it’ll be gut check time but if they split most sane Fighting Hawk fans would be happy with that. If they sweep convincingly, then North Dakota fans might start looking at Frozen Four tickets.

@QHockeyBlog: The team lost 60% of its goal production from last season to graduation/early departures. Tell us who are some of the players us as Quinnipiac fans need to watch out for in this series?

@UofHockeyBlog: Jake Sanderson on the back end, is the 5th overall pick from the 2020 draft by Ottawa, is someone I think will be a big variable in how this series goes. I’m looking at the scores from Quinnipiac's first few games and it appears they can really shut down teams defensively. North Dakota admittedly doesn’t have the firepower coming from the forwards like they did the past couple years. That being said, I think scoring will have to be supplemented from the talented players on the back end like Jake Sanderson. In the forward group, Riese Gaber, may be smaller in stature but he’s a pitbull on the ice and can beat any goalie in the country with his shot. As far as freshman go, Jake Schmaltz has been really good to start his North Dakota career. He’s scored goals and assisted on the game tying goal with 30 seconds left last Saturday, so he’s a gamer.  

@QHockeyBlog: North Dakota has 9 NHL draft picks. How do you think this team compares talent wise to the 2015-2016 National Championship team which was the last time these two teams faced?   

@UofHockeyBlog: I’m not sure many teams compare favorably with that 2015-16 national championship team. That team seemed to have the rare quality of having younger high draft picks (Boeser, Schmaltz) and skilled upperclassmen (Caggiula, Stecher) that developed later and held the younger talent accountable every day.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we under-performed the following season after those older guys were picked up by NHL teams.

@QHockeyBlog: So far four games into the season what do you think are the strengths of this North Dakota team?   

@UofHockeyBlog: The strengths so far seem to be work ethic as I haven't seen guys taking shifts off along with the physicality and resiliency in the comebacks they’ve produced.
@QHockeyBlog:What would you say are the weaknesses so far in this young season?   

@UofHockeyBlog: I think experience is the main weakness I see. We could see some growing pains as they figure out how to add 14 guys to their roster in the most effective manner. Whether it be on the power play, penalty kill, or in the line pairings, finding the guys that click together could take longer but a 3-0-1 start isn’t a terrible start all things considered.

@QHockeyBlog: What are you thoughts on how transfer goaltender Zach Driscoll from Bemidji State has played so far this season?   

@UofHockeyBlog: Speaking as someone with no idea what to look for, I think he’s looked solid in most situations so far. He seems to be well positioned and stays calm under duress. I haven’t seen any weak goals yet. I know he’s a smaller goalie than North Dakota has had lately but he seems to fill the net fairly well.

@QHockeyBlog: The North Dakota fan base is one of the most passionate fan bases in all of college hockey if not number one. From you view do you think that the fan base respects Quinnipiac going into this series as it is a match-up of two top ten teams and I say that because North Dakota is 4-0 all time against Quinnipiac with two NCAA tournament wins? 

@UofHockeyBlog: I think you have two types of North Dakota fans. Casual fans that go to games and don’t follow the team much past that. Then there are the diehards that follow every single press conference and re-watch all of the games and highlights. The casual fan may look at Quinnipiac and dismiss them as a school we’ve never lost to in the past so it should be an easy sweep.  The diehard fans that follow college hockey understand that it will be a tough series and a road split would be a fine result as long as North Dakota is scoring goals and trending in the right direction.  That being said, it sure would be nice to keep North Dakota's unbeaten streak against the Bobcats alive. Thanks for having me! 

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Monday, October 18, 2021

Thoughts and Observations from Quinnipiac's 2-0 win over Vermont

Michael Lombardi had a goal and an assist in Quinnipiac's win

Quinnipiac played just a lone game this weekend when they traveled to Burlington, Vermont to face the Vermont Catamounts. The Bobcats used suffocating defense in a 2-0 victory in their final game before the home opener on Friday night against North Dakota. Here are some of my thoughts and observations from the game.

