Odeen Tufto set to assume captain role for Quinnipiac men’s hockey


Photos: Quinnipiac Athletics

Steven Pappas

The Quinnipiac Bobcats men’s ice hockey team announced its captains for the 2020-2021 season on Monday with senior forward Odeen Tufto becoming the 47th captain in program history.

Tufto was a part of the leadership core last season, serving as an assistant captain to Nick Jermain.

Many believed Tufto was ready to wear the “C” last season after showing off some of his leadership abilities during his sophomore season in 2018-19.

Tufto has been the Bobcats’ best offensive player since he took the ice in his freshman season. He has led the team in scoring every year since, and was a global pandemic away from reaching his third-straight 40-point season, ending the year with 38 (seven goals, 31 assists).

A pair of juniors were selected to wear the “A” on their sweaters this season. Junior forward Wyatt Bongiovanni and junior defenseman Peter DiLiberatore will be assisting Tufto with the captain duties this season.

Bongiovanni has posted back to back seasons of at least 20 points as well as building a reputation as a lethal goal scorer in ECAC Hockey with 29 goals in 72 career games.

Bongiovanni is at his most dangerous on the power play as his office has been set up on the strong side face-off circle where he wired home a team-leading five power play goals last season.

DiLiberatore, a Vegas Golden Knights draft pick, has cemented himself as one of the core players on this team, whether it is at 5-on-5 or on the power play.

The Nova Scotian-born defenseman has been able to control play with his speed and puck possession skills and has quarterbacked the teams’ first power play unit last season.

Quinnipiac is coming off consecutive winning seasons after finishing under .500 in 2017-18 for the first time since 1995-96.

Despite losing key players like Jermain and Alex Whelan, who signed in the AHL, head coach Rand Pecknold will get a boost from underclassman like Skyler Brind’Amour and incoming freshman Ty Smilanic, one of the top draft-eligible prospects.

After the Bobcats schedule was cut short last season and there has been no official word on the status of this season, Pecknold seems like he is preparing to make a run at his third ECAC Hockey championship and seventh NCAA tournament appearance, with Tufto, Bongiovanni and DiLiberatore helping to sail the ship.