Way too early look at next year’s Quinnipiac winter sports


Photo Courtesy: Liz Flynn

Ethan Logue

There is no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought forth some of the most unique circumstances that the world has ever seen. Nations are in quarantine, schools and universities have closed down for the rest of the year, and all sporting events, both collegiate and professional have either canceled or postponed all of their games until further notice.

By Thursday, Mar. 12, the NBA, NHL, MLB, and NCAA had either canceled or postponed all upcoming sporting events. This obviously created a lot of uproar amongst the sports community as this is often considered the best time of year to be a sports fan. The NCAA conference championships are underway and March Madness will follow them up in a week, MLB is wrapping up Spring Training and preparing for Opening Day, and the two-month-long NBA and NHL playoffs are right around the corner.

Like the rest of the sporting world, the ECAC Hockey tournament and MAAC basketball tournament canceled all of their upcoming games. The Quinnipiac men’s and women’s basketball teams were just mere hours away from playing their first games of the tournament, and the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team was preparing for the ECAC Hockey playoffs at home against cross-town rival Yale that coming weekend. All of that is now in the past, so what better time than right now, to look into the future for the Quinnipiac men’s and women’s basketball and ice hockey teams.

The Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team was one of the many teams that saw their season get cut short. The Bobcats had gotten hot at the right time, going 7-2-1 in their last ten games. After securing a first-round bye in the ECAC Playoffs, the Bobcats were set to face-off against Yale, who they had beaten in their two prior matchups. The Bobcats seemed poised to make a run and head to Lake Placid to finish off the ECAC Playoffs and maybe find a way to squeak into the NCAA Hockey Tournament. Despite all of this there are a lot of positives for the Bobcats and their upcoming season. The Bobcats will return starting goaltender Keith Petruzzelli who finished the season very strong including two shutouts against #1 Cornell and Yale. Petruzzelli finished the season with a 21-10-2 record, .920 save percentage, and 2.01 goals against average. The Bobcats will also see the return of assistant captain and leading scorer Odeen Tufto. Tufto finished the season with seven goals and 31 assists for a total of 38 points. Peter DeLiberatore also informed the Quinnipiac coaching staff that he would be returning for another year in Hamden. DiLiberatore was instrumental on the power play for the Bobcats and was the highest-scoring defensemen for Quinnipiac. The Bobcats also have a strong signing class that included the likes of Ty Smilanic, a member of the USA Hockey National Development Team Program and is projected to go in the second round of the upcoming NHL Draft. With all of this returning firepower and incoming talent, the Bobcats seem ready to make another run at the NCAA Tournament.

Switching from the men’s side to the women’s side, the Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey team was the only team that completed their season this year. The Bobcats fell to the Princeton Tigers in a hard-fought three-game series in which two of the games went into overtime. The Bobcats are, however, losing a lot of talent and experience. Quinnipiac is losing captains Kenzie Prater and top-scoring defensemen Kati Tabin. Tabin was also named to the Third-Team All-ECAC this past winter. The Bobcats are also losing their leading goal scorer from this past season as Sarah-Eve Coutu-Godbout who produced 16 goals this year for the Bobcats. However, the biggest loss for the Bobcats will come from between the pipes as Abbie Ives will be graduating this year. Ives finished her Senior campaign with a 17-13-3 record, a .927 save percentage, and an outstanding 1.90 goals against average. Logan Angers will likely be the replacement for Ives in the upcoming season, Angers played very well in the four games she started in this past year. Angers finished with a 3-1 record in four games, a save percentage of .955, and a goals against average of just 0.76. The Bobcats will also have leading point-getter, Lexie Adzija, return for her junior season. ECAC All-Rookie Team member Kate Reilly will be back for her second season and Sadie Peart and Taylor Girard will also be back for another year in Hamden, all three finished near the top in scoring last and all three will look to aid the Quinnipiac offense. After being one shot away from advancing into the ECAC Semi-finals the Bobcats seem destined to make a deep run into the ECAC Playoffs next year.

Switching from the ice to the hardwood, the Quinnipiac men’s basketball team was getting set to face off against Monmouth on Thursday before news broke that the tournament would be canceled. Since the announcement of the cancellation of the tournament, a lot has happened to the Quinnipiac men’s basketball team. Three players that were on Quinnipiac’s roster have announced that they will enter the transfer portal. Two of those players were key figures in Quinnipiac’s system. The leading rebounder in the entire nation, Kevin Marfo, announced he will be playing for another school come the fall of 2020. On Sunday, Marfo announced that he would be transferring to Texas A&M where he will immediately become eligible. Starting point guard Rich Kelly also put his name in the transfer portal, and like Marfo, announced Sunday he would be transferring to another school. Kelly is set to play at Boston College next year. This is another huge loss for the Bobcats as Kelly was the leading scorer for the team this year. Kelly also reached the 1,000 point mark this season and was the team leader in assists. Aaron Falzon will also be leaving the program this year, the graduate student only averaged 7.8 points per game but was starting to play really well near the end of the season including a game in which he scored 24 points against Monmouth. With all of the losses Quinnipiac is sustaining it will be crucial for players like Tyrese Williams, Jacob Rigoni, and Matt Balanc to carry the load for the Bobcats this upcoming season. With all of these questions and uncertainty surrounding the Bobcats along with a strong MAAC field, it will be difficult for the Bobcats to return to what they were this season.

It was a change of pace for the Quinnipiac women’s basketball team this season. The Bobcats finished the season with a 15-14 record and were 12-8 in the MAAC. The winners of the three previous MAAC Tournaments had its ups and downs throughout the season but had the experience and most importantly the coaching, to win their fourth straight MAAC Championship. With the season over what will next year look like for the Bobcats? The Bobcats will lose Taylor Herd, who was the second leading scorer on the team, and the team leader in rebounds, Paige Warfel, who averaged 11.1 rebounds per game this season. However, this Bobcats team is returning a lot of talent. Shaq Edwards will be back for her senior year. Edwards was the leading scorer on the Bobcats averaging 12.5 points per game, along with leading the team in points, Edwards led the team in assists. It is clear that the offense will run through Edwards next year. Along with Edwards, Mikala Morris and Mackenzie DeWees are returning, both coming off of strong years and will look to build off of them this upcoming fall. Cur’Tiera Haywood and Sajada Bonner will look to continue their strong shooting from behind the arc. On paper, this team has all of the components of a championship team. A strong point guard that can score consistently and knows when and where to pass the ball in Shaq Edwards, a strong presence on the glass that can pull down double-digit rebounds a game in Mikala Morris, two very reliable options from behind the arc in Haywood and Bonner, a strong mid-range shooter in Mackenzie DeWees, and head coach Tricia Fabbri who knows what it takes to win a MAAC Championship and how to lead her team to one. It will be interesting to watch how deep of a run this team can make next March.

A lot can change in a year and by March of 2021 who knows how the MAAC and ECAC Hockey will look. There will be teams that will surprise us and teams that will disappoint, however, the only thing there is to do is to wait. Wait for next year and see how everything lines up.