February 1, 2007
The Evolution of Quinnipiac

By Joe Gladziszewski

Reid Cashman was fortunate enough to have a car on campus when he was a freshman at Quinnipiac University. He needed it, too, because the Bobcats' home games and daily practices were held at the Northford Ice Pavilion, which was about a 15-minute drive from his campus residence.

ECAC Hockey League Notebook

Quinnipiac's senior captain and two-time All-American selection Reid Cashman practices at the new TD Banknorth Sports Center. The on-campus facility provides nicer amenities, and a shorter commute, for the Bobcat players.

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Practices usually took place between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., which meant players had to hustle to practice after morning classes, and rush back after practice for afternoon classes.

Cashman, nor any of the current or future Bobcats, has to worry about that commute anymore. The TD BankNorth Sports Center hosted its first games last weekend, although it's been open for Quinnipiac's practices for about two weeks now.

"It's been quite an evolution and we've seen some drastic changes," Cashman said. "We were playing in a smaller rink in Atlantic Hockey and now we've moved to this new facility and playing in the ECAC Hockey League."

Cashman has been an integral part of Quinnipiac's growth in college hockey over the last four years. As a freshman, he was named to the All-Atlantic Hockey Second Team and finished with 19 assists and 21 points in 35 games. His sophomore campaign saw him lead all of Atlantic Hockey in scoring with 45 points and was one of 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award.

The next year was the first in the ECACHL for Cashman and Quinnipiac, which ended with a 10th-place finish, a first-round playoff series win over Rensselaer, and a quarterfinal loss in three games to nationally-ranked Colgate.

The Bobcats are moving forward each and every year. They're within striking distance of a top-four regular-season finish this year and have spent many weeks in the national polls. They're constantly striving to reach the next level.

"We feel like we've got a lot to prove to ourselves and to others that we're capable of being a top-20 program," Cashman said.

The TD Banknorth Sports Center is now open and has been sold out for the team's first two home games, and is sold out for Friday's game against Yale.

The Quinnipiac players have handled the distractions that come along with a new facility quite well. Classes began in mid-January, and many of the players' parents are visiting campus for this stretch of four games in seven days.

Head Coach Rand Pecknold said that there's no special way that you can deal with the distractions, other than to be aware of them, and prepare for them. He gave the team the day off on Wednesday to take care of schoolwork and get some time away from the rink.

Although the new arena has some of the best amenities, and is a huge boost simply because of its on-campus location, the Bobcats won't forget about those commutes and game-night crowds that were one-third the size of their current following.

"We teach the kids not to take anything for granted, and we've always taught them to respect what we have here," Pecknold said. "We've moved up the food chain a little bit and there are lots of kids dying to come here, so we can be a little more selective with our recruiting."


Flowing From the Freakout!: RPI's tie against St. Lawrence in the Big Red Freakout! game on Jan. 20 has gave the Engineers some momentum heading into the last five weekends of the regular season. After getting that point against the Saints, who are currently leading the ECACHL, Rensselaer went on the road and defeated Yale 2-1 and Brown 4-3.

Those road victories were significant in moving RPI up the standings, but it's not just that they won the games, but how they won the games. RPI held on to a one-goal lead in the third period against Yale, despite being outshot 15-8 in the final period. Rensselaer also faced a three-on-five short-handed situation for 57 seconds near the end of the period. The Engineers and goaltender Jordan Alford held firm and earned the two points.

The following night saw RPI fall behind Brown in the first period, but the Engineers responded with three consecutive goals in the second period. A pair of goals from the Bears erased Rensselaer's 3-1 lead, but once again the Engineers found a way to win a close game, getting a power-play goal from Matt Angers-Goulet with 10:51 remaining.

Two more road tests await RPI this weekend, with a game at Dartmouth on Friday and at Harvard on Saturday.


Great Weekend Getaway
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Union at Harvard (Fri.)
RPI at Harvard (Sat.)
Beanpot: Harvard vs. BC (Mon.)

