All-division preview: No. T9 Quinnipiac hopes to channel early season success
With just two games remaining, Quinnipiac has the power to control its own destiny this weekend as three points or better would guarantee the Bobcats the No. 4 seed and home ice in the ECAC Hockey quarterfinals. In order to get three or four points, the Bobcats will need to do something they haven't done since early November and that's come away with an undefeated weekend on the road.
The good news for the Bobcats is they've already had great success against their weekend opponents this season as they shutout Colgate back on Nov. 1, 6-0, and controlled play against the then-No. 3 ranked Cornell with the game ending in a 1-1 tie. With the Bobcats guaranteed at least the No. 5 seed, every point will be crucial in them trying to get back to the High Point Solutions Arena where they have already finished with their best home record in program history (12-2-5).
Cornell has long been a thorn in the Bobcats' side as Quinnipiac is only 4-11-6 in their all-time series history. The Big Red have dispatched the Bobcats in two of their four all-time postseason appearances and have reeled off a 15-game unbeaten streak (10-0-4) playing Quinnipiac including their last meeting on Feb. 8.
Cornell's lethal offensive attack is the third-highest scoring unit in the country at 3.70 goals per game while its defense has been a little shakier at 2.04 goals allowed per game (10th in NCAA). Cornell also own the most efficient power play in the conference (third in NCAA) as the Big Red are firing at 24.2 percent (30-for-124) on the season while their penalty kill ranks fifth in the nation at 90.9 percent (120-for-132). Cornell joins Minnesota and Wisconsin as the only three teams in the country to rank in the top five of both power play and penalty kill.
Despite owning a losing record all-time against Colgate at 8-14-3, the Bobcats are riding a six-game winning streak against the Raiders.Taylor Volpe leads the team with 11 goals to go along with seven assists for 18 points while defenseman Nicole Gass has compiled a team-leading 15 assists on the year. Jocelyn Simpson (6-8-14), Taylor Craig (5-8-13), Melissa Kueber (7-5-12), Rachel Walsh (5-7-12) and Megan Wickens (4-8-12) all come in with more-than-respectable offensive numbers. One of the best strengths for this Colgate squad is its penalty kill as it come in with the seventh-best penalty killing unit in the nation coming in at 86.9 percent (119-for-137).
Mercyhurst, which locked up its 14th 20-win season in 15 years, is 10-0-0 all time against Lindenwood. ... Robert Morris has a 6-0-0 record all time against Penn State, including a pair of wins earlier this season. ... Jamie Lee Rattray's nation-best 51 points for Clarkson have been pretty evenly split (26 goals, 25 assists). ... Harvard needs to beat Yale and Brown this weekend to guarantee at least being co-Ivy League champs (with Cornell). ... If North Dakota gets a agame-winning goal against Ohio State, chances are Josefine Jakobsen will score it as her five game-winning goals is second most in the nation. ... Minnesota has won eight in a row (including two earlier this season) and 11 of 12 against Minnesota-Duluth.
Elmira has not given up a power-play goal in its past 10 games. ... Norwich is the only ranked team to begin conference tournament play this weekend, facing New England College in the ECAC East quarterfinals. ...Wisconsin-River Falls would be the Wisconsin Intercolliegiate Athletic Conference regular-season champs by beating Wisconsin-Eau Claire on the road on Saturday.