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Bobcat Bullets: Men’s hockey takes on RPI
By Rob Ciambra, QBSN Staff Writer
After another weekend sweep against Dartmouth and Harvard, the No. 5 Quinnipiac Bobcats look to extend their undefeated streak against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. RPI is currently in last place in the ECAC with a record 6-9-4 on the season and 1-5-2 in conference play.
The Engineers come in to Hamden after a two-loss weekend, falling 3-2 in overtime to No. 8 Boston University on Jan. 5 and 5-2 to No. 4 University of New Hampshire.
The Bobcats weekend was a bit more successful, playing at home against Dartmouth and Harvard. The Bobcats blew a 2-0 lead in the third period of the Dartmouth game but Jordan Samuels-Thomas (Windsor, Conn.) saved the Bobcats with an overtime goal to lift them to a 3-2 victory.
The next day the Bobcats put on a shooting clinic at the High Point Solutions Arena. Bryce Van Brabant (Morinville, Alberta) got things started with a slap shot from the left wing early in the first period which gave the Bobcats an early 1-0 lead. Quinnipiac never looked back, scoring five more goals to give them a 6-2 victory over the Harvard Crimson.
The Bobcats have not lost a game since Nov. 6, when they dropped a non-conference game to American International College, and look to make it 15 unbeaten games in a row. All time, the Bobcats are 9-5-6 in 19 games total against RPI and have not lost in their last five meetings.
Keys To the Game:
– Eric Hartzel needs to stay hot. He was named this week’s ECAC Goalie of the Week and is nominated for the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the best college hockey player in the nation.
– The Bobcats need to back check and play man-to-man defense. They did not against Dartmouth, and that is how they gave up the third period goals that almost cost them the win.
– RPI needs to play passively against the Bobcats in a trap formation, shut the Bobcats down in the neutral zone, and protect its goalie from the aggressive and sharp-shooting Bobcats.
– This is RPI’s third game in a row facing a nationally ranked team. It needs to get as many shots on Hartzell as it can early and get him tired so he may falter later in the game.