Quinnipiac Preview

Quinnpiac Bobcats 7-5-1 (3-3-1) ECAC 3rd


Massachusetts Minutemen 1-6-3 (1-3-3) Hockey East 8th

Last year at this time these two teams matched up as two top ten teams and gave those in attendance down in Hamden, CT and watching TV one of the more exciting games of the season.  Of course UMass fell in overtime  after roaring back from a 3-0 deficit.  It ended up being the pinnacle of the season for the then #9 Bobcats, since they then went 1-11-2 following their game against UMass.  UMass’ season went on a similar trajectory, though not quite as steep, and squandered their early season success for another disappointing season. 

The matchup this year does not have the same hype to it as last year.  Quinnipiac is doing pretty well at 7-5-1 and find themselves just on the outside of the rankings, but they don’t have any real signature wins to date.  UMass of course is just coming off their first win of the year but have battled nearly every team they’ve played closely on the season.  Quinnipiac’s schedule to date has consisted of a couple Atlantic Hockey teams, St Cloud, Ohio State, Colgate, and a bunch of the Ivies which has seen them gain some success.  Most of that has come at home however as they’re only 2-3-1 on the road.

The Bobcats have had a tough time scoring, averaging just 2.23 goals per game, though they are averaging 31 shots.  Most of their scoring has come from their underclassmen with freshmen or sophomores accounting for five of their top eight scorers.   It’ll be important for UMass to keep up with the Joneses, namely freshmen twin brother Kellen and Connor who are both at or near the top in scoring for their team.  The scoring has been spread out for the Bobcats however as nine different players have between two and four goals for them so far.  It’ll be interesting to see if UMass can carryover their good penalty kill play from the Vermont game as Quinnipiac has been struggling in this area, converting on just 14.3% of their power play opportunities.

In net Quinnipiac has split time between junior Dan Clarke and sophomore Eric Hartzell.  Clarke has gotten more minutes thus far, 469 to 313, but Hartzell has by far the better stats.  His goals against is a stellar 1.72 to go with a .942 save percentage compared to Clarke’s numbers of 3.20 and .882.  Hartzell got the loss in Quinnipiac’s 3-0 decision to Princeton on Tuesday, but gave up just two goals in the effort.

For UMass they have a win to build off of the first time this season.  There are a lot of positives when they look at the tape of Tuesday’s game, things like the forecheck, the improved defensive play, and the penalty kill.  But giving up power play goals, even with Quinnipiac’s struggles in the area, is still a threat if UMass continues to go to the box regularly.  They’ll have to improve upon the 8 penalties picked up in their last game as they still find themselves as one of the top ten penalized teams in the country.  Certainly they cannot depend on their goaltender bailing them out in the first after another lackluster effort from the opening.  And they’ll have to improve their overall offensive output.  It’s always good to make your shots count like they did on Tuesday, scoring four goals on 25 shots.  But if they’re up against a good goaltender in Hartzell it’ll be important to put a lot of pressure on him and keep him moving.  This game is an important one to tweak a few things before two key conference matchups before winter break starts.  Here’s hoping the tryptophan is fully out of their system.

Beer The Triangle
I already did my beering for the weekend, visiting the Keegan Ales brewery yesterday in Kingston, NY.  Their Mother’s Milk Stout and Hurricane Kitty have long been favorites so it was cool to finally visit the source.  If you’re ever in the mid-Hudson Valley I suggest a stop by the brewery/bar.


Here’s a preview of the game out of the Republican.

Justin Braun made his NHL debut for the Sharks.  Unfortunately they got pounded 6-1 by Vancouver but it looks like Braun did alright playing 16 minutes, taking two shots, and ending up -1 on the night.