September 25, 2013

Quinnipiac Men's Ice Hockey Picked Third In ECAC Hockey Coaches and Media Preseason Polls

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – The Quinnipiac men's ice hockey team was picked to finish third in the ECAC Hockey Coaches and Media Preseason Polls, as announced by the league office on Tuesday, Sept. 24 at ECAC Hockey's annual Media Day. This year's media event was held at Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, N.Y., which will also serve as the site of the 2014 ECAC Hockey Semifinals and Championship Game.

In the coaches poll, Yale was tabbed to finish first, with a league-high four first-place votes, followed by Rensselaer with two votes. Quinnipiac and Union tied as the coaches' pick to finish second, with both teams receiving two first-place votes.  Cornell was picked fifth, with one first-place vote, followed by Harvard and Dartmouth, who received the final first-place vote in sixth and seventh, respectively. Brown, Colgate, St. Lawrence, Princeton and Clarkson rounded out the 12-team field.

It was Rensselaer emerging as the top pick in the media poll as the Engineers received 18 first-place votes. Yale was second with five votes, while Quinnipiac received the second-most first-place votes, with six, for third place. Union was fourth with three first-place tallies, followed by Cornell, with one vote, and Dartmouth tied for fifth. St. Lawrence, Brown, Colgate, Harvard, Princeton and Clarkson filled in the remaining spots, in order.

2013-14 ECAC Hockey Coaches Preseason Poll 2013-14 ECAC Hockey Media Preseason Poll
1. Yale (4) 1. Rensselaer (18)
2. Rensselaer (2) 2. Yale (5)
T3. Quinnipiac (2) 3. Quinnipiac (6)
Union (2) 4. Union (3)
5. Cornell (1) 5. Cornell (1)
6. Harvard    Dartmouth 
7. Dartmouth (1) 7. St. Lawrence 
8. Brown 8. Brown
9. Colgate 9. Colgate 
10.St. Lawrence 10. Harvard 
11. Princeton 11. Princeton 
12. Clarkson 12. Clarkson

Season Preview

Forwards
Quinnipiac will return four of its top five scorers from 2012-13, including 30-point scorer Matthew Peca (15g, 15a) as well as linemates Connor and Kellen Jones in addition to leading goal-scorer Jordan Samuels-Thomas (17g, 12). Connor led the team in scoring in 2011-12, and totaled 12 goals and 16 assists last season while Kellen had 13 goals and 14 assists.

Gone from the Bobcats' line-up is the last member of the 100-point club, Jeremy Langlois who scored 56 goals in four years. In addition to Langlois, Quinnipiac will be without Ben Arnt (8g, 12a), Clay Harvey (5g, 13a) and Russell Goodman (6g, 8a) all of whom played a major role in scoring timely goals for head coach Rand Pecknold's squad. Harvey led the team in assists through the first three months of the season and Goodman bounced back from an injury to score three game-winning goals. Arnt scored a career-high eight goals last year - including what stood as the game-winner in the Bobcats' NCAA Frozen Four match-up against St. Cloud State. In addition to last season's work-horse senior class, media darling and fan favorite Kevin Bui is also gone after breaking-out in his final go-around.

The Bobcats will look to sophomore Travis St. Denis (8g, 7a), Bryce Van Brabant (5g, 8a) and captain Cory Hibbeler to fill in their line chart. St. Denis scored half of his goals in ECAC Hockey play and will look to expand on his first-year totals. Van Brabant had a quiet, unsung season totaling 13 points as a power forward on Samuels-Thomas' and Arnt's line. Hibbeler was selected by his teammates as this season's captain after emerging as a leader in the clubhouse for the NCAA National Runner-up.

Quinnipiac will also return a solid core of players that will provide depth for the Bobcats' top lines. Zach Luczyk saw playing time in 10 games as a freshman, totaling four assists. Soren Jonzzon scored the game-winner at Colgate and could see an increase in his four games played in his first year. Matt Lemire and Brooks Robinson will also be worked into the Bobcats' rotation over the course of the year.

