Since you’ve been gone

The winter sports teams began the second halves of their seasons over winter break. Our beat writers broke down what you may have missed.

By on January 27, 2016

Men’s ice hockey 

The Quinnipiac men’s ice hockey team fell just short of an undefeated first half to its season after losing a 4-1 game to No. 12 Boston University on Dec. 12. Although the Bobcats stumbled into their break with a loss, Quinnipiac kicked off the second half of its season with its usual winning ways.

The team came off of its break with back-to-back wins over Princeton on Dec. 29 and 30, dominating the first game at Princeton 6-0 before winning a closer 4-3 affair in Hamden. But outside of a 5-0 home victory over Union on Jan. 7, the rest of Quinnipiac’s games since the Princeton series have been determined by late Quinnipiac goals.

nick mens hckyNick Solari | The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Bobcats needed a power play goal from Sam Anas with 2:46 left in the 3rd period to tie Northeastern on Jan. 2. Thomas Aldworth put in a power play goal with 46 seconds left to tie Maine 3-3 on Jan. 19. In its latest game, the team avenged a 2-0 third period deficit against Rensselaer as Anas put in his team-leading 15th goal with 9.4 seconds left to tie (see page 10).

The highlight of the Bobcats’ second half of the season thus far came on Jan. 9 in a battle against Harvard at Madison Square Garden. The Crimson erased a 4-0 first period deficit to force overtime, but Derek Smith put in his third goal of the season midway through overtime to win Quinnipiac the 5-0 game.

The Bobcats reached the top spot in the USCHO.com poll on Jan. 18 after already attaining the rank in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Men’s Poll and Pairwise rankings. The team returns to the ice on Jan. 29 at Dartmouth. – Max Molski

Women’s ice hockey

After a majority of the student body left for home over winter break, Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey posted a 6-0-1 record. The Bobcats are ranked No. 4 nationally in the most recent USCHO.com poll. The Bobcats have now gone a program record 18-straight games without being defeated, with their only loss of the year coming on Halloween against rival Yale.

The major driving force during the unbeaten run has been goalie Sydney Rossman and the Bobcats smothering defense. Rossman allowed as many goals as she has registered shutouts in their previous seven games, having four of both.

Another major key for Quinnipiac during its latest hot streak has been the awakening of its offense, with players like Taylar Cianfarano and Melissa Samoskevich leading the way.

Cianfarano continued to show her scoring prowess, registering nine points (five goals, four assists) over her last seven games. Nicole Connery has also contributed eight points (four goals, four assists) and defender Kristen Tamberg has six points (one goal, five assists).

Despite the hot run of form, the Bobcats will now prepare for their biggest challenge of the season when they travel to play rival Harvard on Jan. 29. The Bobcats edged the Crimson 2-1 in overtime the last time the teams met, for Quinnipiac’s first win over the Crimson since Nov. 12, 2010. Harvard eliminated the Bobcats from both the ECAC and the NCAA Tournaments last season, so this game will a big test if the Bobcats hope to continue the success they’ve experienced the first half of the season. – Jordan Novack

Men’s basketball 

Quinnipiac men’s basketball struggled to win games over the winter break between semesters. During the six-week break, the Bobcats lost seven of eight games and now hold a 5-12 record (2-6 MAAC).

“We are not playing a disciplined and tough offense in the game where it is required,” Quinnipiac head coach Tom Moore said after a loss against Siena on Jan. 15. “That’s something where I believe these guys will improve.”

Quinnipiac started the break by traveling to Oregon St. in a rematch of last season’s win over Gary Payton II and the Beavers. However, the Bobcats were unable to do it again as they fell, 82-68.

Quinnipiac would go on to lose a high-scoring contest at Maine. Freshman forward Abdulai Bundu had a breakout game in which he totaled 23 points and 15 rebounds in the 98-95 loss.

The Bobcats then fell to Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference powerhouse Iona at home 78-66. Quinnipiac kept the score close in the first half, but the offense struggled in the second half of the contest.

The Bobcats were able to bounce back and earn a 64-60 home win over MAAC foe Rider. Senior guard Giovanni McLean and junior forward Donovan Smith both totaled 15 points in the win.

Quinnipiac was unable to maintain a winning-streak when they traveled and lost to Monmouth, the top team in the MAAC. Despite losing the contest 88-74, Bobcats forward Chaise Daniels returned to action after missing the previous seven contests due to a knee injury.

Quinnipiac went on to lose three more games in a row after falling to Siena, Canisius and Rider.

“We’re playing like a 5-10 team right now,” Moore said after the Siena game. “Every game is important for standings and positioning for the MAAC tournament. We are not used to being 5-10 at Quinnipiac. I don’t want that becoming part of the fabric or being accepted by anyone that’s part of the program.”

The Bobcats will look to snap their four-game losing streak on Thursday, as they play host to Monmouth. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. – Tyrell Walden-Martin

Women’s basketball 

After the first 12 games of the season, Quinnipiac women’s basketball posted a lackluster 5-7 record, including a 0-3 start in Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference play.

The Bobcats have not lost since, collecting six straight victories. Among those victories was a 94-52 home blowout of the Siena Saints (8-2), who are currently placed atop the MAAC standings.

The team has improved in two areas in particular: discipline and team defense.

While the Bobcats would like to reduce all turnovers, they’re winning the turnover battle. Quinnipiac has forced an average of 18.6 turnovers during the winning streak while committing 13.8.

Specifically, Quinnipiac has stolen the show on defense, forcing an average of eight steals per game.

Junior guard Adily Martucci currently leads the Bobcats with 25 steals. Trailing Martucci are Carly Fabbri (21), Maria Napolitano (20) and Aryn McClure (19).

The Bobcats have also converted second chance point opportunities by out-rebounding opponents. Quinnipiac has averaged 36.3 rebounds during the streak while limiting the opposition to 28.1 boards per game.

Quinnipiac’s freshman pair of Mcclure (6.4) and Paula Strautmane (5.3) currently lead the team in rebounds.

While the Quinnipiac offense is still finding its way, the Bobcats offered glimpses of the potential the offense possesses in three of the six wins.

Napolitano leads the offensive front, averaging 11.6 points per game. But, the rest of the scoring is spread out, with all but three Bobcats averaging no less than 5.1 points per game.

Head coach Tricia Fabbri says she can sense the team’s mindset shifting.

“The team is getting confidence,” Fabbri said. “Individual players are getting confidence and it is good to see this time in January.”

Quinnipiac will try to split with Monmouth on Thursday evening at the TD Bank Sports Center, where the team is 6-1 on the season. – Michael Hewitt

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