Quinnipiac’s Power Play Cements 6-1 Win Over Holy Cross

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Patrick Flatley

It was a disappointing weekend for the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team but Tuesday was an opportunity to get back on track. A 6-1 win over Holy Cross did just that, but more importantly, one aspect of the Bobcats’ game seems to have turned a corner.

When Ethan de Jong scored the first goal of Saturday’s game, it came on the power play and it broke an 0-15 stretch. However, during the scoreless streak, it wasn’t all bad. Here and there we saw glimpses of quality puck movement but nothing to show for it.

Going scoreless on 15 straight power plays is not a successful strategy if you want to beat good teams and the Bobcats learned that lesson the hard way, dropping two in a row to Bowling Green.

There were plenty of opportunities for the power play to end that Tuesday and that’s exactly what happened. The Bobcats went 2-4 and the power play looked the best it has yet in this young season.

The Top Unit

The top unit consists of Peter DiLiberatore at the point with Odeen Tufto and Wyatt Bongiovanni in their one-timer spots at the top of the circles.

Ty Smilanic and de Jong are the two forwards down low around the front of the net. This unit is lethal on paper with so much potential and we are starting to witness the chemistry building game by game. Tonight was the best they’ve looked. To start the second period, they had five minutes of power-play time due to a major penalty and they put on a clinic.

Early during the power play, most of the puck movement is designed to open up a lane to give Bongiovanni a one-timer or a shot in general.

With Bongiovanni having one of the better shots on the team, this is considered the number one look. It is effective too. We have already seen him score from this spot this season and it almost happened again tonight but the crossbar had other ideas.

Once you complete that play a couple of times throughout the power play, teams will start to pick up on it as your go-to option. While it is a legit option, teams picking up on it is also part of the plan. Bongiovanni isn’t the only player with skill on the ice.

With the opponent cheating towards the threat of Bongiovanni, that opens up more space for the rest of that top unit. That results in more opportunities for guys like de Jong to go to work in front of the net and he was rewarded again on Tuesday.

Another thing this unit did well Tuesday was zone entries. You can’t set up if you don’t enter the zone cleanly and that was a contributor to the 0-15 stretch.

Tonight, Smilanic and Tufto entering the neutral zone parallel to each other with the puck and the rest of the unit heading up ice worked to perfection. Drawing attention to the middle, it allowed an open lane up the boards for the puck to enter the zone cleanly and it resulted in a goal on the rush in the first period.

The Second Unit

While the members of the second unit aren’t exactly as solidified as the first unit, there have been plenty of promising signs to look at.

The most notable is Nick Bochen. The first-year defenseman made his presence made in his first game for the Bobcats with his one-timer slapshot. He can shoot the puck, folks.

Not only can he shoot the puck but his awareness, confidence on the blue line, and puck movement abilities have made him a go-to option for this second unit.

Skyler Brind’Amour has also found himself a home on this second unit. In tonight’s game, the second unit had a similar set up to the top unit with the umbrella layout.

Brind’Amour was slotted into “Bongiovanni’s Office” on the left-hander’s one-timer side around the faceoff dot. His ability to win draws and shoot the puck makes him a quality option on this unit and gives the coaching staff another option in case the situation presents itself for unit one.

Guus Van Ness has started this season on another level. He can add a presence in front with his larger frame or from the outside with his lethal shot.

The beauty of this second unit is there are a lot of players you can make a case for being on this unit which raises the compete level for everyone fighting for a spot. This unit is not just giving the top unit a rest, they can do some damage on their own if you take them lightly.

Quinnipiac will look to continue to capitalize on the power play as they hit the road for the first time this season to finish the two-game set with Holy Cross on Wednesday. Puck drops at 5 p.m.