Thursday, October 9, 2014

New season opens Saturday for Quinnipiac

Some news and notes from today's Quinnipiac practice:
  • Players and coaches weren't thrilled with outcome of the Acadia scrimmage, but Rand Pecknold said it would serve as little more than an evaluation tool. Matthew Peca and Michael Garteig didn't dress; Dan Federico only played five shifts. Pecknold said defenseman Alex Barron and freshman Tanner McMaster were Quinnipiac's best two performers, with sophomore forward Tim Clifton also shining.
  • The pace of play from the forwards is down, no surprise considering the Jones twins are gone. It'll take some time to get them up to speed. There's lots of talent in the freshman class, but there's an adjustment period to get down the Bobcats system.Several forwards are in position to pick up slack, including Clifton, Soren Jonzzon, Brayden Sherbinin.
  • Pecknold says the forward lines pairings "are still a work in progress." But Federico and Connor Clifton will be the top defensive line against Bentley on Saturday. Barron will skate with Devon Toews and Justin Agosta with Derek Smith. "We're not sure who's going to be the best partner for Agosta," Pecknold said. "I think Alex can play with both, we just have to figure that out."
  • Agosta, a New Hampshire transfer eligible right away, could be an impact player. But like the other first-year players, he's also adjusting. "He's not a freshman, but he's a new player to our system and UNH plays a completely different style than what we play," Pecknold said. "He's been doing something for four years, now he needs to break those habits and establish his Quinnipiac habits. That will happen. He's coachable and a good kid and will be a really good player for us."
  • Federico has been a defensive leader for some time. As co-captain with Peca, he'll be looked upon to do more off the ice. "For Danny, he's always been a leader as a quiet guy, now he has to be a little more vocal," Pecknold said. "He can't change who he is, but if he's going to wear that 'C' he realized he has to be a bit more vocal. In the end, if we can get him to play the way he did last year, that's more than half the battle as a leader."
  • The addition of UConn to Hockey East will only help Quinnipiac's non-league scheduling. Hockey East teams will now play a 22-game league schedule, same as the ECAC, and down from the 27 it played until Notre Dame joined last year. The Bobcats have nine Hockey East games this season, and have added Boston University starting in 2015-16. Pecknold said he hopes the Terriers will become an annual date on the schedule.
  •  Pecknold said many of the freshmen were battling nerves prior to Acadia. It's not the crowd size that had them on edge -- the building was only about a third of the way to capacity -- it's the systems. There's a lot to digest in a small window of practice time. "It's a lot to digest," Federico said. "Come Saturday, you add in the shock and awe of playing in front of fans." A sellout crowd is expected at High Point Solutions Arena.


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