Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Moving On

By: Luke Devoe

Let me start by thanking everyone who made this blog successful, popular and fun over the past three seasons, especially Mark and Ben for their efforts.  It's been a labor of love, a demonstration of my devout fanhood, obsession and addiction to Quinnipiac Hockey.  As I approach my 9th season of not missing a QU home game, I sit stunned and taken aback realizing the growth of the program, the fan base, the recruitment and Bobcat Hockey as a whole.  I've talked at great length in the past about the friendships that I've gained since attending and "covering" games.  These are meaningful and lasting.  From the NIP to the Bank has certainly been an eventful journey for the team and for myself.  I have welcomed a baby.  I  have moved from dorm to apartment to another apartment and finally to my home.  I got married.  Some guests at that wedding were lifelong friends made, ironically enough, on a QU hockey bus ride to Harvard in 2008.  We compiled a Top 20 Bobcats of the first decade of the 21st century list.  We have covered, interviewed and followed, quite proudly, Bobcat alumni as they ventured into the world of professional hockey.  We have traveled as a cohort to many rinks in and out of the ECAC wearing our Bobcat gold proudly, long before a national title game was even a thought.  Let it be known, the fandom will not end.  The donning of our blue and gold won't stop but the coverage has run it's course.  Along the way, however, I became blacklisted to a certain extent because, well, I was a little too opinionated during a rough stretch of play.  I accepted this, altered my approach, and went on covering the team I love.  Recently, a small but similar event occurred.  While it would be easy to shrug it off and file it under the "can't make them all happy" category, I simply can't.  Back when things weren't exactly gravy and FTNTTB wasn't on the best of terms with the brass at the Q it was tough receiving sideways stares walking into a venue that I held, and still hold, so near and dear.  It was even harder when those stares were coming from some people whose opinion mattered.  The labor of love turned into a exhausting game of second guessing and self-censoring, even at times when I truly felt I was right.  I just don't feel like doing it again.  I concede.  I now look forward to a season where every time our beloved Bobcats score, I don't have to scramble for my phone to tweet the score, faster than any one else in the Twittersphere might I add.  I can't say if the site and Twitter handle will be picked up by another staffer.  For some loyal followers who can't make it to games and for those incoming recruits who are often seen poking around @QUHockeyBlog, I hope someone will consider picking up where I've left off.  See you all around the Bank.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Unofficial 2013-14 Schedule

*This is not official and is subject to change (UPDATED)

Sun. 10/6 St. Mary's (EX)
Fri. 10/11 @ Alaska Anchorage
Sat. 10/12 vs Alaska Fairbanks @ Anchorage
Fri. 10/18 @ Umass Lowell
Sat. 10/19 Umass Lowell
Tue. 10/22 Bentley
Fri. 10/25 @ Holy Cross
Sat. 10/26 Holy Cross
Fri. 11/1 @ Colgate
Sat. 11/2 @ Cornell
Fri. 11/8 Brown
Sat. 11/9 Yale
Fri. 11/15 Harvard
Sat. 11/16 Dartmouth
Fri. 11/22 @ Princeton
Sat. 11/23 Princeton
Wed. 11/27 Providence
Sat. 11/30 Umass
Fri. 12/6 @ RPI 
Sat. 12/7 @ Union
Sun. 12/29 vs. Umass (Uconn Holiday Tourney)
Mon. 12/30 vs. SHU/Uconn (Uconn Holiday Tourney)
Fri. 1/3 Maine
Tue. 1/7 @ Harvard
Fri. 1/10 Union
Sat. 1/11 RPI
Fri. 1/17 Merrimack
Sat. 1/18 @ Merrimack
Fri. 1/31 @ Dartmouth
Fri. 2/7 Clarkson
Sat. 2/8 St. Lawrence
Fri. 2/14 @ Yale
Sat. 2/15 @ Brown
Fri. 2/21 Cornell
Sat. 2/22 Colgate
Fri. 2/28 @ St. Lawrence
Sat. 3/1 @ Clarkson


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Signings

Eric Hartzell has signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Hartzell signs a one year deal to the end of this season with an average annual salary of $925,000.  Below are some links.
Hartzell in his Pens gear.
TribLive's Article on Signing
New Haven Register's Announcement
Eric Hartzell's Player Page
Hartzell on Penguins Game Day Vid


Mike Dalhuisen has signed with the New York Islanders keeping him in Connecticut this year and next year with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers!  Below are some links.

