Quinnipiac has caught lightning in a bottle.
The Bobcats have a perfect ECAC record (10-0-0) heading into this weekend’s home games against Rensselaer and Union. They are unbeaten on the road (7-0-1) and 13-0-1 in their last 14 outings.
At 16-3-2 overall, Quinnipiac is ranked No. 5 in the country in the USCHO.com Division 1 poll.
Coach Rand Pecknold said the contributions are coming from everyone, particularly senior goaltender Eric Hartzell (1.45 goals-against average and .935 save percentage).
“We’re having a great year,’’ said Pecknold, who has gotten a lot of leadership out of senior captain Zack Currie. “It’s not any one thing or one player. It’s just a combination of factors.
“Obviously, our goalie has been phenomenal. That’s a big part of hockey. We’ve got a number of players who have stepped up from being kind of role players to big-time guys for us.’’
Pecknold also mentioned senior forwards Clay Harvey, Russ Goodman, and Ben Arnt, who have a combined 31 points.
“They’ve been in my lineup for three years and all of a sudden, they’re not just in the lineup, they’re dominating games, and that’s always nice when you have seniors step up like that,’’ said Pecknold.
In addition to the older players, sophomore defenseman Danny Federico and sophomore forward Bryce Van Brabant are having breakout seasons.
“They were kind of limited role players last year,’’ said Pecknold. “They’ve both blossomed this year into really high-end kids for us. That’s five guys right there who are having big years. And obviously, we can still count on [leading scorer Jeremy] Langlois and the twins [Kellen and Connor Jones] and Matthew Peca to be great like they’ve always been for us.’’
Pecknold said another reason the Bobcats have been able to achieve success is the high level of character on the squad.
“It’s a phenomenal group of guys,’’ he said. “They’re very selfless and willing to make sacrifices to win hockey games. I know it always sounds like that should be easy, but it’s not.
“There are a lot of egos on college hockey teams and a lot of egos at the NHL level. Everybody wants to be the goal scorer, everybody wants to score the points, and sometimes you have to do little things to win hockey games, and I give the guys a lot of credit.
“They really buy into making sacrifices — shot blocking, getting pucks out, taking a hit to make a play. That’s why we’re having the success that we are.’
“I knew we would be good this year. I didn’t think we’d be top-five good. We’re not in that position. I thought we’d be top-20 good.
“So it’s been a little bit of a surprise. We’ve overachieved a little bit. But there’s nothing wrong with that.
“We’re 10-0-0 in a phenomenal league. Should we be 10-0-0? Probably not. But when we’ve had some bumps in the road, Hartzell has been there for us and bailed us out. That’s why you have a great goalie.’’
On Tuesday night, there was a thrilling contest between No. 1 Minnesota and No. 2 Notre Dame, with the Golden Gophers prevailing at home, 4-1. Nate Condon and Sam Warning each had a goal and an assist as Minnesota improved to 14-3-3. It is riding a six-game unbeaten streak (5-0-1) and has one loss in its last 13 games (9-1-3) . . . This week’s key matchup will be No. 3 Boston College (12-3-2) against No. 4 New Hampshire (13-3-2). The teams square off Friday night at Conte Forum and Saturday at the Whittemore Center. BC is atop the Hockey East standings with 19 points, with the Wildcats 2 points back in second place. The Eagles are winless in two games (0-1-1) for the first time this season. Fortunately for them, leading scorer Johnny Gaudreau will be back in the lineup after earning a gold medal for Team USA in the World Junior Championship, but they will be without coach Jerry York, who is recovering from outpatient eye surgery to repair a detached retina. He is expected to miss both games. Associate head coaches Greg Brown and Mike Cavanaugh will take the reins. Having Gaudreau back will certainly help, but until the Eagles get their defensive play squared away, they remain vulnerable.
A for effort
Harvard (5-7-1) made a statement Wednesday night when it battled back from deficits of 3-0 and 5-2 to beat Boston University (11-7-0) in overtime, 6-5, at Agganis Arena. Coach Ted Donato, behind the bench for the ninth season, said even though the results haven’t been there to the degree he and the team have wanted, he is pleased with his players. “This group really believes in itself,’’ said Donato, whose team ended a six-game winless streak. “Things haven’t really gone their way as of late, but it’s a real close group. They really enjoy working hard for each other. Hopefully a win like this allows them to play with some confidence and have some confidence that the puck will go in the net as well. I’m real happy for them. There’s a good feeling in the room. Obviously, BU is a great team and we hope to have a chance to play them in another big game in February [i.e. the Beanpot championship].” . . . Memo to the people in charge of the music at Conte Forum: Did it strike anyone else as extremely distasteful to play “Pumped Up Kicks’’ during the first intermission of Friday’s game between BC and Yale — just three weeks after the Sandy Hook tragedy — and then show little kids on the Jumbotron dancing to it? Please remove it from the playlist.
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.