Monthly Archives: January 2008

Students angered by new cheering policies

Students angered by new cheering policies
by Seth Rothman
January 30, 2008

HAMDEN — On Friday night, before the men’s hockey game against Niagara, Steve Colvin got on the public address system at the TD Banknorth Sports Center and urged all fans — especially students — to refrain from any chants that “rhyme with the word ducks.”

It’s part of a new plan by the Quinnipiac administration attempting to regulate what students are allowed to say in the rowdy student section.

It’s members of that student section that have become angered by the new policies. Students are complaining that the policies are infringing on their first amendment right to free speech. Chuck Menke, a spokesperson for the University’s athletic department, believes otherwise.

“What we’re trying to do is we’re trying to promote good sportsmanship,” Menke said. “We’re not trying to quash anybody’s passion or enthusiasm, we’re trying to promote a fan friendly atmosphere that is still fun and energetic and charged with emotion.”

Students, however, are not happy by the new directive announced by Colvin, the Assistant Director of Athletic Promotions and Ticketing.

“Horrible. It’s a horrible thing,” said Jeremy Schilling, a sophomore broadcast journalism major from Marlboro, New Jersey. “Trying to change the way that drunk college students act during a game is just impossible.”

However, after an email went out to students earlier last week, most assumed the Crazy Bobcats were behind the cheer initiative.

According to the President of the new Crazy Bobcats, Jason Bond, that’s a misconception.

“I wanted to comment about this new student cheer initiative thing that was in the email, that I didn’t even know was [going to be] in the email,” Bond said. “I don’t know how the two of them got combined that the Crazy Bobcats were involved. The Crazy Bobcats have nothing to do with the new cheer initiative. Somehow, athletics put it in. I wasn’t under the impression that we’re part of the new cheer initiative.”

“There was a miscommunication that happened there,” Bond continued. “[They] said something that got people mad, and the Crazy Bobcats got associated with it. I really want to make that clear — we’re not part of this new cheer initiative.”

“We did receive some input from some individuals who expressed a concern, and I think it’s a concern that we in part share, and made a decision to incorporate some fairly realistic and straight-forward message points and requests,” Menke said. “Whether that’s student fans or anybody else in the arena — this applies to everyone.”

Menke mentioned this is also an attempt at complying with conference rules: The Northeast Conference, for example, has a rule prohibiting schools from playing a song that could elicit a response of “sucks!”

“These are not only philosophies expressed by Quinnipiac University and our athletics department, but also by the conferences in which we play and the NCAA as a whole,” Menke said. “Even with the NEC, they have specifically mentioned that is something that we don’t want to encourage, and there are certain songs that would lend themselves to using that word. We try and avoid the use of that word.”

It is unclear whether ECAC Hockey has similar rules.

Schilling and Justin Cohen, a junior broadcast journalism major from Cooper City, Florida agree, Quinnipiac officials should have contacted students and asked for input before making the decision.

“Did athletics ever come up to any of the die-hard fans, who have been at every game, who they know have been at every game? I went to Sacred Heart [on Saturday]. There were 40-50 student Bobcats fans, who I see at every basketball game, every hockey game,” Cohen said. “Did they once come up to those fans and ask them what they thought?”

“The whole communication between the administration and us [isn’t there],” Schilling said. “There is a major problem right now between the upper bureaucracy of Quinnipiac being separate from what the students want.”

During both men’s hockey games on Friday and Saturday, the Crazy Bobcats used a megaphone to initiate chants, drown out others they deemed too vulgar, and also, according to eyewitnesses, speak with the offending students while the game was in progress.

Both Bond and Student Government President Sean Geary, who helped resurrect the Crazy Bobcats club, agreed some of the methods the group used to educate students about how to cheer may not have been the greatest.

“It’s hard to get something started,” Bond said. “I agree that the megaphone was a little much — we’re going to calm down the megaphone a little bit. Just use it to start up cheers and such. It was the first time using the megaphone, so how do you know what to do and what’s right? It’s going to change, and it’s going to get better.”

“If anyone watched the hockey team come out for the first time this weekend, they would have thought the team was horrible, with no chance of playing in this league,” Geary said. “Same thing with the Crazy Bobcats. If anyone saw the Crazy Bobcats this weekend, they would have thought that’s a horrible group of students that isn’t doing the job right now.”

“This is really just the first weekend, or first time that we’ve done this, and we didn’t expect anything to change overnight,” Menke said. “The point was made, and I think over time we will develop our own traditions in the facility with our student section.”