The Gameday's Report
Lighthouse Hockey's Announcement
Quad News' Announcement of Dalsy's Signing


Friday, April 12, 2013

The Whitney War: Part 4, For All the Marbles

By: Luke Devoe

And here we are... on the verge of something unbelievable, special, unprecedented, epic. Our Quinnipiac Bobcats, the once complacent, up-and-coming nobodies from unknown Hamden are on the precipice of hockey immortality. The only foe standing between the Bobcats and a permanent etching in the college hockey record books is that pesky, suspender-clad neighbor ten miles down the road. It just figures. It just fits.

Myself and the Eagle
I'm going to do my best not to tell you something that's already been written about, pretty tough considering you can't visit any form of social media without reading a ridiculous historical stat on the matchup. It seems the only people who aren't hip to this news are the fine folks at ESPN's Sportscenter who refuse to show game highlights for whatever reason. I digress, we've heard all the storylines... this is the first time in state teams have met in a final since BU and BC in 1978, the ECAC hasn't won a national title since Harvard did it in 1989 and obviously neither of these squads have ever gotten this far. How could anyone in the college hockey universe not love this? No matter what happens here on out, it's uncharted territory.

On one hand you have Quinnipiac, a team that's been at the top of the heap for nearly three quarters of the season but has had no experience at this level. On the other hand you have the Bulldogs, a team that has actually been very relevant in past seasons, reaching recent national tournaments, notching big wins but never elevating to this level. Yale is an anomaly. They claim to rely on senior Jeff Malcolm in net, aren't entirely deep on offense or defense but have rallied around Head Coach Keith Allain, bought in, and look like a far cry from the debacle of a team that laid two eggs in Atlantic City. Quinnipiac is a defensive oriented squad with some certain, undeniable fire power on offense. They have Hobey Baker finalist Eric Hartzell in net and while it didn't take as long as Yale, they, too, have gelled early on this year.

Watching the Yale/Umass-Lowell game I found myself rooting for Lowell. Not because of my usual ill will toward Eli but simply out of a humble fear that our arch rival could possibly be the villain to derail this dream of a season. But now that the matchup is set, I couldn't see it any other way. This is what will separate this national championship from some of the past. The familiarity breeding its proverbial contempt will be in full force at Consol Saturday night. Fan bases, benches, coaches, trainers, mascots, bands that are infinitely familiar with one another will face off one last time on the grandest of stages.  Even writing this, I can't believe the extraordinary circumstances that are in front of us and in front of seniors on both sides. This is their final go. I can't speak for the Bulldogs, though I've come to admire senior captain Andrew Miller's stoic confidence throughout this run, but for our Bobcats we will say good bye to eleven incredible student athletes who, win or lose, have fulfilled Rand and Jack's dream of bringing the Q to the top, never again to be overlooked, maligned or poked fun at.

I know I haven't been as venomous as I normally am when discussing the Bulldogs, maybe chalk it up to the unrelenting happiness I'm feeling, but if we were to drop this one, it would sure burn. However, it couldn't possibly derail the pride I am feeling as a Quinnipiac University alum. While I have the soapbox let me say, Quinnipiac hockey has become a lifestyle for myself and many others. I have fostered some incredible, lasting friendships because of it and want a national title so much more for those people than for myself.  60 minutes boys. One more to go.


Monday, April 1, 2013

Headed to Pittsburgh!

