New Schedule means new oppurtunities for Bobcats

New schedule means new oppurtunities for Bobcats
by Seth Rothman
June 14, 2007

Some say the season begins when the team takes the ice for the first time.

Some say the season begins when the team takes the ice against an opponent for the first time.

Some, however, say it begins when the new schedule is released.

For the Quinnipiac Men’s Ice Hockey team, today is that day. Coach Rand Pecknold has revealed the team’s 36-game schedule that they hope will take them to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in the team’s Division I history.

After the dissapointment of last year’s loss vs. Clarkson in the ECAC Hockey League Championship Game, the Bobcats enter the new campaign as one of the pre-season favorites to win the conference newly named ECAC Hockey.

For the first time since the 2003-2004 season when they opened the season with the now-defunct Quinnipiac Cup, the Bobcats will open up at home. This year, the opener is against former Atlantic Hockey foe Bentley at the TD Banknorth Sports Center on October 16.

After their non-conference game against the Falcons, Quinnipiac will make its’ lone plane flight trip of the season. In previous years, the team has flown to Colorado College, Michigan, and North Dakota. This year, the Bobcats will play a 2 game series at the Air Force Academy in Colorado.

While the opponent might be a let-down for some, the opponent’s resume should not be. Last year, Air Force won the Atlantic Hockey Championship and went to the NCAA Tournament where they nearly defeated Minnesota in the tournament’s first round.

After a game against AIC, Quinnipiac starts its ECAC Hockey schedule in Central New York. After beating Cornell in the ECAC Quarterfinals last year, the Big Red will be looking for some revenge. They will get it in the second ECAC game for both teams on November 3rd.

After travelling to Lynah Rink, the Bobcats will come home for a 3 game homestand. They will have 2 of those in the month of November in Hamden, and this one is a ECAC Hockey homestand.

But it won’t be easy.

The Bobcats will face off against the team universally thought of as the favorite to win the conference in Clarkson, and the team Quinnipiac beat to reach the Championship game last year in Saint Lawrence.

It is here the schedule goes off-roading a little bit.

Three consecutive games against ECAC Hockey travel partner Princeton in 7 days.

The first will be called a non-conference game, played in Hamden. The second two are the annual ECAC Hockey in-conference matchups between the two teams. All three will be played between November 17 and November 24.

After a series against the Capital District in Hamden, the Bobcats travel to Robert Morris for the back end of a home and home series that was started last year. 

After the break for finals that starts on December 9 after the Robert Morris series, the Bobcats are back in action in Vermont 2 days before the calender turns over into 2008. They will play Western Michigan in 1 game of the Sheraton/TD Banknorth Catamount Cup at the University of Vermont on December 29. They will either play Vermont or Holy Cross on December 30.

 The other non-conference games for Quinnipiac include Holy Cross in Worcester on January 19, and Niagara in Hamden on January 25th and 26. This is the 3rd consecutive year the Bobcats and Purple Eagles will face off, with Niagara winning 3 of the 4 previous encounters, including a sweep last year near the US/Canada border.

The Yale series is back as part of the ECAC Hockey schedule. Quinnipiac goes to Ingalls Rink in New Haven on January 12, while Yale makes the return trip to Hamden on February 8.

The Bobcats will end the regular season with what is annually described as the toughest road trip in the conference. A trip up to the North Country awaits Quinnipiac as February turns to March. First St. Lawrence, then Clarkson to end the regular season.

“We’re excited about our schedule for the upcoming season,” Pecknold said. “We’ve assembled a strong non-conference schedule to complement what will be another highly competitive year in ECAC Hockey.”

A highly competitive year that the Bobcats hope will lead them through the ECAC Hockey final four and into the NCAA Tournament.

But for now, all that’s left is the conjecture that happens at the start of a new season.

A new season that we now know the opening day of.

October 16, 2007.

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