A central argument in this ordeal is the hot-button issue of censorship. After the Quinnipiac Chronicle’s editor-in-chief, Jason Braff, nearly got fired for speaking out against campus policies earlier this year, many students are starting to wonder if Quinnipiac is actively trying to censor them.

“It’s kind of coming from the school, and it’s kind of not. It’s censorship, but you need to understand there is a reason,” Bond said. “When Quinnipiac students weren’t here, there were five-year-olds yelling ‘sucks’ out in the crowd. That’s basically what I’m most concerned about. I think, as Quinnipiac students, and as smart people, we should understand that’s not right.”

Both Bond and Geary realize students — at first glance — don’t seem to want to give the Crazy Bobcats organization a chance. But they say students should.

“What’s getting caught up a lot, is that we’re just there to say ‘who cares’ and not anything else,” Bond said. “The Crazy Bobcats are an organization to fill up the stands and come to every game. A lot of people are just focusing on that one line that we’re saying. It’s important, but also pay attention to all the other cool things that we’re trying to do. We want to get a full student section that’s standing and going crazy.”

“No one is going to buy into it [immediately]. I think that organization, and I’m just speaking from having organizational experience, they need to reassess how they operate,” Geary said. “How they’re perceived — perception’s very important. I hope this weekend was a wake-up call to the organization.”

“All we’re trying to do is get a couple of messages across, and ask and request of our students to take those kinds of things into consideration when they’re in the facility,” Menke said. “We’re not trying to take away anything from their enjoyment, excitement, or passion for the game. We’re just trying to say ‘Hey, keep in mind, we’ve got some other fans in the building, and we want to be respectful of them, as well as the opponents on the ice.'”

“What happened with the old Crazy Bobcats, I think, from what I’ve heard, is they went too far towards the ‘sucks’ and the cursing, and those things,” Bond said. “So, we’re going to try to make it so that we don’t get cut off by the administration. There has to be a happy medium. It can’t be rated R, and it can’t be rated G. Let’s rate it PG-13.”

Meanwhile, Geary took pains to remind students the Crazy Bobcats are not affiliated with the Student Government office. In their rush to get the organization ready for the first weekend of men’s hockey play in the second semester, only SGA members were involved, but they hope more students will get involved. Indeed, on Wednesday evening, there was a well-publicized meeting of the club, but very few non-SGA members attended.

That is of no consolation to Cohen, who doesn’t believe students should be involved in telling others what they can and cannot say, as eyewitnesses said Crazy Bobcats members did over the weekend.

“Personally, I don’t think that a student should be allowed to [direct] what another student should say,” Cohen said. “If someone from promotions, someone in charge of the building or an usher, security guard or police officer has a problem with it, that’s fine. But having a student either yell at or degrade another student, that is not in the jurisdiction of the students. [They] have no authority to, in public, say something to another student about what they are cheering.”

Meanwhile, the students still feel slighted. Cohen continued to maintain he wished the administration officials should have come to the students before unilaterally making a decision with little student input.

“Just listen to the fans. Don’t do just what you want to do, listen to the people who care about this team, and give us an opportunity to help you,” Cohen said. “You’re not our enemy, we’re not your enemy. We all want to help, we all want to make this a better atmosphere, nobody’s denying it. It’s not going to take one end, it’s going to take teamwork between the two.”

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Niagara continues dominance of Quinnipiac

Niagara continues dominance of Quinnipiac 
by Seth Rothman
January 26, 2008

HAMDEN — After the game, six youth hockey teams stampeded through the Quinnipiac locker room getting autographs from their favorite Bobcats.

Maybe Quinnipiac should go into the Niagara locker room and ask for the same thing.

Niagara (15-8-1) continued to dominate Quinnipiac (14-7-3), winning their 9th game out of 10 all-time, in a 5-3 win over the Bobcats in front of 3,367 at the TD Banknorth Sports Center in Hamden.

Quinnipiac hasn’t won a game over Niagara since a 5-2 win on January 28, 2006 at the Northford Ice Pavilion.

The Bobcats lack of effort, especially in their own zone, was once again their undoing according to head coach Rand Pecknold.

“I just think it was a poor defensive effort both nights,” Pecknold said. “Our forwards didn’t do a good job backchecking, didn’t do a good job getting it deep. Worst two games we’ve played all year as a D core.”

“It’s a huge weekend for us,” Niagara coach Dave Burkholder said. “We were in the polls half the first semester and got in a bad run after Christmas, but this is four in a row on the road which is very tough to do in college hockey. We got something special going on in that room right now.”

