Quinnipiac “immature” and “not prepared” in 5-3 loss to Clarkson

Tom Krosnowski

On the heels of a 7-2 victory over St. Lawrence Friday night, the Quinnipiac workout room erupted in cheers when the players found out that they took over first place in the ECAC Hockey standings.

But after a lackluster 5-3 loss to the Clarkson Golden Knights just 24 hours later, the Bobcats found themselves out of first place, and singing a different tune in the postgame press conferences.

“We just didn’t play well,” head coach Rand Pecknold said. “We had a lot of guys that struggled tonight. I thought we were immature with our effort tonight, and we just weren’t prepared.”

It’s hard to figure how the Bobcats weren’t prepared for a matchup with the No. 12 ranked Clarkson team that is now just one point behind them in conference standings. The team saw its record on Saturdays drop to 6-6-1, which pales in comparison to its 12-1-1 figure on Fridays.

Senior captain Chase Priskie has recognized the trend, and is tired of the team’s Jekyll-and-Hyde performance from Friday to Saturday.

“If you’re a player who looks back on these Saturday nights and you’re not happy with the way you played, then you’ve got to identify why you’re not doing well and change something,” Priskie said. “What you’re doing right now doesn’t work. I don’t think that some of the guys are identifying, and I think they want to give off the blame to someone else. I think sometimes, you’ve got to look inward to make a difference outward.”

Priskie isn’t one of those players who has to question his effort. He scored two goals, was third on the team in shots and was one of few players with a “plus” rating in the game. With his second goal, Priskie set the all-time record for career goals by a Quinnipiac defenseman, with 39.

The rest of the Bobcats’ defense, however, cannot say the same. Goaltender Andrew Shortridge stood on his head at times on Saturday night, but was left alone far too often and was not able to consistently bail out his defense.

“We can’t leave our goalies out to dry,” Priskie said. “I think Andrew played good tonight. You can’t expect those big-time saves every night, and we just didn’t give him a chance on a lot of those goals. Didn’t even give him a chance.”

Pecknold was more blunt in his assessment of the team’s defensive effort.

“You can’t give up 5 goals and win hockey games,” Pecknold said.

Quinnipiac was up 1-0 after one period, thanks to an Alex Whelan deflection goal. From then on out, the Bobcats looked like a different team. They gave up four goals in the second period and only scored one to counter. The fourth goal in particular, in which Quinnipiac turned the puck over at the offensive blue line amidst a questionable change, left Clarkson winger Haralds Egle all alone behind the Bobcats’ defense for a breakaway goal.

This was the turning point in Pecknold’s mind.

“I don’t want to say the game was over there, but that was a big play,” Pecknold said. “Our changes were bad at times, our turnovers were atrocious, and we just need to be better.”

Quinnipiac has one more weekend in the regular season to try to bounce back, as they’ll go on the road next weekend to face Brown and Yale. Sitting just one point out of first place in the ECAC Hockey standings, the Bobcats can likely make up for this loss with a successful weekend.

To do that, Pecknold thinks the team will need to focus on the basics.

“We were immature tonight, and it wasn’t just the freshmen,” Pecknold said. “Our older guys had struggles too. The buy-in this year has been excellent. But tonight the buy-in was poor. We strayed from our identity, and we did not get rewarded for that.”

Q30 Sports will be on the road with the team both Friday and Saturday nights. Stay with us for updates.