The Bobcats will look to a promising crop of incoming freshman in 2013-14 to fill-out a deep Bobcats' line-up. Peter Quenneville, previously of the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the USHL, was a seventh round draft pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Quenneville was All-USHL pick last season after ranking among the league leaders in goals and points. Prior to Dubuque, he was the AJHL Most Valuable Player with the Sherwood Park Crusaders in 2011-12. Sam Anas tallied 97 points in 115 games over two seasons with the USHL's Youngstown Phantoms. Tim Clifton had a break-out season with the EJHL's Jersey Hitmen and wrapped-up a junior hockey career with 135 points (49g, 86a) in 117 career games. Former Lincoln Stars forward Thomas Schutt tallied 17 goals and 26 assists last season and will be looked upon to provide depth for the Bobcats' attack.

Defense
Arguably the most experienced part of the Bobcats' line-up over the last two years, the Bobcats will look to replace over 600 career games lost to the graduation of Zack Currie, Zack Davies, Mike Dalhuisen and Loren Barron. Currie served as the team's captain last season, while Davies was named ECAC Hockey Best Defensive Defenseman also earned All-ECAC Hockey First Team honors. Dalhuisen had a banner year, totaling eight goals and eight assists while Barron chipped in with three goals and 13 assists in 43 games played a year ago.

The Bobcats will return Dan Federico, who assisted on 11 goals while establishing himself as one of the most reliable defenseman in ECAC Hockey, as well as Zach Tolkinen, a big, physical presense on the blue line that contributed two goals and five assists. Alex Barron, who saw playing time on defense and as a forward last season, and Tom Hilbrich, will provide depth in the defensive corps for Pecknold's Bobcats.

The Bobcats' defensive newcomers are headlined by NHL Draft pick Connor Clifton, taken in the fifth round by the Phoenix Coyotes, who suited up for the USA Development Team last season. Clifton previously played for Team USA in the World U-18 Championship in 2011. Devon Toews was a highly-touted prospect after a two-year career with the Surrey Eagles of the BCHL. Last season, he led Surrey with 37 assists prior to being named Best Defenseman at the 2013 RBC Cup as well as Best defenseman in the BCHL's Coastal Conference. Brayden Sherbinin also comes from the BCHL after playing for the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in 2012-13 and the Cowichan Valley Capitals in 2011-12. Joe Fiala is a former USA Developmental Team prospect (2010-11) who played for the Indiana Ice of the USHL last season while Derek Smith comes to Quinnipiac from the Coulee Region Chill of the NAHL. 

Goalies
The most notable departure from last season's NCAA Tournament Championship runner-up Bobcats' line-up is 2013 Hobey Baker Hat Trick Finalist Eric Hartzell. Hartzell also garnered ECAC Hockey Player of the Year and ECAC Hockey Ken Dryden Goalie of the Year honors before being named an All-American and USA Hockey College Player of the Year. After a record-breaking career, Hartzell became the first Quinnipiac player in program history to suit up for an NHL game after signing with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Michael Garteig served as Hartzell's back-up last season and will assume the reigns in 2013-14. Garteig played just 118 minutes in goal last season, and will look to improve on his 2.03 GAA. A two-time All-BCHL stand-out with the Penticton Vees and the Powell River Kings, Garteig was also the top goalie in the BCHL in 2010-11 and 2011-12.

Sophomore Jacob Meyers and freshman Brady Rouleau will press Garteig for playing time. Meyers will be with the Bobcats for his second year. Rouleau comes to Quinnipiac from the Victoria Grizzlies of the BCHL, where he won 18 regular-season games before starting 10 playoff games for the Grizzlies. He also played for the Cowichan Valley Capitals in 2011-12 and the Canmore Eagles of the AJHL in 2010-11.

