Series Record: 14-7-2
Friday, March 15 & Saturday, March 16
November 10, 2012 & Friday, February 8, 2013
The Bobcats took the series from the Big Red, winning at the Bank as well as Lynah by a score of 4-1 during each game. The Bobcats began an unbeaten run, Cornell began a slide, and after the Big Red has righted its path and the Bobcats have taken a few stumbles, they both find themselves meeting in the ECAC quarterfinals.
Quinnipiac has done some things it never had this season. It went on a program-record unbeaten streak, won the regular-season, and earned a first-round bye. Quinnipiac also found itself tying Brown twice, splitting with both Harvard and St. Lawrence, and ending the season's last six games with a 3-2-1 record. Will the Bobcats be the team it was in the beginning of the season, or the team it was at the end of the season?
Keys to the Game:
There is likely little underestimation that will happen on the Big Red's behalf. Quinnipiac is the top team in the league and swept Cornell this season. But the Cornell team that played Quinnipiac was not the same team that showed up at the Bank in November or at Lynah in February. Cornell has found the back of the net, scoring four in six of the last eight games, and the defensive core has been reliable with Andy Iles solid in net. Cornell seems to be clicking during the right time of year.
Cornell will first need to solve Eric Hartzell. Hartzell has been the difference maker in most of Quinnipiac's games, but he has also given up more goals in the stretch than in most of the season. His save percentage since Quinnipiac met Cornell last has included three games under 0.900. Quinnipiac goes into the weekend with the #1 penalty kill in the nation, at 91.7 percent. The last time they gave up power-play goals was against Yale. Yale's two goals against were on the power play. Interestingly, Cornell has a better power-play percentage than Quinnipiac in terms of percent conversion. So while allowing Quinnipiac power-play opportunities may not seem dangerous statistically, the Big Red will need to limit its penalty opportunities. This weekend, Cornell only allowed its opponent to draw four penalties. Cornell will need to remain calm, confident, and cognizant.
This team is more than capable of beating Quinnipiac. Cornell is clicking on all cylinders and is a better team than its statistics suggest. Quinnipiac has never had a first-round bye, so it will be interesting to see how they react to it. Will they have trained too much? Not enough? It is yet to be seen. Whether in a sweep or a three-game grudge match, it will be a sight to be seen.
The post-season has an interesting history for the Bobcats. For the fourteen years that Quinnipiac has been a Division I program, it has played in three different conferences. It spent seven years in the MAAC and Atlantic Hockey and seven in the ECAC. The playoff series of the MAAC and Atlantic Hockey conferences, when Quinnipiac was a part of them, were single-game elimination series. There was no "first round" and it only took three games to win the entire conference. Quinnipiac's record in the entire tournament over seven years was 11-6-0, however, it only won the conference once in spite of four trips to the tournament championship game. Funnily enough, it met Mercyhurst in every game it played there.
In terms of ECAC tournaments, a different beast than the now-defunct MAAC and AHA, Quinnipiac has had a different experience. This is the first year that Quinnipiac has not had to play in the first round. It is important to note that it will be interesting to see what sort of effect having the week off will have. Quinnipiac has advanced to the quarterfinal round seven times, the semifinals once, and the finals once. Quinnipiac has not made the NCAA tournament since 2002, a game they lost to Cornell.
When looking further into Quinnipiac's quarterfinal record, it has advanced only one time from the quarterfinal round. Five of the seven series have gone to three games. All five of those series went to opponents of the Bobcats. The Bobcats have never won a game three. The two sweeps are a split, with Quinnipiac sweeping once and being swept once. The record in terms of games for the Bobcats is 7-12, which is a winning percentage of 0.368.
For some pre-game entertainment, please skip to 15:34. We can't help but agree with Jordan.