Three Things: Quinnipiac Men’s Hockey Sweeps St. Lawrence

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Ryan Flaherty

Highlights by Patrick Flatley

Story by Ryan Flaherty

Christophe Fillion and Ethan de Jong scored for the Quinnipiac Bobcats (12-5-3, 6-3-3 ECAC Hockey) on Saturday night, completing the weekend sweep of the St. Lawrence Saints (4-5-2, 4-5-2 ECAC Hockey).

Despite a slower than normal paced game, there was still a lot to unpack after the Bobcats win. Here are three things you might’ve missed in Saturday’s game.

de Jong’s leap

It’s been over a month since the Bobcats lost Wyatt Bongiovanni to a lower body injury and the lingering question of who would fill his role is starting to be answered.

de Jong has now scored 10 goals — one of 17 players in the nation to reach double digits — and has been a crucial part of the Bobcats’ power play.

“He’s been one of our best players this year,” head coach Rand Pecknold said. “He’s just a great 200-foot player and he does it all for us: [penalty kill], power play. I’m really happy with Ethan.”

de Jong was more modest about his success in the game. “It was also one of those nights the puck was just finding me,” he said.

The truth is de Jong has a skill set that will provide a bigger offensive output in the more physical and heavy-hitting ECAC Hockey, where he can use his size and speed to get shots on goal.

He did just that tonight, putting a team-high nine shots on goal, and you can expect stats like this to continue as his game progresses.

Dominance in the dot

It would be a major understatement to say the Bobcats offense came to play on Saturday afternoon.

Heading into the weekend, the Bobcats had lost 5-of-6 games in the face-off circle and were struggling mightily to gain consistent offensive pressure off the draw.

That was not the case tonight, as the Bobcats won the faceoff dot 33-to-20, which led to numerous chances.

“The big thing to me is it’s a five-man faceoff,” Pecknold said. “It’s not just the centers. I thought we strayed a little bit [in] those games we were losing. I thought our wings and our [defense] weren’t as good getting in.”

All the evidence you need for knowing how important winning the faceoff dot is to this team can be found on de Jong’s game-winning goal. A clean face-off win lead to a high-quality scoring chance from one of the better scorers on the team — and he capitalized.

As the Bobcats wind down their season, keep an eye on the face-off numbers as they try to wrap up the Cleary Cup.

Petruzzelli stands tall again

Despite only having to make 15 saves, Keith Petruzzelli proved once again why he is a candidate for both the Mike Richter and Hobey Baker awards.

“Keith was great tonight,” Pecknold said. “The [shots] we gave up, we gave up some breakaways and 2-on-1’s. We got sloppy. He was good and those are tough games to stay in.”

Not only did Petruzzelli stay in this game, but he largely kept the Bobcats in it and was a major reason they were able to get on the board first.

Heading into the weekend, Petruzzelli was second in the nation with four shutouts and he added to his 10 wins that had him third in the nation.

With as young of a defensive core as the Bobcats have, mistakes are bound to be made, and having an anchor like Petruzzelli gives them the ability to play more aggressive and that’s when they are at their best.

With the win, Quinnipiac expanded its lead to five points in ECAC Hockey with just six games left in the season. Next up for the Bobcats is a trip to Hamilton, New York, next Friday to take on the Colgate Raiders.