BOBCATS ARE FROZEN!
The Quinnipiac Bobcats are headed to the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh after a 5-1 East Regional Final win over ECAC brethren Union. Sophomore Matthew Peca notched a natural hat trick in the first period guiding the Bobcats to victory in front of the Q faithful in Providence.  Not done yet boys!  For video highlights click here!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Atlantic City Recap

By: Mark Pierson


Connor Jones couldn't dent Brown's Borelli in semifinal loss.
ECAC Championship – the weekend that wasn’t

This past weekend, the ECAC held its annual tournament in Atlantic City for the final time (thankfully) before moving it to Lake Placid, NY next year.

The four semi-finalists, Quinnipiac, Yale, Union, and Brown, would be competing for the Whitelaw Trophy presented to the winner of the tournament.

On Thursday, the annual ECAC awards were announced and Quinnipiac was the recipient of several. Rand Pecknold took home Coach of the Year honors while Eric Hartzell earned both Goaltender of the Year and Player of the Year honors. In addition, he was named to the ECAC First Team. Zach Davies took the Best Defensive Defenseman award and was named to the ECAC Third Team along with Jeremy Langlois.

The Bobcats, having clinched the Cleary Cup as the regular season champions, were looking to add another piece of hardware to their already spectacular season, and would be facing the #8 ranked Brown Bears in Friday’s first semi-final game at Boardwalk Hall. The winner of this game would face the winner of the 2nd semi-final between #3 Yale and #4 Union. There was tremendous buzz around the possibility of another matchup between Quinnipiac and Yale in the final.

However, it didn’t turn out that way. Brown came out hungrier than Quinnipiac and used a stellar performance by goaltender Anthony Borelli combined with a solid defensive performance, as well as some offensive prowess to send the Bobcats to the 3rd-place consolation game with a convincing 4-0 victory.

It was easily Quinnipiac’s worst game of the season. From the net on out, the team struggled. The usually stout Eric Hartzell gave up 4 goals and the offense just couldn’t figure out a way to get the rubber past Borelli. Defensively, the team struggled as well. At the end of the day, the better team won the game. Brown simply wanted it more.

The amazing season that the Bobcats had put together took a huge chink in the armor. All season long we heard that a league tourney championship was one of their goals. Well, that will have to wait until at least next year.

In the second game on Friday, Yale and Union squared off in what was thought to be a battle of two solid teams who, like Brown, had significantly stepped up their games going into the end of season. In what turned out to be another laugher, the Dutchmen man-handled the Bulldogs and soundly defeated them 5-0.

That’s right… the top two teams in the tourney didn’t score a single goal in the semi’s. Those double goose eggs meant that Yale and Quinnipiac would face off against each other, but only for 3rd place bragging rights. Neither team showed much of anything in their respective games. Both were flat and outclassed.

The game still had some meaning to Yale who needed a victory to secure a place in the national tournament. A second loss on the weekend wouldn’t eliminate the Bulldogs, but would take their fate out of their own hands and require help from teams in other playoff action around D-I hockey.

For Quinnipiac, the game meant nothing in terms of the tournament as they had already locked up the #1 overall seed. The only question was where they would be playing as a Brown win in the championship final would send the Bears to Providence as the host school, and the Bobcats would likely end up in Manchester, NH. A Brown loss would likely mean a date in Providence for the Q.

More importantly, the Bobcats needed to play well in order to gain momentum going into next weekend. Having struggled a bit over the last 3 or 4 weeks, they needed a little confidence.

After a scoreless 1st period, it looked like neither team would be able to score a goal. Then, at 4:34 of the 2nd, Bryce Van Brabant picked up a loose puck between the circles and wristed it past Jeff Malcolm to put Quinnipiac up 1-0. Scoring first seemed to energize the otherwise sluggish Bobcats. The difference to that point was the play of Hartzell who was stopping everything thrown at him. He was doing his part to give the team an opportunity. To be fair, Quinnipiac got help on a couple of Yale no-goals that were reviewed but not overturned.

