Game of The Week Preview: No. 9 Quinnipiac vs. No. 19 Princeton
This weekend, the ninth-ranked Quinnipiac Bobcats (11-2,4-2) will play host to and travel to New Jersey to take on the 19th-ranked Princeton Tigers (3-4-1,3-2-1). Friday’s game will take place Hamden, Connecticut while the Saturday matchup will see the Tigers on their home ice in Princeton, New Jersey.
The Quinnipiac Bobcats enter this weekend riding high on a four-game winning streak, with all four victories coming on the road. Most recently, the Bobcats took two from the Maine Black Bears in Orono, Maine, which is no easy task. Yet, Quinnipiac faced little resistance in its road wins, tallying seven goals in the first contest and shutting out the Black Bears in the second. For a team with only two losses, it may be surprising to see them at No. 9 in the rankings, but given their relatively lax schedule, their ranking may be appropriate.
The Bobcats have been stellar defensively this year, being paced in goal by the likes of sophomore goaltender Keith Petruzzeli and junior Andrew Shortlidge. Petruzzeli has seen the bulk of the time in net, totaling nine starts in this young season as well as sporting a 2.01 Goals against average. Quinnipiac is no slouch on offense, however, as they are led by sophomore forward Odeen Tufto and his 18 points, nine apiece in goals and assists. Senior defenseman Chase Priskie is second on the team in points and goals with 16 and eight, respectively. Fellow senior defenseman Brandon Fortunato leads the team in assists with 13, but aside from these three, the scoring is scattered and unevenly distributed. If the Bobcats are going to prevail over the Tigers of Princeton, they will need to rely on more than their defense and their ever productive “Big Three."
Meanwhile, the Princeton Tigers have fared far worse on the road, falling in their last three road games to the likes of Ivy League rival Cornell and fourth-ranked UMass. While the competition the Tigers have faced has been strong to say the least, the sub .500 record must be concerning for head coach Ron Fogarty. Sophomore goaltender Ryan Ferland has seen almost all action in net, posting a 2.69 goals against average and a .917 save percentage. While Quinnipiac may have the edge in goal statistically, the offensive statistics between the Bobcats and the Tigers are eerily similar. Princeton is led on offense by senior forward Ryan Kuffner and his team leading seven goals. Sophomore forward Max Véronneau leads with nine assists, and senior defenseman Josh Teves and junior forward Jackson Cressey are tied for third on the team with six assists apiece. Aside from these four, however, there is limited scoring, if any.
With such similar styles of play, expecting a low scoring affair would not be a ridiculous assumption by any stretch. Both Quinnipiac and Princeton rely on their goaltenders and a few goals on offense as being their key to victory, and with the play of each team’s respective goaltenders thus far, scoring will be at a premium this weekend. With the play of Pertuzzeli of Quinnipiac, and the superior top-heavy scoring by Priskie and Tufto, the Bobcats appear to have the stronger team on both the offensive and defensive ends of the ice, but the difference is marginal at best. Expect the hot team, Quinnipiac, to continue their winning ways, and for the Princeton Tigers to continue their spiral out of control, as they fall victim to their fourth and fifth losses of the season.
Andrew Destin is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.