“I don’t know if its fatigue or what, but it seemed like our heads weren’t in it this weekend,” Bobcats sophomore Jean-Marc Beaudoin said. “We just have to bounce back. We’re a good team, a good group of guys, we’ll take the positives out of this weekend, and come back with better effort next weekend.”

Niagara got on the board first after Josh Duncan took a penalty for hitting from behind less than two minutes in.

After setting up the power play, Les Reaney was able to find a gap between the pads of Fisher to give Niagara the early lead.

But, unlike Friday night, Quinnipiac was able to fight back with two shorthanded goals within 1:02 of each other on the same penalty kill.

On the first goal, sophomore Brandon Wong fed Beaudoin on the far side wing. Beaudoin skated in, slipped the puck between the legs of a Niagara defenseman, got it back, and roofed it past Purple Eagles goaltender Juliano Pagliero (32 saves).

“It was a big goal, we needed that goal, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough. It was nice to score that goal, but [ultimately] we came up short,” Beaudoin said. “That’s what happens when you play with Brandon. He finds you out there, and makes my job a lot easier. We work well together.”

The second goal was a fantastic effort by forward Eric Lampe, who Pecknold called his best player of the night. Lampe stickhandled to behind the net, and found Dan LeFort in the slot for the senior’s first tally of the season.

“We were second in the nation in shorties last year, and with those two we’re up there again. It’s something that we do well,” Pecknold said. “Usually when that happens, we keep rolling, but we let Niagara get back in it [tonight]. That’s the difference. In the past, we’d do those things and run away with the game. Defensively we just didn’t have a good weekend.”

“Getting through the ebb and flow of that game in the first period, I’m pretty proud of our team,” Burkholder said. “Surviving those two shorthanded goals, I mean the momentum swing there was dramatic.”

After that, it was all Niagara. They scored three goals in the second period — two of them on tip-ins thanks to defensive breakdowns by Quinnipiac.

Once again, a major story for Quinnipiac is the injury bug. Three players were injured and unable to play tonight. Dan Henningson, one of the team’s assistant captains was a scratch due to a foot injury he suffered blocking a shot on Friday. His loss was a big one for the Bobcats.

“They’re so good offensively. You look at their line chart, and it’s nerve-wracking,” Burkholder said. “Obviously, the injury to Henningson, that’s a break for us. He’s their quarterback guy and plays a ton of minutes for them.”

“It killed us. If you look at the [10 game unbeaten] streak, Dan Henningson’s probably been our best player, and probably top 2 or 3 for the year,” Pecknold said. “Hopefully we’ll have him back in there next weekend. That killed us, especially in a game like tonight, with the TV timeouts where you can play four or five defensemen. Henningson probably would have played 35 minutes.”

“That’s a big loss,” Beaudoin said. “He’s obviously one of our best D-men out there, and he’s really dependable. We need a couple guys to step up, and hopefully this week we can find a replacement for him.”

Pecknold had no update on the severity of Henningson’s injury, and it remains unclear if the team’s leading offensive defenseman will be able to play next weekend.

Meanwhile, Quinnipiac continues to be handcuffed against Niagara. They have only beaten them once in 10 affairs between the two teams, a fact not lost among the participants.

“I don’t know what it is. There’s teams that I won’t schedule anymore because we can’t beat them. I can’t explain our record against Quinnipiac,” Burkholder said. “They dominate in a lot of areas. They’re usually the puck-possession team, and we’re obviously concerned with their offensive skill level. Those are two perfect road games that we played this weekend. Maybe we caught them at a good time.”

“It seems like every time we play those guys, they come ready to play,” Beaudoin said. “They take the body on us, they work really hard. I don’t know if we’re snake-bitten [against Niagara], they just outworked us.”

“Like their coach said, last night was probably their best game they played all year,” Pecknold said. “Last year, the first game we lost to them he said the same thing. I don’t know if its just bad luck or what, but Niagara gets fired up to play us, and our guys can’t match it.”

While the bad feelings and uneasiness roamed freely in the Quinnipiac dressing room, ecstasy was the name of the game in Niagara’s room.

“Our room’s in really good shape right now,” Burkholder said. “We were really excited — knowing that we’re coming to this beautiful building, told it was sold out, and playing a ranked team. It was a real easy team to be around this week. We pushed them hard, but we were so fired up to get the chance to be here, and we made the most of it. We played hard and smart all weekend.”

“Niagara played hard this weekend, they were fired up. Playing in front of a good crowd, in a new rink, number 12 team in the nation, they wanted it more,” Pecknold said. “Niagara always plays well against ECAC teams because they feel they have something to prove. Unfortunately, for our guys its just another game, and that’s an issue.”