It's the special super-sized Great Weekend Getaway this week, with Union and RPI visiting Harvard for a weekend set, and the first night of Beanpot action following on Monday. The Crimson suffered two close losses at St. Lawrence and Clarkson, but responded with a very strong effort at Quinnipiac on Tuesday. Despite their recent record, they're playing well heading into this weekend.

While You're There: Confiscate all Sam Adams neon signs you see hanging in bars. They might be explosive devices.

Stick Salute

Union won two road games on the same weekend for the first time since the 2004-05 season, and Olivier Bouchard was a big part of it. He had three goals on the weekend and was the ECACHL Player of the Week.

Bench Minor

There's bound to be trouble anytime a new facility opens, but a lengthy delay occurred during Sunday afternoon's Quinnipiac-Holy Cross game when an injured Holy Cross player suffered a broken leg, and there was no ambulance or medical staff at the rink to provide a stretcher to move the player from the rink.

• St. Lawrence is off to its best start in the ECACHL since the 1999-2000 season, which ended with the Saints winning the league's regular-season and playoff championships. This year's club is 10-3-1 through 14 league games, while the '99-'00 team was 11-2-1 in its first 14. Freshman goalie Alex Petizian has made nine straight starts.

• Cornell's Mike Schafer is the Big Red's all-time winningest coach. Saturday night's 2-1 victory over Colgate was Schafer's 231st behind the Cornell bench. Dick Bertrand held the record previously.

• Another coaching milestone could be accomplished this weekend, as Ted Donato has 49 career wins at Harvard and will reach the half-century mark with the Crimson's next victory.

• Had to share this humorous exchange between Washington Capitals' television personalities during Thursday's game. While promoting an upcoming "college night" at a Caps' home game, play-by-play announcer Joe Beninati asked analyst, and former Clarkson player, Craig Laughlin if he still had his Clarkson ID. Laughlin responded, "I didn't need an ID. I was a hockey player."

• Princeton returned from its exam break and played Robert Morris on Monday night, losing 3-1. Lee Jubinville scored the Tigers' lone goal late in the second period, and it gave Princeton a 1-0 lead. Robert Morris scored three times in an eight-minute span in the third period to get the win.

• Colgate is hosting a Make-A-Wish Weekend at their home games against St. Lawrence and Clarkson. In an effort organized by freshman forward Ethan Cox, the Raiders will raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation in honor of 8-year-old Miranda Hadlock, a Colgate hockey fan, cancer patient, and "wish kid". Miranda will oversee a ceremonial puck drop prior to Saturday's game against Clarkson. The Raiders will also wear alternate sweaters in both games, and those are available for sale to the public. Almost all of them had been purchased as of Thursday afternoon, and nobody had seen them yet.

• Clarkson will have to face a difficult road trip to Cornell and Colgate without one of its best players. Junior captain Nick Dodge, who leads the team in goals (14) and points (29) won't play in either game due to injury. Freshman Matt Beca has regained his scoring tough, with three goals last week in three games. He was named ECACHL Rookie of the Week.

• Brown junior defenseman Sean Hurley logs lots of minutes for the Bears and is one of the better blueliners in the league. He has a four-game point streak.

• Yale freshmen Sean Backman (19 points) and Mark Arcobello (18 points) lead the Bulldogs in scoring. The last freshman to lead Yale in scoring was Chris Higgins in the 2001-02 campaign.

• Colgate senior forward Marc Fulton said his team is preparing for the end of the season by taking a playoff-type attitude into every weekend.

"We're just focusing on putting things in three-game series. Anybody in this league can win on any given night, and we just take every weekend like a series," Colgate senior Marc Fulton said. "One, It will prepare us for the playoffs, and two, we're not looking too far ahead down the road. We keep focused on what's right in front of us."

A variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report. Joe Gladziszewski can be reached at gladdy@insidecollegehockey.com.