- Its clear that the Quinnipiac defense has gelled pretty quickly. That was a defensive clinic that the Bobcats put on Saturday against Vermont. The Catamounts didn't have a shot on goal until more than midway through the second period. You read that folks, the second period. Quinnipiac held Vermont to just 14 shots on goal throughout the game and very few even threatened to go in. You might never see that happen again holding a team without a shot for a half of a game.

- Dylan St. Cyr returned from injury and picked the perfect night and opponent for his first game action with Quinnipiac. He was rarely tested with only 14 shots as his defense did the job in front of him. The shutout by St. Cyr gives Quinnipiac back to back shutouts just three games into the season. As of now it looks Quinnipiac has a nice combo with St. Cyr and Perets in goal.

- Quinnipiac once again struggled on the power play going 0 for 4 on the night. They have yet to score a man advantage goal three games into the season. On the flip side, the penalty kill units continue to be a strength of the team as they have yet to yield a power play goal to an opponent. The talent up front is too talented for the power play to be struggling three games into the season so they really need to get that figured out.

- Senior Michael Lombardi is off to a very good start. Three games into the season he already has four points on two goals and two assists. He scored the insurance goal against Vermont and assisted on Wyatt Bongiovanni's goal in the second period. After a 16 point season as a junior, Lombardi looks poised to have a greater impact in his final season in Hamden.

- I wasn't a fan of Quinnipiac losing the face-off battle to a lesser opponent. That probably kept Vermont in the game way longer than they should have been. Winning face-offs helps get extra possessions especially ones in the offensive zone. They need to do a better job than losing the battle 30-26. 

- Quinnipiac returns home for one of the biggest home series ever in Hamden when they take on #6 North Dakota on Friday and Saturday. The Fighting Hawks have 9 NHL Draft picks on their roster including four on the back end alone. It will be a stiff test for the Bobcats who last faced North Dakota in the 2016 National Championship game. Quinnipiac is 0-4 all time against North Dakota but this will be the first meeting of the teams on the Bobcats home ice.

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Monday, October 11, 2021

Thoughts and Observations from the Ice Breaker Tournament

Michael Lombardi had a goal and an assist in the tournament

The 2021-2022 officially kicked off and for the Quinnipiac Bobcats they started the season off on a good note. Playing in the Ice Breaker Tournament at DCU Center in Worcester, MA, Quinnipiac went 1-0-1 on the weekend to finish in second place in the tournament behind Boston College. Friday night saw Quinnipiac rally from a two goal deficit to earn a tie with Boston College though the Eagles took the shootout which was for tournament purposes only. Saturday night saw the Bobcats race to 3-0 lead after two periods and used a suffocating defensive performance to shut out the Northeastern Huskies behind a 19 save effort from sophomore Yaniv Perets. Here are some of my thoughts from the opening weekend.

- You couldn't have asked for a better start to the season other than starting with two wins. But a tie and a win against two top 20 opponents is nothing to sneeze about. Boston College is a top 10 team with loads of talent while Northeastern is in the top 20 with solid talent and coaching. While the effort against Boston College wasn't great in the opening period plus, give credit to Quinnipiac who fought back from two goals down to force a tie. The effort against Northeastern was outstanding which saw a wire to wire win and in pretty dominating fashion too. I thought Quinnipiac controlled the game from the start and really never let their foot off the gas. It was one of the more complete performances they played in a long time against a really solid team.

- With the loss of Peter Diliberatore on defense there was some questions in my mind who would step up and fill those shoes on the defensive end outside of Zach Metsa and some of the other returning players on defense. I thought the defense was very solid in their own end this weekend especially in the second the half of the Boston College game and all throughout the Northeastern game. They were downright suffocating at times. Graduate transfers Tony Stillwell (Brown), Brendan Less (Dartmouth) and Griffin Mendel (Denver) slide right in like they had been with the program for the past few years. The Bobcats have a lot of depth on defense and they didn't even suit up players like Nick Bochen or CJ McGee who gave the Bobcats a lot of games played last season. While the questions remain about offensive production from this group so far they are sound in their own end which is the most important thing.

