Quinnipiac almost halfway there

Don’t look now, but Quinnipiac is almost halfway to last season’s 21-game unbeaten streak.

The Bobcats beat Brown Friday before salvaging a 3-3 tie in a national championship rematch with Yale on Saturday. Quinnipiac is riding a ten-game unbeaten stretch since losing its opener Oct. 11, and is now 9-1-1.

It was a year ago this weekend that QU’s aforementioned 21-game unbeaten stretch began with a 3-2 overtime win over Colgate. The Bobcats were 3-3-1 last season before beating the Raiders in overtime, but have gone 36-6-5 over the last calendar year, including the NCAA tournament.

There are plenty of familiar faces from last year’s national runner-up team – Connor and Kellen Jones, Matthew Peca, Jordan Samuels- Thomas, and Danny Federico are all back. But the Bobcats have gotten plenty of contributions from several freshman, most notably leading scorer Sam Anas and defensemen  Derek Smith and Devon Toews.  Sophomore Michael Garteig has played every minute in goal after sitting behind Eric Hartzell last year. In fact, it was Garteig who started the final game before QU’s 21-game streak last season, a 2-1 loss to American International last Nov. 6.

Quinnipiac hosts a pair of struggling teams in Harvard and Dartmouth this weekend, and then has a home-and-home series with travel partner Princeton the next weekend.

I had the Bobcats sixth in my preseason ballot, but that’s quickly looking like an error on my part. Look for Quinnipiac, as well as Yale, to be in the mix come NCAA tournament time.

Big Green trying to get on track

On the opposite end of the spectrum from is Dartmouth, who fell to 0-6 with a pair of losses over the weekend. Dartmouth is outshooting their opponents by an average of 30-28 per game, but are giving up 5.5 goals per game, last in the country.  No one among the trio of Cab Morris, James Kruger or Charles Grant has posted a save percentage above .850.  The Big Green got some bad news this week, as senior forward Eric Robinson was injured during practice and is out for the season.

Dartmouth was the last unbeaten team last season, and had a shot at a first-round bye deep into the year. There’s talent in Hanover, but the Big Green will need to turn it around quickly, especially given the shorter schedule played by Ivy teams.  They’ve been in all but two of their games, so if they can straighten out the defense, things could start going Dartmouth’s way.

North Country duo keeps on rolling

They’ve been doing it in different ways, but Clarkson and St. Lawrence have been two of the league’s better teams in the early going.  The Golden Knights matched their win total from last season with a 2-1 win at Harvard Saturday. That gave Clarkson six wins in one-goal games, after losing seven one-goal contests last season.  A big reason for the Golden Knights turnaround has been an improved defense, as well as the play of goalies Steve Perry and Greg Lewis.

Meanwhile, the Saints have been simply outslugging their opponents, averaging four goals thus far. Senior Greg Carey has 19 points in ten games, while freshman and younger brother Matt leads the team with seven goals.  Freshman Gavin Bayreuther has a rocket shot from the blueline, while veterans Jeremy Wick and Chris Martin have made contributions as well.

These teams meet for a home-and-home series on Dec. 6 and 7.