It’s a sweep that hurts, not just because its four points lost at home, but because it severely hampers Quinnipiac’s chances of getting an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

“It puts a lot of pressure on us from an NCAA Tournament perspective,” Pecknold said. “I don’t know how far we’re going to drop in the Pairwise, but these two will hurt us. We can’t worry about that right now, we just have to focus on the next game.”

“This weekend, these games were big, but unfortunately we came up short,” Beaudoin said. “Where it really counts is our conference play. It’s a tight race, and every game counts.”

So now, that’s where the attention turns. After a day off on Sunday, Pecknold’s team is back on the practice sheet to get ready for a tough weekend at ice-cold RPI (1-10 in their last 11), and red-hot Union (7-1 in their last 8).

“Honestly, I don’t even know how many guys I’ll have in practice on Monday,” Pecknold said. “We’re a beat up team right now, we got five guys hurt on the weekend, which is extremely disappointing to have something like that happen. It doesn’t hurt you just on the weekend, but it hurts you for the season. I’m pretty upset about that.”

“We didn’t play for 60 minutes during both games this weekend,” Beaudoin said. “Lack of intensity and lack of work ethic. We’ve been playing really well the last 10 games or so; to play like we did this weekend came as a surprise to all of us. It’ll be a hard week of practice, and hopefully we come back next weekend with a couple wins.”

“Every season has peaks and valleys. You’ll have ups and downs; this is definitely a down,” Pecknold said. “We had it last year around the same time when we went 1-5 in league play, really struggled down the stretch, and then rolled in the playoffs. Hopefully we can cut the bleeding short and come to play next weekend.”

NOTES: Quinnipiac University President John L. Lahey was in attendance. … Former Bobcat player Joe Testa, who graduated in 2006 and played with 12 current Bobcats, was one of the linesmen during the game. … Beaudoin is second in the nation for shorthanded goals with four. Colorado College’s Chad Rau has 5. … Pat McGann played the final 13:14 after Fisher let in five of the 26 shots he faced. … Quinnipiac is now 6-4-2 at home this season. … Quinnipiac allowed ten goals on the weekend, the most since February 2-3 last year, when they allowed ten against Yale and Brown. They were 1-1 that weekend.

Bobcats rally, but come up short at Sacred Heart

Bobcats rally, but come up short at Sacred Heart

By Michael T. Lyle, Jr.
WQAQ.com Sports
January 26, 2008

FAIRFIELD — It had all the makings of a championship contest. A record 2,012 fans in attendance at Sacred Heart’s William H. Pitt Center, a battle for first-place in the Northeast Conference, and a chance to show the rest of the league that they are a force to be reckoned with.

Indeed, Quinnipiac’s battle with the Pioneers on Saturday afternoon was filled with all sorts of drama and emotion, and they lived up to the hype. Unfortunately for DeMario Anderson and the rest of his Bobcat teammates, this defeat will stun for a while.

DeMario had a double-double with 30 points and 11 rebounds, but missed what would have been the game-winning tip-in off an inbounds pass from Brian Geffen at the final horn, giving Sacred Heart a nail-biting 75-74 win and snapping Quinnipiac’s four-game win streak.

“I think that the team that played better won the game,” said Bobcats head coach Tom Moore. “We played with some emotion in the second half, but we had one guy play great and not everyone else played as well as they had been playing.”

Justin Rutty was the only other Quinnipiac player to score in double figures with 12 points, but a staggering Sacred Heart defense held the Bobcats in check for most of the evening. The Pioneers limited Quinnipiac (10-9, 6-2 NEC) to tying a season-low with six assists and forced the Bobcats into 14 turnovers. The hosts also made 22-of 32 free throws and shot 50 percent from the field in the final period — stats that Moore say will not get the job done on both sides of the ball.

“You can’t allow that kind of field-goal defense in the second half and expect to win — especially on the road,” he said.

Sacred Heart sealed the win by scoring their final 10 points from the free-throw line, with Drew Shubik, who led the Pioneers with 20 points, converting on five of them down the stretch.

“That’s what I praticed ever since I was a little kid,” said Shubik. “After the late miss, I just smiled. You can’t get frustrated at that point because we still had a game to win.”

After DeMario sank a pair from the line to give the Bobcats a short-lived 74-73 lead, Shubik knocked down two more to give the Pioneers the one-point advantage with 25.4 left.

