Monday, October 3, 2011

Quinnipiac: Nauta turns pro, Valiquette to coach

Quinnipiac recruit John Nauta, a 6-foot-6, 244-pound goalie, has turned pro. He recently signed with Reading of the ECHL. Nauta played six games in the Quebec Major Junior League, and Quinnipiac thought it would cost him a year of college eligibility. But the NCAA ruled that Nauta would have to sit two full seasons, and 16 more games of a third. Since that scenario made little sense to either side, Nauta, who was attending classes and intending to practice with Quinnipiac, decided to sign a pro contract.

Dan Clarke and Eric Hartzell will share goalie duties this season. Former student manager Jake Whiting is the third goalie. Michael Gartieg, who could have enrolled this fall, has put off school another year to put some separation between himself and Hartzell (Hartzell will be a senior next year, Gartieg a freshman).

Clarke and Hartzell will benefit from the recent hiring of former New York Rangers goalie Steve Valiquette as part-time goaltending coach. Valiquette replaces Justin Eddy, who couldn't continue due to a change at his full-time job. Valiquette has been living in Orange since his days with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He toyed with playing in Europe this season, but coach Rand Pecknold said that changed after the crash of the KHL team jet in Russia last month. Valiquette spent the 2005-06 season with Yaroslavl Lokomotiv, the same team in the crash. Pecknold said Valiquette had some AHL coaching offers, but wanted to remain in the area for now, and get his feet wet as a coach. Valiquette likely won't be in Hamden too long, but Pecknold says no matter how long he's in town, Quinnipiac will greatly benefit from his expertise.


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