Just over 2-1/2 minutes into the 3rd, Quinnipiac struck again when Cory Hibbeler put a juicy Malcolm rebound into the twine at the 2:42 mark, giving the Bobcats a 2-0 advantage. Yale kept pressuring but could not figure out how to beat Hartzell. In the final minute, a hard charging Kevin Bui deposited another Malcolm rebound with only :53 seconds remaining in the game. 

Quinnipiac defeated Yale 3-0 giving Hartzell his school best 10th career shutout, and 5th of the season. The win was also #27 on the year for the Bobcats, tying another school record.

In the championship final, Union defeated Brown in a very well played game to win the Whitelaw Trophy and secure a spot in the national tournament. Quinnipiac will take the #1 seed in the Providence regional on Saturday at 5:30 pm and face a red hot Canisius, the #16 seed and Atlantic Hockey champions. The winner will face the winner of the 9:00 pm game between #12 Union vs. #6 Boston College. The regional final will be played on Sunday at 6:30 pm.

While the weekend wasn’t what everyone wanted it to be, the fact remains the Quinnipiac will still be playing next weekend with an eye on the ultimate prize: a Division I National Championship.
Bobcats were left feeling defeated Friday, but erased those thoughts with a 3-0 white washing of rival Yale.

Monday, March 18, 2013

BUI-tiful! Cornell Series Recap

By: Mark Pierson


Weekend Recap – Quinnipiac vs. Cornell 3/15 – 3/17/13

What a weekend. After faltering a bit in game 1 on Friday, a 3-2 loss where the Bobcats gave up an uncharacteristic 2 power play goals, they stormed back on Saturday. With their backs against the wall, they threw up a touchdown and field goal against the Big Red in a 10-0 offensive explosion unlike any other this season. That set the stage for a thrilling come from behind double overtime victory, sending them to Atlantic City and the ECAC championship weekend.

On Friday, the Q struck first at the 5:48 mark when Connor Jones pushed one past Andy Iles. At the start of the 2nd period, Cornell had 1:37 of power play time and took a mere 23 seconds to get one by Eric Hartzell to tie the game at 1-1. Kellen Jones found the back of the net less than 3 minutes later to put Quinnipiac back on top at 2-1. The Big Red knotted it back up just 2:22 later. They added their second PPG at the 13:44 mark that would serve as the game winner after a scoreless 3rd period.

Overall Quinnipiac outplayed Cornell for most of the game. While they had a few moments in the second where Cornell took advantage, the difference in the game was goalie Iles who made many great saves on the 33 shots he faced.

That setup Saturday’s game as a must-win for the Bobcats. In a best-of-three series, you only get one chance to redeem yourself, and the boys did that and then some. A mere 24 seconds after the opening faceoff, Connor Jones would beat Iles 5-hole and a quick 1-0 lead. At 7:40, a Zack Currie one-timer deflected off Travis St. Denis and found its way into the back of the net for a 2-0 lead that would hold through the end of the period. 

In a period totally dominated by Quinnipiac, Cornell was limited to a mere 3 shots, none of which really tested Hartzell. An aggressive forecheck kept the Big Red pinned deep in their own end, and on the rare occasions when they were able to get out of their own end, the Q defense was there to take over.

Just over two minutes into the second period, St. Denis to a beauty of feed from Ben Arnt behind the net and one-timed it past Iles for a 3-0 lead. At 5:36, after battling a Cornell defender down in the corner, Matt Peca gained control of the puck, totally undressed and embarrassed said defender, and roofed one past a shell-shocked Iles, giving Q a 4-0 lead. Less than a minute later, Cory Hibbeler gathered up a loose puck, spun around in the slot, and beat Iles far side with a back-hander for a 5-0 lead with over half the game left to be played. The rout was on, and Iles was pulled in favor of backup Omar Kanji.

Before the period ended, Quinnipiac would find the twine for another 4 goals (Arnt at 12:36, Kellen Jones at 16:17, Jordan Samuels-Thomas at 17:25, and a PPG by Kellen Jones at 19:28) and a convincing 9-0 lead.