After both teams traded timeouts with 1.6 on the clock, the Bobcats drew up a play for DeMario. On a successful inbounds pass from Geffen, the senior captain raced around a swarm of Pioneer defenders and leaped towards the rim for a potential follow-tip, but he drew some contact and missed the net, sending the capacity-crowd and the Pioneers into a frenzy as Sacred Heart (11-10, 8-2 NEC) moved into sole possession of first place in the league.

“We had a [heck] of a game,” said Pioneers head coach Dave Bike. “I thought both teams played well. We were just fortunate enough to come out on top.”

The Bobcats came out strong in the first half, led by DeMario and James Feldeine, whose early scoring gave the visitors a 13-10 lead at the 12:20 mark. The game stayed close for seven more minutes, with neither team holding a lead bigger than two points. Sacred Heart then blew it open with an 8-0 run, culminating with a Ryon Howard bucket that made it 27-19 late in the period.

Sacred Heart kept the pressure on Quinnipiac in the second half, turning at 39-26 halftime lead into a 45-35 advantage following a Howard tip-in with under 17 minutes to go. But DeMario and Justin Rutty helped the Bobcats battle back. A bucket and three free-throws by DeMario cut the Pioneers lead to 55-51 before a Rutty runner in the lane, followed by a tip-in by Karl Anderson gave QU the lead at 59-57, with 6:23 to play. A three-pointer by the captain stretched the advantage to 66-60 around the four minute mark before the combination of Shubik and Chauncey Hardy got Sacred Heart back in it.

DeMario’s usual play allowed Quinnipiac to stay within striking distance, but his near heroics came up a tad short at the end.

“That’s what I’m supposed to do as a captain and senior”, said DeMario of his strong performance. “But the better team came out with the win, and we have to learn from this.”

Moore was also quick to defend his star-guard’s ability, saying that for him not to be named the “Conference Player-of-The Year” would be “criminal.”

“I wouldn’t send in a ballot, I’d send a video from this game to (the league office),” he said with a smile.

As far as this being a preview of the conference tournament championship, the possibility exists giving the standings in a now competitive Northeast Conference. Moore insists his team still has a lot to prove, but would be elated should he lead the Bobcats to that point come mid-March.

“That would be great,” he said. “The potential is there, but we still have a long ways to go before we can start thinking that way.”

NOTES: Quinnipiac played this one without forward Louis Brookins, who sat out with a back injury. Moore said he’s listed as day-to-day….As the Bobcats continue to get better, the fans continue to fill the seats. Combining last week’s contest at TD Banknorth Sports Center against Long Island, Quinnipiac has now played in front of over 3,000 spectators. They nearly cracked the 1,800 mark in their win over the Blackbirds.

Niagara flies past Bobcats

Niagara flies past Bobcats
by Seth Rothman
January 25, 2007

HAMDEN — Before the game, the Quinnipiac Administration tried controlling the Bobcats loud and energetic student section.

During the game, Niagara (14-8-1) succeeded in controlling Quinnipiac (14-6-3) on the ice, defeating the Bobcats 5-1 in front of a capacity, near record crowd of 3,442 at the TD Banknorth Sports Center on Friday night. The loss ends Quinnipiac’s 10 game unbeaten streak at 9-0-1. 

Before the game started, Assistant Director of Athletic Promotions and Ticketing Steve Colvin took to the microphone and reminded the Quinnipiac student section not to use foul language, including “a word that rhymes with duck,” as he said.

Well, when each Niagara starter was introduced, the students continued their custom of using the offending word to describe each players’ proficiency on the ice — accompanied by a horn over the loud speakers, an attempt at bleeping the word while it was being screamed by the nearly 1,000 students.

Once the game started a few minutes later, it was the Quinnipiac offense that was bleeped by Niagara’s hard working defense — much to the enjoyment of the Purple Eagles.

“That’s about as thorough a road effort as we’ve had all year,” Niagara coach Dave Burkholder said. “We did everything well — we were good on the rush and great defensively against a really good offensive team.”  

Bobcats coach Rand Pecknold was not as happy.

“Verbatim, we talked about exactly what they did. A big focus was not to give up the odd-man rushes. That’s all I talked about all week, that’s all we talked about right before we went out, and I think we gave up nine or ten in the first period,” Pecknold said. “It’s really unbelievable. For the season we’re having, and how coachable we’ve been, it was clearly our most uncoachable outing of the year.”

It started early, when Quinnipiac was about to be called for a penalty nearly nine minutes into the contest. Before the Bobcats touched up to stop play, Niagara’s Bryan Haczyk brought the puck into the zone and fired it to Dan Sullivan. His shot from the slot deflected off Bobcats goaltender Bud Fisher and trickled into the net before Fisher could find the puck to stop play.

