Quinnipiac opens CT Ice Tournament with win over UConn

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Quinnipiac opens CT Ice Tournament with win over UConn

Photo Courtesy: Quinnipiac Athletics

Photo Courtesy: Quinnipiac Athletics

Photo Courtesy: Quinnipiac Athletics

Photo Courtesy: Quinnipiac Athletics

Patrick Flatley and Steven Pappas

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Highlights – Steven Pappas

Storylines – Patrick Flatley

The Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team opened up the first ever Connecticut Ice Tournament by taking down the UConn Huskies in a back and forth 3-2 win. Quinnipiac went down early but was able to survive a slow start and advance to the tournament’s championship game Sunday at 7 p.m. against the winner of Sacred Heart.

Three Storylines:

Turnovers

Turnovers almost cost the Bobcats this semi-final matchup, especially in the first period. A rule of thumb in hockey is to never turn the puck over within 10 feet on either side of both blue lines. That was the story of Quinnipiac’s first period in a nutshell. UConn outshot the Bobcats 17-9 in the first period and the noticeable number of turnovers from the Bobcats gave them that opportunity in early in the game. Turnovers also helped the Bobcats tonight as well. Wyatt Bongiovanni got on the scoresheet after Tufto forced a turnover on the forecheck and dropped the puck on a platter for Bongiovanni who walked down the slot and sniped one top corner. But it was UConn again that received another gift late in the first period. DiLiberatore and Britt attempted to make a D-to-D pass behind the Bobcat net when the puck hit the net and squeaked out in front where a wide-open Carter Turnbull tied the game and sent it to the first intermission.

Quinnipiac’s Top Line

The line of Bongiovanni-Tufto-deJong was the best line on the ice and a major reason why Quinnipiac was able to come out with a 3-2 win over UConn. While only directly contributing to one goal on the scoresheet, their impact on the game was much more than that. Every time that line was on the ice, they controlled the pace of that shift. One shift in the first period stood out in particular. The next shift after the Bongiovanni goal, the Bobcats top line controlled the puck for over a minute without a Huskie getting even a stick on it. They were snapping the puck all over the offensive zone resulting in a handful of quality scoring chances helping to set the tone for the rest of the night. That’s what you expect from your top line and they are a huge reason why the Bobcats are now 8-1 in the team’s last nine games.

Neutral Zone Forecheck

Once the dust settled from the first period, Quinnipiac got back to the systems that have shown them success. One in particular is the neutral zone forecheck. The effective 1-3-1 the Bobcats run suffocated the Huskies and helped to turn the momentum back in favor of the Bobcats. A key aspect to a correctly run 1-3-1 is the ability and execution of the defenseman or other forward to pinch at the red line when the first forward angles the UConn defenseman up the wall a certain way. When done correctly and the timing is on, that forward looks open to his defenseman but when the pass is made, that winger won’t have time to make a play and might not even get the puck at all before that Quinnipiac player is right on him. This was another major difference in the Bobcats play between the first period and the rest of the game.