Thursday, January 29, 2015

Hockey Haven: Quinnipiac edition

Yale and Quinnipiac meet for the first time this season on Saturday night at Yale. Ingalls Rink is sold out (though a few tickets remain for Friday night's matchup with Princeton) and it should be a typical Hockey Haven atmosphere.

I dropped by Quinnipiac practice this morning, so here are some notes from that end. Yale practice is later this afternoon. We'll update then.
  • Quinnipiac is coming off a bye week, which allowed a flu bug to harmlessly pass through the locker room and give time for some injuries to heal. Eight players missed practice last weekend, but the team is almost at full strength.
  • Michael Garteig absorbed a hit at Merrimack on Jan. 16 forcing him to leave that game and miss the next night's game. He will be back in action this weekend. Defenseman Devon Toews, also injured in the Merrimack series, needs more time and is out this weekend.
  • Quinnipiac is in an interesting position. With a comfortable lead and positioned well in the ECAC standings, the Bobcats are behind league mates Harvard, Yale and Colgate in the Pairwise Rankings and currently on the outside of the NCAA tournament bubble. Yale's two losses in the North Country were a blow to its ECAC position (the Bulldogs are sixth, based on winning percentage) but still in decent shape with the PWR.
  • Tim Clifton's game has grown by leaps and bounds since last season. The sophomore's presence is felt at both ends of the ice, where he is third on the team with eight goals and has replaced Bryce Van Brabant as the Bobcats most physical forward. Coach Rand Pecknold said Clifton couldn't grasp Quinnipiac's penalty kill system a year ago, but has emerged as one of the team's most effective weapons on the PK. "Peca is our best forward (on the PK)," Pecknold said. "Timmy's probably second."
  • Pecknold also praised the massive jumps taken by second-year defensemen Derek Smith and Toews. Smith has also emerged as a strong penalty killer, spending time earlier this season at forward during the PK. Toews, drafted by the Islanders in June, has hit the weight room hard since arriving at Hamden. He's up close to 20 pounds since his Junior days and, like Smith, become a leader of the back end.
  • Quinnipiac, like Yale, struggles at Brown, just 0-3-2 over the last five seasons despite fielding some of its strongest teams ever. Is it any wonder? The atmosphere at Meehan Auditorium is on par with most mortuaries, and a far cry from the palpable electricity that runs through Ingalls Rink. 
  • We'll rank this still young rivalry as one of the best in college hockey. The results on the ice since the very first meeting in 2006 have favored the Bobcats, who take a 13-6-3 record in 22 games into Saturday. That includes a 7-1-2 mark in the past 10, the last two coming via sweep in last March's ECAC quarterfinals. Of course, the one loss was the one that counted most, a 4-0 setback in the 2013 national title game in Pittsburgh. 


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home