- Last season was suppose to be a step forward for Skyler Brind'Amour but his production dipped from his freshman season. Part of that could have been due to the pandemic but more was expected from the Edmonton Oilers draft pick. So it was great to see Brind'Amour have a strong weekend with a goal and two assists and a plus three rating. His weekend was worthy of being named to the All-Tournament team for the Ice Breaker along with being named the ECAC player of the week. A breakout season for Brind'Amour will go a long way to help replacing the production of Odeen Tufto.

- Speaking of the All-Tournament team. Two other Bobcats joined Brind'Amour on the squad as TJ Friedmann (2 goals) was named the tournament MVP while Yaniv Perets (1-0-1, 0.96 goals against, 1 shutout) earned tournament honors. Players like Michael Lombardi and Ty Smilanic had good tournaments as well but missed out on the all-tournament team.

- I was really impressed by Yaniv Perets this weekend. The sophomore goaltender only played in two games last season in relief of starter Keith Petruzzelli so not much was known about the Quebec native. With graduate transfer Dylan St. Cyr on the shelf with an injury, Perets more than was up to the task for the Bobcats. He struggled a bit with rebounds in the Boston College game which led to both goals but settled in and became more comfortable late. Against Northeastern he was very solid in goal but a lot of that was due to the defense as well as he only faced 19 shots.

- If there was any area that Quinnipiac struggled with on the weekend it was the power play. They went a combined 0 for 7 on the weekend and that includes having two five minute power plays each game. The power play was not very good and they didn't get a ton of good chances on the weekend. With the talent they have that should improve but it was kind of worrisome to see.

- While the power play was not good, the penalty kill was. The Bobcats killed off all six of their opponents power play opportunities on the weekend. Quinnipiac is usually a very good team at killing penalties so getting off to a good start on the penalty kill is a good thing to see.

- Quinnipiac will play just a lone game this weekend on the road against Vermont who is 0-2 on the season. The Catamounts are in the second season of a rebuild under head coach Todd Woodcroft. In a COVID plagued season a year ago, Vermont went 1-10-2 but has added some quality young talent that should help improve the program in the next couple of seasons. After this weekend, Quinnipiac will return home in front of a home crowd when they host a weekend series against national power North Dakota.

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Friday, October 8, 2021

2021-2022 Quinnipiac Season Preview

Wyatt Bongiovanni will captain the Bobcats in 2021-2022

The 2021-2022 season is upon us and the Quinnipiac Bobcats are fresh off their fifth ECAC regular season title in program history and the seventh trip to the NCAA Tournament in the Division I era. After losing 4-3 in overtime to eventual Frozen Four team Minnesota State, the Bobcats suffered some big losses with the graduation of forward Odeen Tufto and goaltender Keith Petruzzelli along with the early departure of defenseman Peter Diliberatore to the Vegas Golden Knights. They also lost associate coach Bill Riga who took the head coaching position at Holy Cross. He has been replaced by former Alabama Huntsville head coach Mike Corbett. Quinnipiac returns a good amount of talent and added five graduate transfers to boost the depth of the roster.

The Bobcats open the season as the ECAC preseason favorite in the coaches poll edging out Clarkson for the top spot. However in the media poll, the Bobcats slide in at third just behind Clarkson and Harvard. They also open the season ranked 9th in the USCHO poll. With fans back in the building for the first time since the 2019-2020 season, this should give the program a boost. The Bobcats playing a challenging non-conference schedule this season with Boston College, Northeastern, North Dakota and Arizona State just some of the teams that highlight the Quinnipiac schedule. It is time to take a look at how the Quinnipiac roster shapes up for the 2021-2022 campaign.


