As Regular Season Winds Down, Quinnipiac Special Teams Come Into Focus


Photo: Liz Flynn

Patrick Flatley

As the regular season winds down, the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team picked up another win over Colgate on Friday by a score of 4-2.

With the last regular season game Saturday afternoon, the Bobcats’ sights are shifting to the playoffs. How are Quinnipiac’s special teams playing coming into the postseason? Let’s take a look.

Power Play (Season: 30-121, 25%)

In Quinnipiac’s last four games before Friday’s contest with Colgate, the power play was 9-25 (36%). The two units went a combined 1-3 on Friday.

“The power play has been going pretty good here for a while,” head coach Rand Pecknold said.

Although the Bobcats are still without the biggest scoring threat on the roster in Wyatt Bongiovanni, the powerplay remains efficient. Having senior captain Odeen Tufto certainly helps in setting up plays.

But when it comes to goals, Ethan deJong, Ty Smilanic, and Peter DiLiberatore lead the team with seven, six, and four power play goals, respectively. Not to mention having Zach Metsa and Nick Bochen as solid depth options to use on either unit.

There’s no better time to get hot as a solid powerplay usually leads success come playoff time.

Penalty Kill (Season: 128-145, 88%)

If you thought the power play numbers were impressive, the penalty kill has been even better. The unit did allow one goal on Friday, going 3-4, ending a lengthy streak.

Before Colgate found the back of the net on the man advantage, Quinnipiac had killed 45 straight penalties. That stretched over the course of seven games, going back to the game against Clarkson on January 24th.

“Wow. I didn’t know that,” Pecknold said. “I don’t remember ever going that long.”

Having a penalty kill unit that puts up numbers as impressive and efficient as the Bobcats’ gives a team a lot of extra confidence. Knowing that your guys will bail you out if you happen to take a penalty makes everyone play loose and the ability to go hard at all times.

“I thought we struggled at the beginning of the year but just needed to give guys some reps,” Pecknold said.

It’s been said before, but your goalie has to be your best penalty killer. Senior Keith Petruzzelli is that guy. He is seeing the puck well and having a strong unit in front of you to take some of the load off is also helpful.

In a season that only consisted of four teams in the ECAC Hockey conference, penalties have been a deciding factor. Come playoff time, special teams will be a difference-maker and thankfully for the Bobcats, both units are heating up.

Quinnipiac looks to end the regular season with a win against the same Colgate squad Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. at the People’s United Center.