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Quinnipiac Preview


#10 Massachusetts Minutemen 9-2-0, (Hockey East 5-2-0 T-1st)
at
#9 Quinnipiac Bobcats 11-1-0, (ECAC 7-0-0 1st)

Quinnipiac Bobcats Official Site

Quinnipiac has certainly seen some great success in recent years, they managed 20-win seasons in their first three years in the ECAC and finished .500 last year.  This year however was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Bobcats.  Before the season started the other ECAC coaches had Quinnpiac finishing 8th in the league while the media picked them 11th due to question marks in net and what was thought to be a sub par defense.  Instead the Bobcats have been impressive from the very start of the season when they went out to Columbus and swept Ohio State in their own barn.  Save for one loss to Robert Morris they’ve been winning ever since including two quality wins recently over Princeton and Cornell, the last coming away at Lynah.

Quinnipiac wasn’t supposed to have much problem scoring since they returned four of their better forwards from last year in Brandon Wong, Eric Lampe, Scott Zurevinski, and Jean-Marc Beaudoin.  Lampe had led the way with 9 goals in 12 games while Wong is leading the team in points.  Freshman Jeremy Langlois, a teammate of Kevin Czepiel in juniors last year, has contributed as well with 5 goals and 4 assists.  Quite frankly this team puts out three lines that are serious scoring threats and the Bobcats find themselves averaging 4.25 goals a game, tops in the country.  That success is carrying over to the power play where they are converting at a rate of 26%, good for 6th in the country.

Everyone knew QU’s offense would be good this year, but the real story for them is their defense.  That question mark in net has been answered pretty resoundingly by sophomore Dan Clarke.  Clarke is 7-0-0 on the season with a GAA of 2.01 and save percentage of .939, second in the country to Denver’s Marc Chevrie.  The guys in front of him aren’t playing badly either, which is surprising since they only returned four defensemen from last year.  Quinnipiac is currently 8th in the country on the penalty kill with 88.6%.  Juniors Brett Dickinson and Zach Hansen lead the defensive group that’s mostly made up of freshmen.

With the type of offensive firepower the Bobcats are able to put on the ice this is obviously going to be a huge test for Paul Dainton and the UMass defense.  Can the Minutemen go toe to toe with Quinnipiac and win a high scoring shootout?  Probably, but I’m not sure that should be the gameplan.  With Quinnipiac able to roll out so many good lines, it’ll be important for all six defensemen to play their very best this afternoon to ensure a victory.  Offensively they’ll just have to keep doing what they’re doing and see if there are any chinks in the armor of Clarke and the young QU defense.  If they can keep up the speed and accurate, quick puck movement that did in Vermont on Tuesday they just may be able to pick up their second win this season in Connecticut over a top ten team.

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According to the Republican preview while the rest of us were crashing on the couch or perhaps fixing the first of many turkey sandwiches Thursday night, the Minutemen were at practice.

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