This Week in ECAC Hockey: Petruzzelli putting Quinnipiac on back with three consecutive shutouts, ‘building that trust’

Detroit prospect Keith Petruzzelli is Quinnipiac’s No. 1 goalie this season as a senior (photo: Rob Rasmussen).

It’s been a long line of zeroes lately for Quinnipiac and goalie Keith Petruzzelli.

Petruzzelli and the Bobcats shut out Colgate 3-0 Saturday, extending the senior’s shutout streak to three games. He’s the second goalie in program history to record three consecutive shutouts, joining Michael Garteig, who accomplished the feat in 2015.

“I think he’s locked in right now,” Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said. “He’s seeing the puck well, he’s moving well, and he’s controlling his rebounds. His compete level has been excellent. We’ve been playing well in front of him too. The PK has gotten better as we’ve gotten more reps.”

Petruzzelli has started all 15 games for the Bobcats this season and already has a career-high four shutouts to go along with a .930 save percentage. He hasn’t allowed a goal over his last 198:27, a mark that is second in program history to Garteig’s 209:31.

“The boys have been great, blocking shots and selling out,” said Petruzzelli, who was named the league’s player and goalie of the week. “They’re making my job easy.”

Petruzzelli has been a rock lately for a Quinnipiac defense that has no seniors and five underclassmen that have seen playing time this season. There have been some bumps – Quinnipiac allowed 12 goals in the three games prior to the current shutout streak – but the defense has improved as the season has progressed.

“We are young on the backend, but [we’ve] just been building that trust and levels of communication,” Petruzzelli said.

However, it took some time for Petruzzelli to establish himself. He came to Quinnipiac as an eighteen-year-old freshman and split time with Andrew Shortridge during his first two seasons.

Shortridge gave up his senior season to sign with San Jose in the spring of 2019, and it’s been Petruzzelli’s job ever since. He came on strong in the second half of last season, as the Bobcats lost only four games after November prior to the season shutting down in March.

Quinnipiac added his potential replacement in goal next season this week, as the program announced the addition of Yaniv Perets for the second semester. Perets played in 10 games for the BCHL’s Penticton Vees this fall, posting a .931 save percentage and two shutouts before the season was paused due to COVID-19.

The unusual schedule this season means that some weekends teams will a “three-in-three” setup, common in pro hockey, but virtually unheard of in college. That’s the case this weekend when Quinnipiac travels to Clarkson for games Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. While Perets gives the Bobcats a valuable insurance policy, it should be Petruzzelli in net the majority of the time, even with the busy schedule.

“I think I’m at my best when I’m playing a lot of games,” he said. “It’s just about taking the time you need [this] week before the road trip to Clarkson to make sure you’re prepared and by the time you get up there, you’re feeling good.”

Rookies making an impact

It can take some players a while to make the transition from juniors to college hockey.

And that’s without factoring in the unusual offseason caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

But all four ECAC teams playing this season have already gotten important contributions from their freshman class through the first few weeks of the conference schedule.

Clarkson (Alex Campbell) and Colgate (Alex Young) each have a freshman as their leading point scorer, while Quinnipiac freshman Ty Smilanic leads the team with ten goals and is one of four players in the nation with double-digit goals.

St. Lawrence’s Nicholas Trela and Greg Lapointe are tied for the team lead in goals, while Luc Salem’s first collegiate goal was the overtime winner Friday against Clarkson.

Clarkson and Colgate have leaned on freshmen in goal, as the Knights’ Ethan Haider and the Raiders’ Carter Gylander lead their teams in minutes played.

Familiar faces

In November, eight of the league’s schools announced their plans to not play this season. That announcement was followed by a flurry of transfers, as players at those schools scrambled to get a chance to play this season.

Here’s an update on those former ECAC Hockey players who have seen action thus far for their new teams:

Tristen Mullin (Vermont) – Set to be Cornell’s captain prior to the Big Red cancelling their season, Mullin was third on the Catamounts in scoring before the school paused team activities last week due to COVID-19.

Jack St. Ivany (Boston College) – The former Yale defenseman and current Philadelphia draft pick has two assists in four games for the Eagles.

Owen Savory (UMass Lowell) – One of the league’s top goalies last season while with RPI, Savory has only seen action once in relief so far for the River Hawks.

Joseph Campolieto (Boston University) and Jack Adams (Providence) – The former Dutchmen teammates are both in Hockey East this season, where Campolieto has played in all four of the Terriers’ games, while Adams has played in three games for the Friars.

Corbin Kaczperski (Denver) – The former Yale goalie has a 2-0-1 record in five games for the Pioneers this season.

Carson Gicewicz (Massachusetts) – Gicewicz is the only player on this list whose team didn’t cancel its season. The former St. Lawrence forward was granted an extra season of eligibility and announced in April that he was joining former Saints coach Greg Carvel at UMass. It’s been a good match so far, as Gicewicz has a team-leading 10 goals for the 9-5-1 Minutemen.

Around the league

St. Lawrence’s overtime win against Clarkson on Friday snapped a five-game winning streak for the Golden Knights in the rivalry matchup. Clarkson rebounded the next night with a 2-1 win over the Saints.

Smilanic was named the league’s rookie of the week after scoring two goals Sunday against Colgate. The two goals Sunday came after Smilanic didn’t have a great game Friday against the Raiders.

“I got on him a little bit, and to his credit, he responded,” Pecknold said.