Did You Know: The Clarkson Hockey program has amassed 10,001 goals since the 1920-21 season?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

ECAC(HL) Men's 2nd Round Playoff Preview - Part 2

Our second preview takes us to Hamilton, NY and Colgate's Starr Rink where the regular season co-champions take on the upset minded Quinnipiac Bobcats. The Raiders took both games in the regular season, but Quinnipiac is coming off impressive two game sweep at RPI and has been playing some of their best hockey as of late.

Why Quinnipiac will win:
The Q comes into Starr with upset on their minds. The Bobcats roared into RPI and set the tempo early on Friday night with two first period goals. RPI could not recover and the Bobcats came out with a 2-1 victory. Expect the same style of play this week at Colgate as the Bobcats will look to take advantage of Colgate's 6-8-4 record when giving up the first goal and Quinnipiac's strong 15-6-1 record when scoring first. Playing with an early lead seems to fire up this squad and even though RPI took a very fast 1-0 lead on Saturday, the Bobcats battled back to take 3-1 lead at the end of the first. Expect Quinnipiac to use some early energy at Starr to quiet the crowd and set the tempo of the series.

Heading into the games last weekend, the biggest question was how rookie Bud Fisher would answer the call of his first post-season games. Three goals on 64 shots and two wins was proof to the rest of the league that with Fisher in net, Quinnipiac is capable of pulling off the road upset. Fisher showed in a 33 save performance on Saturday that he can steal a game even with a team bearing down in the third period. If Fisher can keep up his hot play, Quinnipiac will continue to be the talk of the league in Albany.

In what could be the biggest surprise of the weekend, Quinnipiac won game one by a 2-1 score. Previous to last weekend Quinnpiac had won 17 games, only six of which had come when the Bobcats scored three goals or less, and only one time all year had the Bobcats emerged victorious when scoring two goals. Winning 2-1 had to be just as surprising to the Bobcats as it was to the Engineers. If the Bobcats can mix in low scoring wins along with the 6-4 and 5-4 variety shootout wins then expect The Q to make a strong presence at Colgate this weekend.

Why Colgate will win:
The Raiders come into the weekend boasting the league's best defense, allowing a stingy 2.09 goals per game. Led by Dryden Award candidate Mark Dekanich in goal. Colgate's defense has allowed 14 first period goals all season. This defense will be looking to put the clamps on Quinnipiac's task of gaining control early. Things don't get much easier in the second or third as Colgate has only allowed 19 goals in the 2nd period and a suffocating 13 goals in the 3rd all year long. To beat Colgate you need to get the lead and hang on as the Raiders will not surrender a lead often. Colgate is 9-0-3 when leading after the first and a perfect 12-0-0 when entering the third period with a lead.

Colgate's biggest task will be using its top ranked defense to stop the speedy forwards of the Bobcats. Look for top rookie defenseman Nick St. Pierre along with fellow back guards Mike Campaner and Eric Main to log serious minutes this weekend to slow down the potent Quinnipiac offense.

When Colgate scores first they are 12-2-2 and at home they are an impressive 11-3-3 on the year. If looking at Quinnipiac's 9-11-0 record on the road does not instill confidence in the Raiders, the 4-10-0 record when surrendering the first goal will. This series may very well hinge on who scores first on Friday night and can set the tempo and flow of the series and early on. Colgate will be looking for a tightly called series as they hold the best powerplay in the conference, matched-up against the league's 11th ranked penalty kill. If Quinnipiac gets into penalty trouble it could be a short weekend.

Quinnipiac will put a scare into the Raiders and take one game, but Colgate will prove too strong on Sunday night.

Colgate 3 - Quinnipiac 1
Quinnipiac 2 - Colgate 1
Colgate 5 - Quinnipiac 3


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