Coaches, Media have faith in Bobcats
by Seth Rothman
September 24, 2007
HAMDEN — Quinnipiac was picked to finish 2nd in the ECAC Hockey pre-season coaches and media polls, released today by the league office as part of its annual pre-season media day.
Clarkson was tabbed the pre-season favorite, garnering 11 out of 12 first place votes in the coaches poll and 18 out of 23 first place votes in the media poll. Quinnipiac got the other first place vote in the coaches poll, and 3 of the remaining first place votes in the media poll.
“Clarkson’s definitely the class of the league right now, they were top 5 in the nation last year, they deserve to be there, they’re an excellent hockey team,” Bobcats coach Rand Pecknold told quinnipiacbobcats.com today. “They lost a couple kids but not a lot. Weller is the biggest one who signed pro. If Leggio plays like he did last year, they’re going to be really good.”
Pecknold cautioned Bobcats fans not to get too excited about the team’s high ranking, however.
“The thing about the polls is they don’t take in the injury factor,” Pecknold said. “If we stay healthy all year, we’re definitely a top 4 team. But we get a couple injuries to the wrong kids, and we’ll drop pretty fast.”
The season has finally come in ECAC Hockey for the Bobcats where the expectations of the fans will rival the expectations of the team. In the team’s first season in the league 2 years ago, fans were just hoping not to get embarassed every night; the team knew it could compete. Last season, the fans were hoping for a home playoff series; the players finished tied for 4th place in the conference.
But this year, the expectations are the same: Both fans and players are expecting a season that will at least get the Bobcats back to the cusp of the ECAC Championship for the second consecutive year.
For Pecknold, the expectations are nothing new.
“I think there’s no question we have a little more pressure on us this year,” Pecknold said. “That’s all part of the growth of the program. You go back to the old days of Atlantic Hockey, we were always picked first or second.”
After Quinnipiac, St. Lawrence comes in a close third in both polls, followed by Cornell.
Last year, the Bobcats didn’t handle pressure well. Pecknold says the team began to think it was better than it really was.
“We had that with some of our players last year, some of our kids struggled a little bit when they thought they were better than they were,” Pecknold told the website. “The team still did well because we had some freshmen that came in and were hungry, but we need to keep our returners hungry.”
If Pecknold and assistants Scott Robson and Ben Syer can do all that, it will be a fulfilling season in Hamden.
At least, that’s what is expected of them.