For the first time in four years, Quinnipiac will not have Odeen Tufto suiting up for them. 168 career points is always tough to replace but there is no better player that can pick up the production than sophomore Ty Smilanic. The second year player is coming off a 14 goal, 21 point season in 29 games for the Bobcats and the expectation is that the production will increase. Newly named captain Wyatt Bongiovanni only played in nine games due to a knee injury but put up 8 points in those games. When healthy he is a double digit goal scorer and someone you can count on to have 25-30 points. Senior Ethan de Jong had 29 points a season ago and is one of the top goal scorers on the team returning. One player that will help replace Tufto's production is graduate transfer Oliver Chau who comes from National Champion UMass to Hamden. He is a play maker up front who had 84 points in 135 games with the Minutemen. Other players that are expected to pick up the load are Desi Burgart, Ethan Leyh, Skyler Brind'Amour, Guus van Nes, Christophe Fillion, Joey Cipollone and Michael Lombardi. Freshman Jacob Quillan, Christophe Tellier and Liam McLinskey should compete for game action. 


Quinnipiac lost a big defensive piece in Peter Diliberatore who left after his junior season to sign with the Vegas Golden Knights. Senior Zach Metsa will lead the defense this season as he is coming off a career year with 26 points in 29 games. However after Metsa there is not a ton of offensive production from the blue line. The Bobcats will need players like Jayden Lee, Nick Bochen and Iivari Rasanen to take bigger steps offensively to bring much needed production from the back end. Quinnipiac has a ton of depth on the blue line with Marcus Chorney, swing player TJ Friedmann who can also play forward and CJ McGee. They added to that depth with graduate transfers Griffin Mendel (Denver), Tony Stillwell (Brown) and Brandon Less (Dartmouth). Neither Stillwell or Less have played a game in over a year as the Ivy League schools didn't play last year. Skilled freshman Jack Babbage rounds out the defensive unit. Babbage is a player that might be able to give the Bobcats point production from the blue line as he had 29 points a season ago for Chicago in the USHL. This is clearly a veteran defensive group for Quinnipiac but how much offensive production they get from them is still yet an unknown.


For the first time in over a decade the Bobcats go into a season with some questions at the goaltender position. The only returner on the roster is sophomore Yaniv Perets who played in just two games a season ago in relief of the now departed Keith Petruzzelli. Joining Perets will be graduate transfer Dylan St. Cyr who most recently played for Notre Dame. In 22 games last season for the Fighting Irish, St. Cyr was 11-9-1 with a 2.44 goals against average and a .921 save percentage. Prior to that he had only played 11 games in three years for the Irish. The son of former Canada women's national ice hockey team goaltender Manon Rhéaume, St. Cyr is an undersized goaltender at 5'8, 170 pounds, not the prototypical Bobcats goaltender which is usually over 6'1. Rounding out the goaltender room is 6'7 freshman Noah Altman. The starting position will be a battle between Perets and St. Cyr and it would not surprise me to see head coach Rand Pecknold play both early in the season to see which one can seize the job.

2021-2022 Outlook

Expect Quinnipiac to be a team that finishes in the top three in the ECAC to compete for both the Cleary Cup and a Whitelaw Cup Championship. While the goaltender situation is probably somewhat of a question mark at this point, there is enough talent on the roster to get back to the NCAA tournament and the Bobcats should be tested more this season than they were a year ago when they played a rotation of three other ECAC teams and a pretty weak non-conference slate. This should help prepare the team in the stretch run of February and March as they look to return to the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive season.


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Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Forward Mason Marcellus commits to Quinnipiac

Mason Marcellus during his time with Drayton Valley Thunder

The Quinnipiac Bobcats picked up their third future commitment since August when 2002 born forward Mason Marcellus committed to the program via an Instagram post this week. Marcellus, a native of Greely, Ontario, Canada is a 5'9, 170 pound left shot forward who primarily plays the center position. The USHL news release goes a lot more into Marcellus commitment to the program.