Apparently, Cornell took some exception to the beating they were taking and felt it necessary to run Kevin Bui hard into the boards at the final buzzer. All ten skaters on the ice engaged in the melee and when the 3rd period started, there was one Big Red sitting in the locker room, and the penalty boxes were SRO with 4 Quinnipiac and 5 Cornell players sitting with 2’s and 10’s.

With so many people in the box, and the officials looking to keep things under control, the 3rd period was a little low key. At the 15:20 mark, Zach Tolkinen blasted a shot on the power play past Andy Iles, who returned in net at the start of the period. A 10-0 final score, coupled with all the bad blood, set the stage for an anything’s possible game 3 on Sunday.

Sunday’s 7:30 start (pushed back to accommodate women’s basketball, who clinched the NEC title and a berth in the NCAA tourney) got off to an auspicious start. Cornell’s Braden Birch took a turnover and skated in alone on Hartzell, beating him high short side for a 1-0 lead just 48 seconds into the game.

That score would hold into the 2nd when Zach Tolkinen blasted a laser past Iles to tie it at 1 just before the halfway point. That would be short-lived because Brian Ferlin stole a puck in the neutral zone, skated by a Bobcat defender, and potted an unassisted goal to give the Big Red a 2-1 lead.

In the third, fighting for their playoff lives, the Bobcats came out and took control, throwing everything they had at the net in hopes of getting the equalizer. Cornell, content to sit on their 1-goal lead, kept dumping and icing the puck. Quinnipiac kept coming back, and with just under 2 minutes remaining, pulled Hartzell in favor of the extra attacker. The puck remained deep behind the Cornell net and in the corners until Samuels-Thomas and Jeremy Langlois teamed up to allow Clay Harvey to get a couple of whacks at a puck at the post. He was finally able to push it past Iles and the score was tied with 1:04 left in regulation.

At that point, the Bank erupted. The capacity crowd became loud and the energy level was extremely high. As regulation ended, the place was rocking with a full intermission and 20 minute overtime yet to come.

Once again Quinnipiac came out with a purpose and controlled most of the play, outshooting Cornell 15-8 in that first OT frame. Both teams had a couple a very good chances, both goalies were doing what they needed to do, and they both got some help from the posts and crossbar. After 20 minutes of extra time, the score remained 2-2 and neither team showed any signs of being gassed.

Overtime period 2 was more of the same. The Bobcats had the advantage but Cornell was getting their chances as well. As the period was heading towards the 15 minute mark, Ben Arnt pulled a puck away from a Cornell attacker in the offensive zone and bumped it ahead to Loren Barron. Barron made a beauty of a cross ice pass to a streaking Kevin Bui who had a full head of steam as he took possession of the puck and skated by a Cornell defender, leaving him virtually alone in front of Iles. Bui took the puck across the front of the net, put it on his backhand, and beat a sprawling Iles for the game winner with 5:52 remaining in the period. 

The Bank exploded in a frenzy as the Bobcats began to celebrate and many Cornell players simply fell to the ice in disbelief. It was a fitting finish for Bui, playing in his last game at home as a Bobcat. While not a regular starter, he played his limited role as well as anyone who’s ever worn the blue and gold. 

The 3-2 victory gave the Bobcats their first quarterfinal win since 2007, and just their second since joining the ECAC. They now head to Atlantic City for the ECAC Championship and a shot at the Whitelaw Cup for the winner of the league tourney. They will face a red-hot Brown Bears squad in the 4:00 game on Friday at Boardwalk Hall. The winner of that game will face the winner of the 7:30 game between Yale and Union.

Regardless of what happens in Atlantic City, Quinnipiac will also be making an appearance on Easter weekend in the NCAA tournament. At the moment, they have a number 1 seed locked up and most likely will be the overall number 1 when the regionals begin.
 
Kevin Bui, a 5th year senior scored the double overtime game winner in all alone on Iles.