The Road Ahead: Quinnipiac Men’s Ice Hockey Looks Ready for ECAC Play

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Courtesy: Quinnipiac Athletics

Another week means another jump in the rankings for Rand Pecknold’s bunch. They’ve built themselves a nice cushion with conference play on the horizon.

What’s Gone Right?

When a team tallies 21 goals through five games, they have to be doing something right. Of course, nine of those goals came against a pretty terrible American International College team, but it’s a good start for a team that (for the most part) struggled to get points on the board in 2017.

Fortunately for Pecknold & Co., his top offensive scorers have all gotten off to solid starts. The combination of Odeen Tufto, Chase Priskie and Alex Whelan have combined for 11 goals and five assists. Of the team’s six power play goals, five have been scored by the aforementioned trio.

Aside from the offense, Keith Petruzzelli has performed at an extremely high level. He’s allowed just six goals on 77 shots this season. As a result, his 1.50 GAA is tops in ECAC hockey and 14th in the country.

Who Needs to Step Up?

Usually, most teams have a few problems, no matter the record. With this Quinnipiac team, though, it’s hard to point out any glaring weaknesses – yet. The new-look roster has played well together despite being its first season. The team has scored bunches of goals and defeated a good Boston College team, too. When it comes to lines, Pecknold and assistants Bill Riga and Joe Dumais have pushed all the right buttons. If anything, the penalty kill unit will need to shore up things (17/23 – .739 %). It will be fascinating to see how the team looks against top competition in the next coming weeks.

Who’s Up Next?

The Bobcats will hit the road to face Harvard and Dartmouth. It’s the start of ECAC hockey play for Quinnipiac, a stretch of games that will last till mid-November.

Predictions

People took notice when Quinnipiac defeated Boston College earlier this month. They found themselves ranked 20th after the win. Following a dominating sweep of AIC, the team was rewarded with the 15th spot in the latest USCHO.com poll. If they sweep this weekend, they could be looking at a top 10 spot.

How will they actually do, though? Tough to say. Both Harvard and Dartmouth have just one game under their belts. In fact, the game was against each other, with the Big Green winning 7-6 in OT. So, do both teams have potent offenses, or was the game a fluke? I’d lean towards both putting up good fights against a hot Quinnipiac team.

For some reason, I have a feeling the Bobcats will do really good this weekend. Why shouldn’t they? They’re a youthful, fun team that’s riding a great start. Does QU improve to 7-0? They certainly could, but I’d still call it a good weekend if they split.

QU defeats Harvard, 3-2

QU falls to Dartmouth, 2-1

Random Notes

  • Of the newcomers, two have stood out; Wyatt Bongiovanni and Ethan De Jong. The numbers won’t blow anyone away (three goals, six assists), but the two have been mainstays on the top line with Tufto. Both are physical, fast and smart with the puck. Expect very good things from this young line.
  • Senior defenseman Brandon Fortunato looks like he’s put a disappointing 2017 behind him, as he’s already matched his point total from last season (8). He’s been one of the surprises of the young season, much like Craig Martin. He was pretty quiet last year (four goals, 10 assists), but has contributed five helpers and two scores through five games.
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The Road Ahead: Quinnipiac Men’s Ice Hockey Looks Ready for ECAC Play