A skilled offensive player, Marcellus was over a point per game player in a shortened season for the Drayton Valley Thunder of the Alberta Junior Hockey League where he had 22 points in 16 games (6 goals, 16 assists). This season, Marcellus is playing for the Lincoln Stars in the USHL before coming to Hamden likely for the 2022-2023 season. 


EliteProspects Player Page

USHL Player Page


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Saturday, August 14, 2021

Goaltender Chase Clark commits to Quinnipiac

Chase Clark (photo via Tri-City Storm)

The Quinnipiac Bobcats secured a commitment for a future goaltender when Chase Clark of the Tri-City Storm (USHL) announced his commitment to the Bobcats via twitter on August 13th. Clark is a 2002 born 6'6, 218 pound goaltender from Williamsville, NY which is just outside of Buffalo. He was recently selected by the Washington Capitals in the 6th round with the 183rd pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.

Clark spent the majority of the 2020-2021 season with the Jersey Hitmen of the NCDC in which he put up an impressive stat line. In 22 games he 18-2-1 with a 1.92 goals against average and a .935 save percentage. He went 2-0 in the playoffs with a 2.00 goals against average and a .952 save percentage. Clark also spent time with the Tri-City Storm playing in three games. He will play the 2021-2022 season in the USHL before making the trek to Hamden for the 2022-2023 season. 

The commitment of Clark gives the Bobcats another big goaltender in between the pipes following the likes of Keith Petruzzelli, Andrew Shortridge and Eric Hartzell. He is the second commitment to Quinnipiac this August following Christopher Pelosi who committed back on August 2nd.

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Friday, August 6, 2021

Christopher Pelosi commits to Quinnipiac University

Christopher Pelosi (photo by Al Aleman/USA Hockey)

The Quinnipiac Bobcats men's ice hockey team picked up its first 2005 born commitment when forward Christopher Pelosi verbally committed on August 2nd. This is the Bobcats first commitment since the commitment period opened on August 1st for all high school incoming juniors. A flood of talent committed on August 1st to the usual big programs but the Bobcats got in on the action on day two with the Washington Township, New Jersey native committing to Quinnipiac.


Pelosi is a 6'2, 187 pound left shot forward who spent the past season with the Mount St. Charles 15U AAA program in Rhode Island. In 29 games during a COVID plagued season he had 20 goals and 15 assists. Pelosi was selected by the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the 6th round with the 87th overall pick in the 2021 USHL Futures Draft. He will likely play another season of midget hockey before a potential USHL career followed by his arrival in Hamden at an unknown date. 

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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Thought's and Observations from Quinnipiac's North Country struggles against Clarkson

Peter Diliberatore scored the shootout winning goal Friday against Clarkson

It was a weekend of struggles for the Quinnipiac Bobcats especially on the offensive end as they only scored four goals in three games this past weekend. The teams skated to two ties on Friday and Saturday with each team splitting the extra point with shootout wins. On Sunday it was all Clarkson as the Golden Knights erased a 1-0 Quinnipiac lead with four unanswered goals until the Bobcats scored in the third period. Thankfully this is the last three game stretch for Quinnipiac the rest of the season as they now play the traditional Friday-Saturday games except they will play the same opponent. Here are my thoughts and observations from the weekend that wasn't for the Bobcats.

- Quinnipiac had a chance to put some distance between themselves and Clarkson for the league regular season title but squandered on that chance especially Saturday when Quinnipiac had a late third period lead and probably should have won the game outright. Now the teams are tied and should they finish tied it will probably come down to a wacky tie breaker as the teams finished 2-2-2 against each other this season. 

- These two teams definitely don't seem to like each other this year but that is to be expected when they are the two best teams in the league and they just played two three game series over the past three weeks. There was lots of penalties and physicality and it seemed Quinnipiac's Peter Diliberatore was at the center of a lot of those encounters. It only makes sense these teams meet a 7th and final time for the ECAC Tournament Championship.

