Friday, March 29, 2013

Quinnipiac has lots to prove

One of the first questions asked of Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold today came from the Buffalo News, who referred to Canisius as "the new kid on the block here."

"I thought we were the new kid on the block here," Pecknold said with a laugh.

Technically, the Buffalo writer was right. Quinnipiac made an NCAA appearance 11 years ago; Canisius is here for the first ime.

Both may be in unchartered waters, but the pressure is all on the Bobcats. As the No. 1 seed in the tournament and in the polls, a loss to Canisius would be devastating.

"A big part of it is we're new to this stage compared to a lot of teams in the tournament,"  "We want to prove we're a legit team and we have what it takes to go the whole way. If anything, it's exciting to have doubters. If they want to doubt, we're fine with that."

Atlantic Hockey teams have proven to be anything but an easy out over the years. Holy Cross knocked off No. 1 seed Minnesota a few years back, Yale, as the top overall seed, needed overtime to beat Air Force in 2011 while RIT reached the Frozen Four.

Canisius was 19-18-5 overall and 12-13-2 in the country's weakest conference. But its on quite the roll.

"I've watched a number of their games and highlight clips from the 8-0 run they've been on. They look outstanding," Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said. "Watching their power play and how good their goalie is, I can't understand how they lost games earlier in the year. Obviously, something happened. Coach Smith did a nice job righting the ship and getting them firing on all cylinders because they look excellent. For us, we need to be ready to play. This is a great hockey team and anything can happen in the NCAAs."


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