Thursday, March 14, 2013

Quinnipiac on the present and the future

Made the rounds at Quinnipiac -- pretty chilly on the hill this morning. Here's a few notes as the Bobcats prepare to open the postseason.
  • The team is healthy. Rand Pecknold said if the team had to play last weekend, a couple of guys may have been out with injury. 
  • While beneficial to heal, Quinnipiac wouldn't have minded a chance to build on a strong all-around game against Dartmouth in the season finale. A rough overtime loss to Harvard the night before spurred a video session on Saturday morning with the defensive core. It made a big difference. "That's the one thing this team always does well," Pecknold said. "It has a short memory. They just move on. Our D core was awesome against Dartmouth, one of their better games of the season."
  • It hasn't been finalized yet, but Quinnipiac may have a new scoreboard next season. Pecknold said it will rival that of anything in the NHL. It'll be center-hung and rectangular in shape with cutting-edge video display technology that is better than most HD televisions. Most scoreboards have 10 MM video boards. Quinnipiac's will be 6 MM, which is new technology and top of the line. It will also have double ribbon board lighting display -- one below and one above the scoreboard. Ribbon boards will also be installed around the arena. "It's ridiculous," Pecknold said. "We're hoping it comes through. It looks good right now." It should be noted a new board would be installed for basketball, too.
  • Quinnipiac's non-league schedule is also nearly complete. The Bobcats have two extra-non league games to fill -- 14 all told -- because of an NCAA exemption for traveling to Alaska. I reported last month the Bobcats will open the season with games at Alaska-Anchorage and Alaska-Fairbanks the first weekend in October. Pecknold clarified that both of those games will be played in Anchorage -- Fairbanks is traveling South to play the Bobcats.
  • Quinnipiac will have eight games against Hockey East competition, five of them in Hamden. Maine, Providence and UMass will play at High Point Solutions Arena, and there are home-and-away series with UMass-Lowell and Merrimack. The Bobcats will play in the UConn Holiday Tournament, with UMass expected to be their first-round opponent. There's also a home-and-away series with Holy Cross. Pecknold is still working on securing the final non-league game.
  • There was a time when Pecknold would play anyone, anywhere. The early days of the program were dotted with big road games: at Minnesota, at North Dakota, at Michigan State, etc. Now, the Bobcats won't schedule an opponent unless they are willing to return the game in Hamden (holiday tournaments the exception.) Four year deals with Nebraska-Omaha and Ohio State ended this year (Quinnipiac will take a couple of years off from them and look to add them again down the road), and Pecknold is working on finding more similar contracts. "I want to get top 20 teams, as many as we can get, and it's hard to do," Pecknold said. "But I also want to keep our travel to a minimum from an academic standpoint. That's why the Hockey East games are great. But it's the hardest thing I do, the scheduling. Everyone wants to know why we don't play BC and BU. I would love to play BC and BU or North Dakota. But teams need to reciprocate. They want to buy their home games and if they don't want to come back here we're not going to play." The big boys usually only want to travel to play each other. That line of thinking might change with Quinnipiac's heightened national profile.


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