- Quinnipiac needs more younger scoring from its freshman and sophomores. It cannot be just Ty Smilanic who carries the load. Some of these other young guys need to up their scoring including Skyler Brind'Amour, Ethan Leyh, Christophe Fillion and others. The Bobcats cannot just rely on their top guys to consistently come through for scoring because there are going to be times where those guys are held down especially this past weekend when Odeen Tufto only had one assist in three games. Clarkson did a good job taking away Tufto from this series after he had five points in the three games in Hamden just a few weeks ago. 

- The undisciplined play by the Bobcats has to stop. They had 21 penalties in the three games including a boarding major to Iivari Rasanen. These penalties led to two power play goals by Clarkson on Sunday which was the difference in the game. If these penalties totals continue, it is going to be hard for Quinnipiac to win games against opponents like Clarkson in the playoffs. 

- Keith Petruzzelli's shutout streak was ended just 2:44 into Friday's game against Clarkson. The senior has continued his outstanding season for the Bobcats and should win the goaltender of the year if he continues his stellar play.

- Speaking of goaltenders, Quinnipiac brought in a 4th goaltender in Yaniv Perets from Penticton in the BCHL. He was slatted to come in next fall but with the NCAA granting an extra year of eligibility it probably made sense to get him in now to prepare him for the rigors of the college game and to push backup goaltender Evan Fear. 

- Junior Zach Metsa is quietly putting together a great offensive season from the blue line. Already he has tied his point total from a season ago (17) in essentially half the amount of games played. He has been a real good power play man and has been solid in his own defensive zone. He is just another example of a player who has gotten better each year under Rand Pecknold. 

- The Bobcats were supposed to be off this weekend but added a game against first year program Long Island University. These two teams were suppose to meet earlier this season but it got cancelled due to COVID reasons. However with the Bobcats not having any scheduled games this weekend, it was a nice add on game to keep the team on the grind before they finish the ECAC season with eight games against Colgate and St. Lawrence. 

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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Thought's and Observations from Quinnipiac's weekend sweep of Colgate

Keith Petruzzelli shut out Colgate twice en route to ECAC Player & Goaltender of the Week

It was another good weekend for Quinnipiac hockey as the Bobcats swept the Colgate Raiders in a home and home series shutting out the Colgate 3-0 in both games starting Friday in Hamilton followed by a Sunday game back in Hamden. Quinnipiac is now on its second four game winning streak of the season and has a record of 10-4-1 along with sitting in first place in the ECAC by three points. Here are my thoughts and observations from this past weekend.

- The star of the weekend was Keith Petruzzelli who has now recorded three straight shutouts and has four on the season. The senior won the ECAC player and goaltender of the week award after his stellar weekend when he made 38 saves in the two games. Petruzzelli has definitely saved his best season for his last. 

- The Quinnipiac defense cannot be overlooked as they definitely have played a key role in three straight shutouts. They are definitely starting to gel and it seems like a lot of this came to happen once Jayden Lee settled in after missing first part of the season. 

- Ty Smilanic is a such a great player to watch in a Bobcats uniform. He's easily the most talented player in program history and his play on the ice is showing that. Smilanic leads the team with 10 goals with three of them of game winning variety. His snipe of a goal against Colgate on Sunday was a thing of beauty. Let's hope he sticks around the Bobcats program for a couple of seasons. 

- The fact that Desi Burgart has stepped up offensively especially in the wake of the Wyatt Bongiovanni has been huge. The junior already 10 points this season and is just two points behind his total point production in his first two seasons. Secondary scoring for the Bobcats is important and Burgart has given them just that. 

- The Bobcats who usually are very good on face-offs struggled this weekend losing the face-off battle on Friday before edging out the Raiders 26-24 on Sunday. That is an area the Bobcats need to be better at especially when they play stronger teams. 

- Three more assists this past weekend for Odeen Tufto who continues to pad his national scoring lead with 27 points, 8 more Brandon Kruse and Cameron Wright of Bowling Green. He has nine multi-point games this season and has only been held scoreless in one of the Bobcats games this season. I'd love to see the goal totals increase but his continued play should make him one of the Hobey Baker favorites this season. 