“We’ve won four of our last five, and we rolled four lines which we haven’t been able to do all year,” Burkholder said. “We finally have pretty good chemistry on all four lines. From where I was standing, I couldn’t tell my first line from my fourth line, which is really good.”

“First off, I’d like to congratulate Niagara,” Pecknold said. “I thought they played a great hockey game tonight. Their kids played hard, they were physical, and Pagliero was excellent in net. There’s no question the better team won tonight. They were ready to play and we weren’t.”

“You have to give a lot of credit to Niagara; they outworked us in every aspect of the game tonight,” Quinnipiac captain Jamie Bates said.

While Quinnipiac briefly tied the game on the power play when Bates and Ben Nelson conspired to find winger Bryan Leitch on the doorstep, the success was short lived.

3:23 after tying the game, the Bobcats were back in the red — a place they would stay for the rest of the contest — when Niagara’s Ryan Olidis blasted a wrister past Fisher after the puck got caught up in Leitch’s skates. For Olidis, it was his first career goal.

“Across the board — our forwards weren’t staying high on the forecheck, they were lazy on the backcheck, they were puck-watching in the neutral zone, and our D really struggled,” Pecknold said. “We gave up three breakaways in the first period.”

“It’s hard to put your finger on what went wrong tonight, I guess we probably just got a little bit complacent,” Bates said. “We obviously didn’t respect them as much as we should have, and they’re a good hockey team. If we’re not ready to play, they’re going to do that to us again tomorrow night.”

Pecknold said he was unimpressed with his forwards, especially in the neutral zone. He thought Niagara’s team speed may have played a role in the lopsided score.

“I think a little bit of it was because we were below the puck, if our forecheck was better with our guys staying high and above the puck [we would have given up less], but we were always below and chasing it,” Pecknold said. “We had three forwards always following the puck. I use the analogy a lot, like six year olds playing soccer. I don’t know if you guys have ever seen that, but 11 kids go to the ball, and 11 kids go to the ball, and that’s what we were doing today. We just kept following the puck, and over pursuing in the neutral zone and the defensive zone.”

It’s the same situation Quinnipiac found itself in last January when these two teams played in northern New York. Niagara’s speed created multiple odd-man rushes, and Quinnipiac was unable to stop them.

“Ultimately, we got outworked tonight. We got out-competed and out-coached,” Pecknold said. “Like I said, it was our most uncoachable game of the year, I’m pretty frustrated and embarrassed with how we played; to give up that many odd-man rushes to a team that we did the same things to last year when we played them.”

“The intensity wasn’t there, playing smart wasn’t there, at times when we did try to work hard, all three forwards would go hard and let the puck get by for a 3-on-2,” Bates lamented. “They’re a good transition hockey team. We focused during the week on cutting that down, and we went out there tonight and probably gave up ten to 15 odd-man rushes. We can’t do that and beat them.”

“We did the exact same thing [last year] and lost. We gave up power-break after power-break, talked about it, showed video on it, and we go out and do it again,” Pecknold said. “I think our game-plan’s good, we just need to execute it. The power-break situation is baffling. That’s exactly what we need to not allow happen, and they happened left and right. Even late in the game we gave up a bunch. There’s no real reason why. Guys are being selfish, just thinking offense, playing lazy and not getting back for the puck.”

“Game-plan, I don’t think you can change much,” Bates said. “Coach, as he does every night, gives us a game-plan, and as guys on the team, we just have to come ready to play tomorrow night. We were not ready to play tonight, and let’s hope it doesn’t happen again tomorrow night.”

Because, as the players and coach realize, if it does happen again tomorrow night Quinnipiac could find themselves on the outside, looking into the NCAA Tournament from the stands. Before the game tonight, Quinnipiac was ranked 12th in the Pairwise Rankings — the system used by the NCAA to determine seeding in the tournament.

After the game, the ranking fell to a three-way tie for 13th, according to USCHO.com. After tiebreakers, the web-site says Quinnipiac would have the 14th seed.

“That’s probably the furthest thing from our mind right now, but Niagara probably cost us the tournament last year (when they swept the Bobcats in 2 games), and they’re in a good position to do it again this year,” Bates said. “We probably won’t mention it before the game tomorrow night, but it’ll definitely be kicking us in the butt if we don’t come out on top tomorrow night.”

“If we want to go to the NCAA Tournament at the end of the year, tomorrow’s a must-win,” Pecknold said.

