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Sunday, September 24, 2006

ECAC Season Preview - Quinnipiac

Quinnipiac Bobcats

Last Years Finish - 10th

Key Returnees - Brian Leitch So. F, Jamie Bates Jr. F, Reid Cashman Sr. D

Key Losses - None

Quinnipiac looks to make a move to the top of the ECAC in 2006-2007. Head coach Rand Pecknold lead the Bobcats to a 20-18-1 overall record last year with a 8-13-1 league record and with a high powered recruiting class added to a strong group of returning underclassmen, the Bobcats will challenge for a first round bye this year.

Returning nine of the top ten scorers from an offense that scored 3.18 goals per game in conference will provide the Bobcats with another level of experience gained from their first year in ECAC play. League rookie of the year, Brian Leitch, leads the sophomore class which includes, David Marshall and Chris Myers. These three alone accounted for nearly one third of Quinnipiac's offensive firepower and will be looking to continue their strong starts. Juniors Jamie Bates, Ben Nelson and Matt Sorteberg will be depended on to provide some leadership to the underclassmen and if they can keep pace with their totals from last year, Quinnipiac will stay competitive in every game.

On defense the Bobcats are lead by senior Reid Cashman who contributes regularly on offense and was the leagues leading defenseman scorer. Cashman leads a group of young defenseman and a set of two forwards who drop back in Pecknold's system. Cashman will have to provide leadership to the rest of the defense or Quinnipiac will be looking at the same situation that got them into trouble last year, losing one goal games. In the league the Bobcats were 2-7 in one goal games and the lack of defense was the main problem. The Bobcats were scoring at 3.18 goal clip but were allowing goals at 3.83 pace. Quinnipiac needs to have Cashman and company tighten up in front of Bud Fisher.

Looking closer at Bud Fisher, the freshman netminder went 18-14-1 last year and posted a .904 save percentage and a 2.56 GAA. Solid numbers over all but in conference play the save percentage and GAA inflate to .895 and 2.93. Fisher was good against the out of conference opponents going 10-4-0, but against ECAC foes his 8-10-1 record was less than sterling. Fisher needs to mature in net and help out the defense in front of him. However with the youth deployed on the blue line this might prove difficult.

Quinnipiac is another young team in the league and will surprise a few teams with upset wins, but much like the Saints and Engineers they are about a year away from becoming a top team in the conference.

Best Case Finish - 4th
Worst Case Finish - 9th

CHF's Pick - 6th


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