- More than halfway through the regular season, you can start to get a read on some of these teams in the ECAC. Quinnipiac is probably the best team right now as they have scored the most goals and have given up just a shade over two goals per game. St. Lawrence looks improved on defense but they are still having scoring issues. Clarkson can score but there goal differential is only a plus eight. Colgate has shown they are competitive but they struggle to score goals and they have a goal differential of minus eight. With 11 games to go this will be a dogfight between Quinnipiac, Clarkson and St. Lawrence for the regular season title. 

- Big weekend on tap for Quinnipiac as they head to North Country for a three game slate against Clarkson. Two weeks ago the Bobcats took two of three against the Golden Knights in a hard fought well played series. Lets hope we get more of the same this weekend. After this weekend the Bobcats will only have to play St. Lawrence and Colgate the rest of the way before the ECAC Tournament.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Thoughts & Observations from Quinnipiac's weekend series with Clarkson

Desi Burgart's overtime winner gave Quinnipiac a win in Game 2

Quinnipiac entered into the second weekend of the league year coming off a disappointment the previous weekend against St. Lawrence which resulted in a tie and a loss. Quinnipiac welcome fellow North Country foe Clarkson for a three game series in Hamden. Friday night saw Clarkson race to three first period goals before Quinnipiac rallied from 4-2 down to force overtime before a Zach Tsekos goal gave the Golden Knights the 5-4 win. Saturday saw Quinnipiac once again trail early as Clarkson scored twice in the first and then held a 3-1 lead into the third period before Desi Burgart and Ethan de Jong goals tied the game at three and send the game to overtime for the second consecutive night. Desi Burgart gave the Bobcats a reason to celebrate with his seventh goal of the season 2:29 into the extra frame to give Quinnipiac a come from behind win. The rubber match on Sunday was a duel of goaltenders Keith Petruzzelli and Ethan Haider as the Bobcats came out on top 1-0 on a first period Ty Smilanic goal. The shutout was the second of the season for Petruzzelli who made 28 saves in the winning effort. Here are my thoughts and observations from the weekend slate.

- The Bobcats starts are definitely a concern as they have allowed their opponents to take first period leads in five of the past six games dating back to the second AIC game. The Bobcats need to be a team that plays from in front as its usually a recipe for disaster if they are constantly playing from behind and playing catch up. Stronger starts are needed especially if the Bobcats want to make the NCAA tournament this season. 

- Odeen Tufto continues to put an impressive senior season for Quinnipiac. He had another five points in the weekend series against Clarkson, all assists and continues to hold the national scoring lead with 24 points this season. He has a six point lead over Bobby Trivigno of UMass and Matthew Kopperud of Arizona State. As long as he stays on pace and avoids any injury or prolonged slump he should win the ECAC player of the year and likely be a Hobey Baker Finalist and possibly into the top three for the Hobey Baker award. 

- Ty Smilanic's eight goals lead the Bobcats and his lone goal on Sunday gave the Bobcats the rubber match against Clarkson. With 11 points this season, Smilanic will be in the conversation for the ECAC rookie of the year and his biggest competition is Alex Campbell of Clarkson who leads all freshman ECAC scorers with 15 points. 

- There were definitely some defensive issues in Friday and Saturday's games that need to be corrected going forward as there have been too many defensive zone turnovers that have lead to opposing goals. Keith Petruzzelli only can do so much in net as the defense needs to cut down on the turnovers and move the puck out of the zone much cleaner than what we have seen.

- Keith Petruzzelli was stellar a 28 save shutout performance on Sunday and probably kept Quinnipiac in the games Friday night and Saturday when Clarkson was strong early on. He's been the Bobcats rock on defense as Quinnipiac looks to continue to see improvement in its defensive core. I am not sure where this team would be without Petruzzelli in net as its likely possible they don't have the record they do with another goaltender in net. 