Schedule
The Bobcats' 2013-14 schedule features two in-season tournaments and 20 home dates. Quinnipiac is coming off the best season in program history that saw the Bobcats win their first-ever Cleary Cup for the ECAC Hockey Regular-Season Championship, before advancing to the NCAA National Championship Game. On the way, the Bobcats compiled the most wins in a season (30) while leading the nation in winning percentage (.756, 30-8-5), penalty kill percentage (91.1%, 164-180) and scoring defense (1.67).

Quinnipiac fans can get an early preview of the 2013-14 squad when it hosts St. Mary's on Sunday, Oct. 6 at 2 p.m. at High Point Solutions Arena at the TD Bank Sports Center. After its exhibition match-up, Quinnipiac will head North to participate in the Kendall Hockey Classic hosted by the University of Alaska-Anchorage. Quinnipiac will face Alaska-Anchorage on Friday, Oct. 11 and the University of Alaska-Fairbanks on Saturday, Oct. 12.

The following weekend, Quinnipiac will face 2013 NCAA Frozen Four participant University of Massachusetts-Lowell for a home-and-home series, traveling to the Tsongas Center on Friday, Oct. 18 before hosting the Riverhawks for its regular-season home-opener on Saturday, Oct. 19. Following a mid-week tilt against Bentley at home on Tuesday, Oct. 22, Quinnipiac will face Holy Cross on the road on Friday, Oct. 25 before hosting the Crusaders on Saturday, Oct. 26.

November opens with Quinnipiac's first ECAC Hockey games of the season when it travels to Colgate on Friday, Nov. 1 and Cornell on Saturday, Nov. 2. Nov. 8 brings Brown to High Point Solutions Arena before  a Nov. 9 re-match of the 2013 National Championship Game when Yale visits. The game will also be the 12th Annual Heroes Hat Game. After hosting Harvard and Dartmouth on Friday, Nov. 15 and Saturday, Nov. 16, respectively, the Bobcats travel to Princeton on Friday, Nov. 22 before hosting the Tigers on Saturday, Nov. 23. Thanksgiving Week features a pair of match-ups at High Point Solutions Arena against Providence on Wednesday, Nov. 27 and Massachusetts on Saturday, Nov. 30.

The lightest month of the schedule falls in December when Quinnipiac travels to Rensselaer and Union on Dec. 6-7 before suiting up for the UConn Holiday Classic on Dec. 29-30. The Bobcats, winner of UConn's annual in-season tournament in 2008, will face Massachusetts on Dec. 29 while Connecticut will face Sacred Heart.

The Bobcats open the New Year at home against Maine on Friday, Jan. 4 before traveling to Harvard on Tuesday, Jan.7. Quinnipiac will then host Union on Friday, Jan. 10 and Rensselaer on Saturday, Jan. 11. The following weekend will feature a two-game, home-and-home set against Merrimack, with the Bobcats hosting the Warriors on Friday, Jan. 17 before traveling to North Andover, Mass. on Saturday, Jan. 18. The Bobcats wrap-up the month at Dartmouth in Hanover, N.H. on Friday, Jan. 31.

February starts with a home series against Clarkson on Friday, Feb. 7 and St. Lawrence on Saturday, Feb. 8. The Bobcats will then travel down Whitney Ave. to play Yale at Ingalls Rink on Friday, Feb. 14 before facing Brown in Providence on Saturday, Feb. 15. Quinnipiac's final regular-season home weekend falls on Feb. 21-22 when Cornell and Colgate visit High Point Solutions Arena before the Bobcats close-out the year at St. Lawrence on Friday, Feb. 28 and Clarkson on Saturday, Mar. 1.

The ECAC Hockey Tournament First Round Series is set for Mar. 7-9, followed by the Quarterfinals on Mar. 14-16. Both best-of-three series will be played at the site of the highest seed. This season also marks a return to Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, N.Y. for the ECAC Hockey Semifinals on Friday, Mar. 21 and the ECAC Hockey Championship Game on Saturday, Mar. 22.