So, that’s where Quinnipiac’s attention turns. Not to the theater in the stands, not to the lopsided score tonight, but to tomorrow night.

“It’s a huge character check with how we’re going to play,” Pecknold said. “Niagara’s going to play well tomorrow night, they’re confident right now. We have a lot on the plate to come out and beat them. I don’t think we really match up well with them, but that happens from time to time; you have to find a way to win.”

“We’re used to playing doubles (playing the same team on back-to-back nights),” Burkholder said. “I know the ECAC isn’t used to playing opponents on back-to-back nights, but it’s another chance for us to play in a great building, sold-out crowd against a ranked team. We’re fired up.”

“I think Niagara’s pumped up. They just beat the 12th best team in the nation,” Pecknold said. “It’s a huge win for their program on the road. Their coach does a good job, and they’ll come back and play hard again tomorrow night. We just have to worry about us, be better prepared, and execute better.”

NOTES:  Bud Fisher’s brother, Mike Fisher, was in attendance. Mike is a winger for the NHL’s Ottawa Senators, and was able to attend because today is the first day of the NHL’s All Star Break… Former Bobcat Peter Vetri has been signed by the Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL, a farm team of the Dallas Stars… Current Bobcat goaltender Pat McGann was drafted by the Stars during the 2005 NHL Draft… Tonight’s attendance (3,442) is 2 fans short of the all-time highest attended game at the TD Banknorth Sports Center. Earlier this year, the game vs. Clarkson attracted 3,444 fans… Every game for the rest of the season except the game against Brown on February 10 has already been sold out.

Quinnipiac Women Scorching Northeast Conference

Quinnipiac Women Scorching Northeast Conference
By Zach Smart

After a second-rate 2006-2007 campaign which culminated in a frustrating first round flame-out, the Quinnipiac women’s basketball team has officially bounced back on the map.

The Bobcats have ripped off a six-game win streak—all against Northeast Conference foes—to seize sole possession of first place in the conference.

Quinnipiac (15-2, 7-0 NEC) has registered the best record in program history and apparently regained the confidence it displayed two seasons ago, when a callow crew took the world by storm, advancing all the way to the conference championship game.

But Coach Tricia Sacca-Fabbri and company are looking beyond that this year, as the Bobcats have all the tools necessary to emerge into a lock for the NCAA tournament.

Where does the success start with this ostensibly untouchable Bobcat team?

Check the backcourt.

Junior point guard Erin Kerner has once again surfaced as a player of the year candidate, after a program and fan base was collectively foiled following her season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament last season.

Kerner, who’s averaging a team-high 16 points to go with 3.8 dimes per game, has been the straw that stirs a well-balanced offensive drink.

The junior from Erie, Pa. etched her name in the record books during a dizzying, 62-60 win over Long Island on January 19. Kerner blitzed the Blackbirds to the tune of 25 points and surpassed the 1,000-point benchmark in the process.

Kerner is just the sixth player to hit for the century mark since Quinnipiac was elevated to the Division-I ranks.

Whether it’s burying pull-up and mid-range jump shots, dialing in from downtown, freezing opponents with a killer crossover or simply burning them with quick, strong slashes to the bucket, Kerner has been a problem this season.

Classmate Brianna Rooney has also been efficient, applying the tight defensive pressure needed to throw prolific scorers out of their groove. Rooney, who has also sprung back from her share of injuries, recently established herself as Quinnipiac’s all-time steals leader with 159. Heading into Saturday’s game at Sacred Heart, the onus will be on Rooney, a Guilford-bred combo guard, to keep guards Alisa Apo and Stephanie Ryan—a transfer via Fairfield— in check.

While her birth certificate reads “Brianna,” anyone who knows Rooney calls her “Breezy.” Fitting, because Rooney breezed through the jump to the Division-I level, garnering multiple NEC Rookie of the Week accolades her freshman season.

The impact Sacca-Fabbri’s 2005 recruiting class has made, however, transcends Rooney and Kerner—who in not even two full seasons has skyrocketed to small-school stardom.

Three-point sniper Mandy Pennewell and guard/forward Kathleen Neyens (whose back from a one-year hiatus due to a leg injury) have both panned out since helping the Bobcats conclude that magical 2005-2006 ride with a 22-8 record (15-3 NEC), four points of qualifying for their first-ever NCAA tournament.

