|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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