- Freshman Christophe Fillion has given the Bobcats some nice play especially since he jumped from juniors to the Quinnipiac right before the season. He has been a consistent presence in the Bobcats lineup since the second Bowling Green game and scored his first collegiate goal on Friday against Clarkson. He brings an element of good speed and the ability to chip in offensively.  

- Jayden Lee has really stepped up offensively from the back end since his return to the lineup in the AIC series. In just seven games this season he has five points and already surpassed his point total production in the 27 games he played a season ago. He brings a really nice offensive element from the blue line.

- Quinnipiac has a home and home with Colgate this weekend as they head to Hamilton Friday night with a return trip on Sunday in Hamden. The Raiders have played eight games this season and only one was a non ECAC opponent in RIT. They did play Clarkson twice as a non-conference opponent but they have not been challenged outside of the RIT which they played to a 4-4 tie. 

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Monday, January 4, 2021

Thoughts and Observations from Quinnipiac's ECAC Opening Weekend

Odeen Tufto leads the NCAA in scoring with 19 points

The Quinnipiac Bobcats opened ECAC play with a home and home series with St. Lawrence that started on New Year's Eve in North Country and concluded that Sunday in Hamden. The teams tied on Thursday after the Bobcats rallied on a Ty Smilanic goal with less than three minutes to play and took the extra point with a Odeen Tufto shootout win. Quinnipiac wasn't as lucky in the second game of the home and home as St. Lawrence took control with two first period goals before closing out the game with two empty net goals. Here are my thoughts and observations from this weekends series.

- It was a really poor effort by Quinnipiac against a team that won a total of four games last season and only 18 over the past three years. The Bobcats played from behind in both games and really couldn't find a rhythm this weekend. They honestly stole two points this weekend when their effort just wasn't good enough. Quinnipiac has talent but they need to bring an effort for 60 minutes each game because you can't win on just talent alone.

- Give St. Lawrence credit for the way they played this weekend. They have 11 freshman on the roster and 18 underclassmen and had not played a single game up until this series. They outplayed and outworked Quinnipiac and had the Bobcats on their heels during these two games and won their first game in Hamden since 2014. While they are still lacking high end talent, they should be much more competitive this season than the previous three.

- The injury to Wyatt Bongiovanni definitely has an effect on how the Bobcats played this weekend. Bongiovanni is a true goal scorer and someone that is not easily replaced in the lineup. He is a power play threat and plays in many situations for the Bobcats and those are things that are tough to replicate with other players. Whether they get Bongiovanni back this season remains to be seen but his injury is a big loss for Quinnipiac. 

- Odeen Tufto had a four point weekend and picked a good time to lead the NCAA in scoring as his play will needed even more now with the injury to Bongiovanni. Tufto has 19 points and is averaging 1.9 points per game. He is definitely going to be in the conversation for the Hobey Baker award when the season comes to a close. His goal in the shootout also allowed Quinnipiac to pick up an extra point.

- Ty Smilanic is settling in well to college hockey. After only a single goal in his first four games, he has seven points in his last six games and should be in the conversation for the ECAC rookie of the year at seasons end. With the Bongiovanni injury, he is going to have to probably take on more responsibility for providing the offense. He looks to be someone that should be up for that challenge. 

- The injury to Bongiovanni is definitely showing up on the power play as the Bobcats only went 1 for 10 this past weekend and that lone power play goal was with an extra attacker as well. The team is still in the top ten in the country for the power play but lets see if that changes a bit with the injury to Bongiovanni. 

- Quinnipiac has a big test with a three game series at home starting Friday against Clarkson who is 6-3-1 on the season. Clarkson has won the past three games against Quinnipiac and four of their last five against the,. The Golden Knights have some skill up front but the back end while talented with some draft picks on defense and in goal has struggled a bit this season especially the two goaltenders. This series could tell us a lot of what we may expect from Quinnipiac the rest of the season. They need to bring their A game against a top ten opponent who has really played well against them over the past five plus seasons.

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