But the Bobcats wouldn’t stand at 7-0 without one of the conference’s toughest forwards in Monique Lee. For four years Lee has made her presence felt in the frontcourt, patrolling the paint and finding ways to score. A tournament-bid would be nothing short of a storybook ending for the senior from Lynn, Mass. Nicole Duperron and Courtney Kaminksi provide stability in this solid frontcourt.

The Bobcats endured a myriad of daunting challenges this season, scoring wins over first-class programs such as San Diego State. When Kerner was sidelined with a one-game injury, the Bobcats took the Big East’s Seton Hall into overtime. Thus, a heartbreaking 69-64 loss could have actually been a signature victory.

Not to worry.

Kerner will be back in full throttle Saturday.

These could be uncharted waters for the Bobcats, with Saturday’s game at no.2-Sacred Heart serving as a major barometer.

Erin Kerner named WQAQ Sports Athlete of the Week

WQAQ Sports names Erin Kerner Athlete of the Week

HAMDEN — The WQAQ Sports Department has named women’s basketball standout Erin Kerner as its Athlete of the Week for the week ending on January 22.

Kerner, over the course of the season, has led her team in scoring with 16.0 points a game. This week, the junior from Erie, PA led her team by netting 25 points, including the 1,000th of her Quinnipiac career in a 2 point win over NEC pre-season favorite Long Island on Saturday.

On Monday, Kerner continued shooting with her hot hand, scoring 17 of her 21 points in the second half of a matinee Martin Luther King Jr. Day shellacking of St. Francis (NY).

Kerner’s Bobcats are off to the best start in school history at 15-2, including an unblemished 7-0 in Northeast Conference play. The team has also been listed on the ESPN/USA Today Coaches top 25 poll as a team “recieving votes” for the past two weeks. 

The Bobcats are back in action on Saturday when they play the second of a three game road trip at NEC foe Sacred Heart. They won’t return to the TD Banknorth Sports Center until February 4th, in a game that will be broadcasted by the Bobcats Sports Network presented by WQAQ.

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Feldeine Coming Into His Own

Feldeine Coming Into His Own
By Zach Smart
January 22, 2007

HAMDEN — Opportunities came at a rarity for Quinnipiac off guard James Feldeine last season.

The then-freshman was buried on the bench behind a plethora of guards—Adam Gonzalez (who now plays in the Baloncesto Superior National, Puerto Rico’s professional league), three-point sniper Van Crafton, and Dale Meinbresse—to name a few, and spent much of his first year stuck on the pine.

Under then-coach Joe DeSantis, Feldeine was on a short chain. The 6-foot-4 sharpshooter would be inserted into the fold but quickly pulled if he misfired on his first shot attempt.

A high-profile recruit from a traditional basketball breeding ground (Bronx, N.Y.) who played alongside and against Louisville’s Edgar Sosa (and was mentored by the Sacramento Kings’ Francisco Garcia), Feldeine did not feel he was given a chance. But Feldeine, he of the unique sling-shot jumper and springs, stuck it out and patiently waited for his day to come.

Then DeSantis was fired in March as the coaching staff and much of the 2006-2007 roster were thoroughly cleansed.

Feldeine’s reaction?

Shoot, shoot, and shoot some more. A new opportunity to take advantage of.

Feldeine spent nearly his entire summer in Hamden, packing some muscle on his spindly, 190-lb. frame and shooting jumpers with teammate Casey Cosgrove until his arms tired out.

Feldeine, who played just 35 minutes last season, came into the season with a new mentality and sporting a new look as well. A tattoo with “King James” emblazoned on his right arm now makes its presence felt.

This year, Feldeine made his presence felt since Game 1. He scored 19 points and snared 10 boards in a double-overtime thriller in the season-opening win against Hartford. Feldeine’s timely buckets were critical in that one, as DeMario Anderson (team-high 20.8 PPG) had fouled out in regulation.

The transition from spare part freshman to instant lynchpin has prevented Anderson from shouldering too much of the scoring load. It’s also helped propel Quinnipiac to the top of the Northeast Conference.

These are uncharted waters for the Bobcats, which improved to 6-1 in conference play with a recent win against Long Island.

After being inserted into the starting lineup following Evann Baker’s hip-flexor injury, Feldeine has come into his element. Now Moore has employed a system that has Baker, the Bobcats second-leading scorer, coming off the bench.

During a trouncing of Dartmouth earlier in the season, Feldeine dropped 11 points—all in the second half and two on an emphatic, two-handed jam—and played lock-down defense on the Big Green’s top scorer Alex Barnett.

Against Long Island, Feldeine dropped 18 points, including eight in the final three minutes, to help lift the Bobcats to an 84-80 triumph.