Column: Quinnipiac vs Massachusetts thoughts

Column%3A+Quinnipiac+vs+Massachusetts+thoughts

Kyle Levasseur

By: Kyle Levasseur


The Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team (5-6-1) is off to it’s worst 12 game start since the 2004-05 season, in which it also started 5-6-1.

The future looked promising after a dominant weekend sweep of Eastern College Athletic Conference foes Brown and Yale a week ago, but a lackluster performance against out-of-conference opponent Massachusetts 0n Friday dropped the Bobcats back under .500.

First, the negatives.

Friday night’s showing against Massachusetts was just the latest example of Quinnipiac’s lack of scoring. With 2:11 left to play, Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold pulled goalie Andrew Shortridge for an extra skater. Despite multiple chances, Quinnipiac was unable to find the back of the net to tie the game, resulting in a 2-1 loss.

The lack of a go-to goal scorer was obvious in the last moments of the game.

After Shortridge was pulled, everyone that took a shot had 4 goals or less this year. Alex Whelan put two shots on net, and while he started the season red hot tallying five points in the first five games, he has now gone seven games in a row without a point.  Clearly, Whelan has the potential to be a top-tier forward in the ECAC, but he needs to start scoring again.

 

Sophomore Alex Whelan (PC: Quinnipiac Athletics)

 

Another forward in dire need of a goal is junior Scott Davidson. Not having scored since his freshman year, Davidson had two opportunities in the waning moments that he couldn’t capitalize on. One chance came with the net wide open, but he couldn’t keep the puck on his stick. If Davidson can find the back of the net, that might just spark some confidence in the junior.

 

Junior Scott Davidson (PC: Quinnipiac Athletics)

 

Whether it’s Whelan, Davidson or someone else, the Bobcats need someone to step up offensively in order to turn the season around.

Now, the positives.

It seems that Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold has found a reliable starting goalie.

12 games in, Sophomore Andrew Shortridge has started nine games, including the last four. After a stellar 120 minutes of play last weekend, shutting out Brown and Yale to earn the NCAA first star of the week, it became clear that Shortridge is Quinnipiac’s most valuable player. Shortridge’s 1.87 goals against average is the ninth best in the nation, and his .925 save percentage is tied for 12th with North Dakota’s Cam Johnson.

 

Sophomore Andrew Shortridge (PC: Quinnipiac Athletics)

 

The Bobcats have found success when they have one goalie that plays day in and day out.

In Quinnipiac’s first Frozen Four run, Eric Hartzell was one of the best goaltenders in the nation. Likewise, Michael Garteig was the backbone of the Bobcats’ success when they returned to the Frozen Four in 2016, leading the country in minutes played. As recently as last season, Quinnipiac went on a hot streak when Shortridge claimed the starting goalie role, leading to a trip to Lake Placid for the ECAC semifinals.

Goaltending is the most important position on the ice, and having a steady presence in net is a recipe for success.

Quinnipiac will face Massachusetts again Saturday night in Amherst at 7:30 pm.

If the Bobcats continue to lose, their only hope of returning to the NCAA tournament will be winning the ECAC tournament.