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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