Men’s ice hockey enters pivotal two-game stretch

By on February 22, 2012

Currently sixth in the conference, the Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team is preparing to make a deep playoff run.

“I think we played pretty well this season,” senior defenseman Mike Glaicar said. “This year is a little different than others.”

The Bobcats, who have cracked the top-20 rankings a few times this season, have seen an immediate impact on the ice when former Quinnipiac defenseman Reid Cashman came in as an assistant coach.

Cashman, a former Bobcat, was hired by head coach Rand Pecknold after former assistant coach Ben Syer left for a job at Cornell. Cashman was ranked as one of the top 50 greatest hockey players to ever play in the ECAC.

“Cash has had a great impact,” senior captain Scott Zurevinski said. “He’s brought our defensive players closer.”

At this point, the Bobcats trail fifth-place Harvard by one point and fourth-place Clarkson by two points. In first place with 30 points stands Union, followed by Cornell with 28.

With two games remaining in the season, Quinnipiac could reach third in the conference if they win out while the other teams ahead lose every game.

The rules for the ECAC playoffs allow each team to make the playoffs, the top four teams get a first-round bye. With Quinnipiac currently ranked sixth, the Bobcats would host a first-round series against a bottom-ranked team in the conference.

The first round is a best-of-three series, so Quinnipiac has to win two games in the first round to advance to the quarterfinals.

The Bobcats aim to focus on their strengths on the offensive end with Kellen Jones’ team-leading 31 points. They also continue to focus on the penalty kill, which they are third in the nation.

With the playoffs and matchup against Yale on the horizon, what the Bobcats may be most confident in is their ability to come from behind.

“As of last weekend, I think we’re really resilient,” Zurevinski said. “We got down both nights down 4-0 to St. Lawrence and a lot of teams wouldn’t come back but we did. We were down by multiple goals against Clarkson and we fought back.”

Pecknold still sees plenty of room for improvement for this team.

“We need to stay sharp,” said head coach Rand Pecknold. “Everything needs to get better and we need to keep improving as a team.”

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