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First weekend down: What the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team learned


Photo courtesy Quinnipiac Athletics

By: Victoria Rutigliano

The skates have been laced up, the ice cut into, and the seats were taken over by fans for the first weekend of the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey season. With the first homestand in the books, the Bobcats pulled out their first win and might have found the starting players needed to reinvent this team.

The most important part of this reinvention is sticking to the team’s identity, which according to head coach Rand Pecknold, it something that’s been harped on for years.

“There was a lot of positives, it wasn’t perfect, it’s early,” Pecknold said. It was certainly sloppy at times but I thought the competitive level was there, the will was there, and the want. Meaning we want to do things to win and that was very selfless. I thought our culture and our character came through.”

With top players like Sam Anas, Travis St. Denis, Devon Toews, and Michael Garteig no longer on the Bobcat roster, a lingering question has been whether or not this team will have the talent and depth it had last year.

While there’s only been one full weekend of play, one thing is for sure. This team still has its drive to succeed. There are new players, fresh lines, and a newfound reputation to uphold as reigning ECAC champions. Tim Clifton said with a new team in the locker room, there’s one thing that comes to his mind about the character of his new team.

“It’s shot blocking,” Clifton said. “That doesn’t feel good. That hurts. But here the boys are selling themselves out for the greater good of the team and that’s just something that’s a pretty prime example of the identity of our team and the selflessness of our players.”

On Saturday the team blocked 24 shots in it’s 5-2 victory over Northeastern. This statistic alone, said Clifton, shows this team’s desire to win. In the team’s first two games, Clifton alone recorded seven blocked shots, the most on the team.

This defensive will comes along with a new goaltender to back the team up. While head coach Rand Pecknold said there’s no sure starting goalie this coming weekend against Maine, one thing is for sure. Chris Truehl is a worthy netminder.

Truehl made 60 saves on the weekend, including 17 just in the second period of the first game against the Huskies. On top of this, he only allowed 4 goals against the reigning Hockey East championships, even after his team gave up 13 penalties in the second game.

While the Bobcats are testing out who will be the starter between the pipes this season, Connor Clifton said having a new goalie behind him in net doesn’t change the team’s mentality.

“No matter who’s behind us, we have trust in all three of our goalies no matter who,” Clifton said. “Truehl did great this weekend, we had trust in him, he had trust in us and it really just works perfectly. That’s the way it goes.”

Something that didn’t go well for the Bobcats this weekend was their lack of discipline. Quinnipiac tallied 26 penalty minutes, including seven players sitting in the box in the third period on Saturday. Northeastern showed its frustration as well on Saturday, accumulating 11 penalties throughout the game.

Pecknold said on media day Monday this new team still has a lot to work on.

“In terms of needs to improve I mean there’s a long laundry list,” Pecknold said. “Probably the number one thing was the odd-man rushes we gave up. We gave up way too many breakaways, way too many two-on-ones, that’s very uncharacteristic of us so that’s probably the biggest thing that we need to get better in.”

The team will get its chance to improve its play on the ice this weekend when it travels to the University of Maine. Last season the Bobcats shut down the Black Bears at home in a definitive fashion, winning the game 4-0.

Tim Clifton said with a new season in front of him and new players by his side, his team’s ambitions haven’t changed.

“We want to win. That’s first and foremost,” Clifton said. “You know, we’ve had very successful seasons here, we’ve had a lot of wins over the past three years and our goals haven’t changed. That’s still priority number one. We’re here to win. We’re here to win hockey games.”

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