Season Preview

College Hockey:
Young Quinnipiac hopes to rise from the middle

The “Kid Corps” at Quinnipiac avoided a total disaster in 2010-11. Considering only one senior (defenseman Zach Hanson) played more than four games, a 6-9-7 record in ECAC play is not so bad.

Bobcats coach Rand Pecknold believes in his young team, which will have four seniors who saw significant time last year. A junior class of 10 dominates the roster, and includes leading goal-scorer Jeremy Langlois (18 last year).

“With 18 freshmen and sophomores, that inexperience at times hurt us. We lost some close games,” said Pecknold. “I’m not sure how much better we’ll be, but we will be better. Last year, our issue was scoring goals. We just couldn’t finish at times, but we do have kids with a good track record of putting points up.”

Scott Zurevinski enters 2011-12 as the team captain after leading the Bobcats in scoring last year (14 goals and 25 points in 39 games).

“He had a solid year [in the regular season] and then he was awesome in the playoffs,” said Pecknold. “He has the ability to be a dominant power forward at this point.”

Langlois and the Jones twins (Kellen and Connor) will also be expected to lead the team offensively.

“Langlois is a great player, and the Jones twins generated something every shift,” Pecknold said. “I’ve seen it already this year. They just look better.”

He’s also expecting an offensive boost from a strong recruiting class including Matthew Peca, who scored 119 points in 120 career games in the Central Junior Hockey League and helped the Pembroke Lumber Kings win the Canadian Junior A national championship.

In net, Eric Hartzell uses his 6-foot-4 frame to great success. He had a dominant year in 2011-12, taking third in the league in save percentage (.927).

“He has great feet, he moves well, he works hard every day in practice,” said Pecknold. “I believe Dan Clarke will have a bounce-back year in net.”

The Bobcats also welcome NHL veteran Steve Valiquette as their goaltending coach and former Hobey Baker Award candidate for Quinnipiac, Reid Cashman, as an assistant coach.

About the Bobcats

2010-11 overall record: 16-15-8

2010-11 ECAC record: 6-9-7 (tied for seventh)

2011-12 predicted finish (coaches poll): Sixth

Key losses: D Zach Hansen

Players to watch: Senior F Scott Zurevinski, junior F Jeremy Langlois, sophomore F Connor Jones, sophomore F Kellen Jones, junior D Loren Barron, senior G Eric Hartzell

Impact rookie: F Matthew Peca

Why the Bobcats will finish higher than the coaches poll: Hartzell will have an even better year than last year; another year of experience for a young team will work wonders, offensively.

Why the Bobcats will finish lower than the coaches poll: There’s “energetic” youth and then there’s a lack of experience, and the Bobcats are still young and finding their way.

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