October 13, 2009 PRINT Bookmark and Share

Team of the Week: Quinnipiac

by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor

Eric Lampe had three goals on the weekend, including the shorthanded game winner on Friday.

Eric Lampe had three goals on the weekend, including the shorthanded game winner on Friday.

Heading into Columbus to start the season against Ohio State, a top-tier CCHA team a year ago, getting two wins would be impressive enough. But doing it with a lineup that included as many as 10 freshmen, including four on defense, was extra impressive for the Quinnipiac Bobcats.

The first night, Quinnipiac overcame a 2-1 third-period deficit by getting two goals in the first minute of the final period — from Eric Lampe and Brandon Wong. For Lampe, it was his second of the game.

Lampe was just getting warmed up. Ohio State came out flying the next night, putting 25 shots against sophomore goalie Dan Clarke in the first period; he stopped 24 of them, and didn't gave up another the rest of the night. Meanwhile, Lampe broke a 1-1 in the third with a shorthanded goal, and the Bobcats had the sweep.

"Lampe was awesome both nights," Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold said, discussing Friday's shorthanded game winner.

"Him and Wong — they don't usually play a lot together, they're our top two centers — but they ended up on a 2-on-2 and made it into a 2-on-1. Lampe went hard to the net, Wong made a really nice play, pulled a 'D' over, then sauced the puck over, and Lampe ripped it under the bar. It was a big-time goal.

"He's our best two-way forward. He's not the type of kid that will end up 50-60 points. But he's as honest as they come, and we couldn't be happier with him."

Quinnipiac had an extra handicap for the weekend. It found out during the previous week that 24-year old senior captain Jean-Marc Beaudoin would not be making the trip, because his wife was about to give birth.

"We found that our Wednesday morning early (that he wouldn't be on the trip). It was a shock with that many freshmen," Pecknold said.

"We played hard. I wouldn't say we played perfect hockey by any means. ... We competed, we battled both nights, we were blocking shots. Whenever we did make mistakes, our competitiveness was at such a high level, we made up for that."

With five years in the ECAC, and 2 1/2 in their new arena under their belt, the Bobcats have been able to expand their recruiting base, and attract higher quality players.

Consequently, this year's recruiting class is perhaps the best its ever had, and certainly the deepest, with 13 incoming freshmen.

"(And) we've been pretty consistent with our winning," Pecknold said. "There's a lot of reasons why players want to come to Quinnipiac."

The unknown of losing quality veterans like Bryan Leitch and David Marshall dropped the Bobcats in the preseason ECAC polls to the bottom tier. Pecknold is confident that won't be the case.

"I think this could be the best year the ECAC has had in a while," Pecknold said. "I think you're going to see a lot of teams do well. There's great recruiting classes (everywhere). But it's crazy when I looked at where we were picked. I chuckled. I'm not sure how good we'll be, but we're not going to be 11th. I don't think a lot of those guys who were voting (in the media poll) knew what our recruiting class was like."

Defensively, the Bobcats had four freshmen. They include: Loren Barron, a California native via the USHL; Zack Currie, plucked out of the BCHL; Zach Davies, also from the BCHL; and Mike Dalhuisen, a native of Holland who played in the USHL.

What helps, despite being freshmen, is that all four are over 20 years old, and two are 21. Another 21-year old, Bobby Tyson, was injured and didn't play; and Dalhuisen was hit hard with a shot in the first game, didn't dress for the second game, but should return this weekend.

"We're just fortunate to have gotten four impact defensemen," Pecknold said. "They needed to work on some things, but we did that in September."

Up front, the recruits include D'Arcy Oakes, a 22-year old freshman who was a top scorer in the BCHL last season; and Jeremy Langlois, who at 19 is the youngest player on the team. Langlois, a native of Tempe, Arizona, got cut from the USHL last year, but wound up being a top scorer in the Eastern Junior League.

The biggest key of all, however, will be the goaltending, of course. Last season, freshman Nick Pisellini was outstanding, among the best goaltenders in the nation. But he had to leave the team for personal reasons just before Christmas and never returned. (He is in the USHL now, has transferred to Western Michigan, closer to home, and will start playing there next year.)

Clarke, a fellow freshman at the time, stepped in, but his save percentage was below .900, not acceptable in this day and age.

His play Friday against Ohio State, however, was stellar, and combined with that of 20-year old freshman Eric Hartzell on Thursday, the Bobcats are feeling pretty good.

"It was a lot of pucks being thrown at the net," Pecknold said about Friday's 25-shot first-period barrage from Ohio State. He was big, taking up a lot of the net, he was on his angles, challenging and confident."

"One, we switched pads. I didn't think the pads were the proper pads — they were ones someone with a different style goaltending would wear," Pecknold said of Clarke's turnaround. "Two, he's more confident — that's a big difference. Third, he spent the summer with Brian McCord, working for him at his goalie schools. He did a really good job cleaning up some areas technically. But it's mainly the confidence."

Consequently, though the season has just begun, all of Quinnipiac is confident right now.

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