Transitioning to a new league can be tough, but imagine trying to make that transition having just lost 10 seniors to graduation. That’s the challenge that awaits Rand Pecknold and the Quinnipiac Bobcats in their inaugural run in the ECAC.
“We don’t know how we’re going to do in the league, and we’re going to have to make adjustments on the fly,” Pecknold said. “We need to get ready to play 11 new league members.”
“The other teams only need to get ready to play us, so we’re at a disadvantage,” he added. “This year is a big transition and adjustment year for us.”
Even with the needed adjustments and the disadvantage of having to prepare for 11 unfamiliar opponents, Pecknold is not without weapons as he makes the transition to the ECAC.
Junior defenseman Reid Cashman is the best newcomer in the ECAC, and he isn’t even a freshman. He was a Hobey Baker finalist a year ago, and has all the offensive ability that title implies; he scored 45 points on 13 goals (including five power-play goals) and 32 assists.
“Reid Cashman is a special player,” said Pecknold. “He does everything. He’s phenomenal on the power play; he’s just a special player.”
In addition to being named a Hobey Baker finalist, Cashman led the nation in scoring from the blue line, and led all of Atlantic Hockey in scoring. What is particularly impressive about Cashman’s numbers is the jump in goals between his freshman (two goals) and sophomore seasons (13).
Complementing Cashman along the forward lines are sophomores Ben Nelson, a dynamic forward who potted 18 goals and 10 assists a year ago, and Mark Van Vliet, who tallied 19 points as a rookie.
Pecknold and the Bobcats will need similarly strong production from Cashman and Nelson to stay competitive in their inaugural season in the ECAC. In addition, Quinnipiac’s nonconference schedule includes a pair of games in the hostile confines of Yost Ice Arena against Michigan, a home-and-home series against familiar Atlantic Hockey foe American International, and CHA tussles with Robert Morris and Niagara.