No. 7 Quinnipiac at No. 9 Colgate: ECAC game of the week

Bobcats face a tough test in Hamilton

Who: SB Nation No. 7 Quinnipiac (15-5-4 overall; 8-3-2 in ECAC) at No. 9 Colgate (15-3-3 overall; 6-2-1 in ECAC)

When: Friday, Jan. 13, 2017

Where: Class of 1965 Arena, Hamilton, NY

How to Watch:

The Skinny

This marks the second week in a row that the Raiders rank GOTW honors. Last week’s matchup against struggling St. Cloud State did not go so well for Colgate; they only managed to bring home one point in two games, a series that included a 7-4 drubbing by the Huskies on Friday. Pushed out of the ECAC top four by an ascendant Princeton, a victory over the Bobcats could go a long way for the Raiders’ tournament hopes.

Colgate is a balanced team, ranked 10th nationally in team offense (3.24 GPG) and 11th in team defense (2.00 GA per game). The Raiders really make their hay on the power play; they are converting at better than 20% and have killed off all but five power plays all year (76 of 81 - 93.8%).

Quinnipiac came out of the holiday break flat, too, tying Harvard 2-2 at home on Friday. The Bobcats bounced back on Saturday, knocking off Dartmouth 3-1. Quinnipiac got the better of the Raiders in their first matchup back in November, beating Colgate 3-1 in Hamden. Kenzie Lancaster had two goals in that game, and backup goaltender Abbie Ives only faced 19 shots in the win.

The Bobcats have ridden a solid defense all year, sitting third nationally (1.42 GA per game). Senior goaltender Sydney Rossman anchors the D; she sits seventh in the country with a 1.53 GAA. Offensively, the Bobcats struggle at times, only averaging 2.67 GPG — good enough for 15th nationally, but well behind the other top teams in the conference. Quinnipiac is no slouch on the power play, sitting fourth nationally (right behind Colgate) converting at 19.32%. They struggle on the kill, though (84%), which does not bode well against the Raiders.

Quinnipiac Players to Watch

# 18 - Emma Woods, F

The Bobcats’ senior captain is second on the team, with 18 points and nine goals. Woods led the team last year in both face-offs won (335) and led all forwards in blocked shots (21). An All-ECAC Third Team honoree last season, Woods and the Bobcats offense need to get going if Quinnipiac wants to make a deep run this year.

# 22  - Taylar Cianfarano, F

Cianfarano leads the team in both points (19) and goals (11). The 2015-16 ECAC Player of the Year, she is on a three-game points drought and has only scored one goal in her past 10 games. With opposing defenses locked in on stopping Cianfarano, Woods and sophomore forward Melissa Samoskevich will need pick up some of the scoring load.

Colgate Players to Watch

# 9 - Jessie Eldridge, F

Eldridge has been an offensive force all year; her 29 points are fourth in the ECAC, and she’s tied for the conference lead in assists with 20. She went pointless over the weekend, but before the holiday she was on a roll, notching seven points in four games prior to the break.

#33 - Julia Vandyk, G

For as good as she’s been all year, Vandyk had a rough day at the office last Friday in St. Cloud, giving up seven goals to the Huskies. The shelling brought her GAA to 1.88, up from 1.57. She had the day off last Saturday when the Raiders salvaged a scoreless tie against St. Cloud State, so Friday’s game will her first game back after the shellacking.

The Pick

Quinnipiac have fared better on the road than at home all year, both offensively (3.08 GPG on the road versus 2.25 GPG on home ice) and defensively (0.82 GA per game on the road, 1.88 GA per game at home). With high profile road games coming up in February, against St. Lawrence and Clarkson, this is a prime chance for the Bobcats to grab a solid road victory.

The Raiders have not lost a game in Hamilton this season. Six points out of first, and four points behind third place Princeton and St. Lawrence, Colgate really needs a win or risks slipping even further behind the conference leaders. Quinnipiac’s weakness on the penalty kill favors Colgate, and Vandyk bounces back from the nightmare in St. Cloud, but this one ends in a 2-2 draw.

Pick Record for the Season: 5-2-3