Series of the Week: UMass vs. Quinnipiac
The No. 8 Quinnipiac Bobcats (13-2, 4-2) will host the No. 1 UMass Minutemen (12-1, 7-0) on Friday night before heading back to Amherst, Massachusetts for the second game of a two-game series.
The Bobcats of Quinnipiac Bobcats enter riding on the coattails of a six-game winning streak, having defeated the Princeton Tigers 3-0 in the first game and 6-3 in the series finale. Senior defenseman Chase Priskie led the way for the Bobcats with three goals over the weekend, giving him a team-leading 11 goals in total on the year. Priskie’s been one of the best defensemen in the country this year, and especially so on the offensive end. His 11 goals are good for seventh across all the NCAA, which is particularly impressive for a defenseman.
Sophomore forward Odeen Tufto continued his impressive offensive year as well, totaling four points over the weekend with one goal and three points. Tufto has notched 24 points over the course of the season, leading the team in the category and coming in at sixth in the country at points per game.
To say that Quinnipiac has been led by its offensive would be misleading, however. Its defensive unit has led to its success all year with sophomore goaltender Keith Petruzzelli and junior Andrew Shortlidge being nothing short of spectacular in goal. The duo has combined for 1.80 goals against average across 15 games with Petruzzeli seeing 10 of the 15 starts in goal so far. No matter who’s in goal, however, the defense has been the backbone for these Bobcats.
Meanwhile, top-ranked UMass has been nothing short of spectacular this year. The Minutemen have not lost since October, and that came on the road to the previously top-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. Sophomore forward Mitchell Chaffee has paced the attack on offense, leading the team with 10 goals, as well as fourth with eight assists.
Sophomore defensemen Cale Makar and sophomore forward John Leonard are tied for the team in assists with 12, demonstrating a balanced offensive attack. This is not to say that UMass’ offense isn’t potent, as the Minutemen are second in the country in scoring with 4.08 goals per game.
The defensive unit for UMass has also been stellar, as the duo of sophomore Matt Murray and freshman Filip Lindberg have combined for 1.98 goals against average. Murray has received the bulk of the playing time for a team that is yielding the seventh lowest goals per game. The Minutemen have been a proficient team on both ends of the ice. It should come as no surprise that they are perceived as being the best team in the country by the voters in the polls, and thus far in the season, they have played up to the standard of a great team.
The Quinnipiac Bobcats have faced little resistance up to this point, due in part to their relatively weak schedule. Yet, with a matchup with the UMass Minutemen now on their slate, it seems as if their six-game winning streak will come to an end.
UMass is a potent team that is proficient in all aspects of the game, and I imagine they will up their winning streak to 10 games. The Bobcats may have been successful at this juncture in the season, but the Minutemen are a well-oiled machine, capable of crushing any teams hopes. As of Saturday night, the Bobcats of Quinnipiac will soon be added to that list.
Andrew Destin is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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