Quinnipiac set to face-off with Brown in game two of ECAC opening round

Kriby Paulson

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Photo: Samantha Bashaw

Photo: Samantha Bashaw

After last night’s demolition, the Quinnipiac Bobcats (20-13-2, 13-8-1 ECAC Hockey) look to rekindle the fire as they host the Brown Bears (4-24-2, 3-18-1 ECAC Hockey) tonight at 7 p.m.

Thirty-two seconds was all it took for the Bobcats to get on the board last night. The rising freshman star, Alex Whelan, saw a rebound squeak right to his stick as he skated through the crease only to find the back of the net just seconds after. From then on it was all Quinnipiac, with goals coming from Landon Smith, Tim Clifton, Thomas Aldworth, Connor Clifton and K.J. Tiefenwerth. They would go on to win 6-1.

For the Bears, there wasn’t much action coming from their side of the story, only putting up 20 shots opposed to the Bobcats’ 46. Their lone goal came from Max Willman, who made a nifty play on the goal line that caught Andrew Shortridge sleeping. The Bears will need to come out firing if they want a chance at an elimination game on Sunday.

 

Players to watch:

Quinnipiac: Alex Whelan played like a monster last night and expect him to be the same tonight. Whelan brings a drive to the Quinnipiac force with a lot of speed and power. His shot is off of his stick a second after the puck hits it. Although 7 points in 31 games isn’t the most appealing stat, he hasn’t seen much time until now; but he is constantly proving that he can play at the top against the best of the best.

Brown: Charlie Corcoran will have to be the ignition to the Brown Bears tonight if they don’t want to get sent home packing. With three points in the last three games (28 points in 30 games), Corcoran has been zipping up and down the ice, contesting Shortridge with every shot he’s taken. If he can’t get the train rolling for the Bears, it’s hard to know who will.

 

Inside the Crease: Shortridge vs. Nieto

Quinnipiac: Shortridge captured his first career playoff win last night in the 6-1 win versus the Bears. He saved 19 of the 20 shots he faced. Shortridge has gained the throne of net minding for the Bobcats after constant controversy throughout the season. Although Chris Truel hasn’t necessarily had a bad season, the freshman goaltender has just been much better. Expect Andrew Shortridge back in net tonight.

Brown: Although Gavin Nieto has struggled this season and was pulled last night, expect him back in the blue paint tonight. He faced 42 of the 46 shots on goal and saved 36 of them, while Connor Maher stopped all four that he saw. It’s hard to say that Nieto played a terrible game considering anytime a goalie gets pounded by shots you’ll expect to see some slip by. It would be a surprise if the Bears’ head coach Brendan Whittet doesn’t put Nieto back in the crease.

 

It’s a numbers game:

The Bobcats saw 12 of the 18 skaters tally a point last night, which is an upside for a team who puts up a lot of shots (36 per game), but will sometimes struggle to get on the scoreboard. They found a spark plug in Alex Whelan who has three points in the last two games. A bright future for the Bobcats as Whelan is proving to be the prospect that the organization had wished for.

The Bears on the other hand were 0-5 on the power play last night. Man-advantages play a key role in wearing down teams like the Bobcats. To win tonight, the Bears must be efficient on the power play and execute whenever Shortridge shows a weakness because it does not happen very often.

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Quinnipiac set to face-off with Brown in game two of ECAC opening round