November 2, 2011

ECAC Hockey Journal: Quinnipiac's fight for respect continues

By Dan Guttenplan

Scott Zurevinski is aware of the ECAC Hockey polls. 

Quinnipiac senior forward Scott Zurevinski (photo: Quinnipiac Sports Communications)

Quinnipiac senior forward Scott Zurevinski (photo: Quinnipiac Sports Communications)

For those breaking down the conference, Yale and Union are often at the top of the list, with Cornell and Colgate trailing in no particular order.

Zurevinski, a senior captain at Quinnipiac, doesn't feel slighted ... yet.

"We talk about that being a good thing," Zurevinski said. "It's low pressure. We get overlooked sometimes because supposedly we don't have as much talent as other ECAC teams. That fuels the fire."

Quinnipiac made the most noise among ECAC teams during its non-league schedule in October. The Bobcats are 7-2 after winning at Princeton Tuesday night and have outscored opponents by a count of 40-18.

It's a far cry from a team that included 18 freshmen and sophomores, and finished 16-15-8 last season. It was a season not unlike many others for Quinnipiac since it joined ECAC Hockey in 2005 -- respectable, but not spectacular.

The Bobcats have never won the ECAC or qualified for an NCAA tournament since 2005. Among the 12 league squads, the Bobcats typically finish in the middle group of four teams in the standings.

"Being a Quinnipiac player, I'm very aware that we haven't won the ECAC tournament or been to the tourney," Zurevinski said. "That's definitely the goal."

The Bobcats have shown they will be led by a group of players who have yet to experience the team's ECAC struggles. Sophomore Jeremy Langlois, the team's leading scorer with eight goals in eight games, was not around in 2009-10, when the team started 12-1 but then bottomed out, winning just eight of its final 26 games.

Freshman Matthew Peca, who has already earned ECAC Rookie of the Week honors, wasn't on last year's team, which fell to Cornell in overtime in the ECAC tournament.

"The biggest difference in our room is that we've gone from a young team to a veteran team without carrying much baggage," Zurevinski said. "We have sophomores in the lineup all over the place, and the guys are willing to work."

Heading into league play in November, Quinnipiac appears to have established a slogan for the 2011-2012 season: Ignore your history.

Game of the Week

Cornell at Yale, Friday

It's a rematch of last year's ECAC Hockey championship, a game that the Bulldogs won 6-0. Under coach Keith Allain (Worcester, Mass.), Yale is 8-3-3 against Cornell with two shutouts.

The game will be aired live on the CBS Sports Network.

ECAC power ratings

1. Yale (1-0-1): Goaltender Jeff Malcolm stopped 55 of 58 shots in two games at the Ivy Shootout.

2. Union (3-1-3): Outshot UNH 38-23 in a 2-1 overtime loss on Friday.

3. Colgate (4-2-1): Played the most entertaining game of year in ECAC, a 7-6 overtime win over Niagara.

4. Quinnipiac (7-2): The Bobcats have scored four or more goals in eight of nine games.

5. Cornell (0-1): After a quiet October, the Big Red have road tilts at Yale, Brown, Harvard and Dartmouth in a span of eight days.

6. Clarkson (5-1-2): Unbeaten in their last six games.

7. Dartmouth (1-1): Big Green are 0-for-9 on the power play in two games.

8. Brown (1-1-0): Bumps up a few spots in the ranking after beating Princeton in the Ivy Shootout.

9. Princeton (0-1-1): Tigers have a nice feather in their cap with a tie against Yale in Ivy Shootout.

10. Harvard (0-0): Think Harvard will be ready to drop the puck for its opener Friday against Princeton? Crimson are last ECAC team to play a game that counts.

11. RPI (1-6): Has scored a total of five goals in seven games.

12. St. Lawrence (0-4): Will be looking for its first win this weekend with home tilts against Union and RPI.

Dan Guttenplan can be reached at feedback@hockeyjournal.com.